SalesForce Data Management Tool

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SalesForce is a Customer Relationship Management tool that helps you stay on top of every lead, every opportunity, and every interaction. The SalesForce product includes applications for critical areas of your donor management, including basic contact and relationship management, donation processing, queries and reports, and integration with tools such as Outlook, Excel, and QuickBooks. SalesForce is dedicated to helping organizations by providing the tool for free for up to 10 users of any 501(c)(3) organizations. Foundation is based on a simple idea: Donate 1% of’s resources to support organizations that are working to make our world a better place. The SalesForce tool is comprised of many useful applications and resources to help you manage your donations and your donors.

SalesForce is highly customizable and flexible.

SalesForce is a great tool to track all of the interactions you are having with your clients and donors. This tool is highly customizable, which allows you to make it as complex and robust as you wish, but the drawback is that the complexity adds additional time for setup and maintenance. This snapshot shows one of the customization pages. SalesForce is designed for people in the sales industry, so some of the tabs and names are not language that is consistent with the nonprofit industry. However, you can change the names of all the tabs to be appropriate for your organization and the business processes that you have.

SalesForce organizes contacts into leads and actual clients. In each category, the information to track is very different and the tool has the flexibility for you to designate fields per your needs. For example, if you are tracking a potential volunteer, you would enter information captured through a screening or application process and you would track that person as a “lead.” For actual volunteers, you may want to track hours participated, special skills, or activities of particular interest. You can flip the designation from lead to actual, when appropriate, without having to reenter any information.

SalesForce integrates with many other tools.

The SalesForce system integrates with many applications. For instance, if you have a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet of donor contacts, you can upload the information into SalesForce. You can also export any SalesForce data into Microsoft Excel. SalesForce also allows you to create forms in Microsoft Excel for potential donors to fill out that can be easily uploaded into SalesForce.

Another great feature of SalesForce is that it can interact with your organization’s website. If you have an online form which allows people to donate money to your organization, the contact information or other questions you ask can be connected to your SalesForce database. The use of this feature does require some basic programming skills.

SalesForce custom forms

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SalesForce has standard reports that you can customize.

SalesForce comes with a number of out-of-the-box reports that you can customize to meet your needs. You can also add new reports as needed. For example, you might have a list of potential donors that have expressed interest in your organization, but have not yet donated. You could run a report to identify this list and then send out an email blast or other communication reminding them of your organization’s needs. Or maybe you want to reach out to people who donated last year to extend their generosity into the New Year. These reports assist in evaluating your return on investment to ensure you are doing everything you can to help grow your organization.

SalesForce is free for 501(c)(3) organizations, but might require outside consultation for setup.

In regards to cost, SalesForce provides ten unique licenses or usernames free, after submission of a 501(c)(3) application. The security of this tool is rated high. In terms of administrative skill, the tool requires the highest skill level rating of five diamonds. This means that the administrator needs to be comfortable using web tools, building websites or setting up an Access database. SalesForce does offer technical assistance and is also able to recommend outside consultants who can help you customize the tool. You can also try to utilize your network of volunteers that might have the skills. For user skill rating, it requires someone who is comfortable posting content to sites such as Facebook or Linkedin, and is also comfortable making purchases online.

In terms of key benefits, SalesForce is designed to maintain and track your contacts and donors, and it has mastered this capability by providing flexibility for individual clients to customize the tool for their needs. As for drawbacks, the tool does require some advanced skill and time to set up. This information should be factored into your decision-making process around cost. Although it is free, it may take an outside consultant and extra time before you can begin using the tool.

Access the SalesForce website here.