Preloader Image

5 Ways Nonprofits Are Creatively Using Salesforce

By: Luis Sevilla

Salesforce is a powerful tool that nonprofits are using to be more efficient in achieving their goals. But with a tool that does so much, sometimes it’s tough to imagine all the potential it offers, especially if you’re the first or only person in charge of Salesforce at your nonprofit. An easy way to find out what more your tech can do for you is by looking at what other organizations are doing with it.

If you want to get more out of Salesforce, or your current tech isn’t giving you what you want, I hope this blog post can spark inspiration for new solutions. Working at Idealist Consulting, I can give you a glimpse behind the curtain of how nonprofits are using Salesforce in creative ways.

I’m going to give you a little tour of how five nonprofits are using Salesforce to create a greater impact. Maybe you’ll find some ideas to take back to your nonprofit after reading this post.


Streamline Application Processes

Processing and keeping track of multiple applications can be a hassle. You have to intake them, organize them, retrieve them when needed, and sometimes a way to process payments.

Second City Canine Rescue (SCCR) is a nonprofit that rescues dogs and helps them find a loving and deserving home through adoption. A time consuming, but necessary, part of their job is managing the adoption process. The process starts with families filling out an application, then on adoption days, volunteers use a family’s information from the application to approve them and receive payments. Luckily, by using Salesforce, SCCR can streamline the application process for adoptions.

Using Salesforce with a few integrations, everything needed to adopt a pet lives in one place. Instead of having separate systems for applications and payments, integrations funnel everything right into Salesforce. By the time adoption days come, volunteers only need to look in one place to find the information they need. Salesforce allows volunteers to focus more time on rescuing dogs and less on the paperwork for adopting one.


Use Data to Strategically Engage Donors

When people find an organization with a mission they resonate with, they want to help. The problem is finding those people and then engaging them. Empowerment Plan knew that there were donors everywhere who were willing to donate to them, but they needed a way to find them and then strategically engage them. Otherwise, they would be losing out on donations. Fortunately, by implementing NPSP and cleaning their data, they can now do that.

By using NPSP and pulling reports on Salesforce, Empowerment Plan receives a full view of their donors and people who engage with them. They can pinpoint which donors spend more time and resources, and then nurture relationships with those donors on a deeper level. Data is now used to guide them to the people who want to help. By strategically using their data, they are able to bring in more revenue to support their mission and nurture greater relationships.


Create an Online Community to Support Members

We’ve talked about the importance of building an online community for constituents in our blog  before, and  Nonprofit New York offers an example of how to build a great one. They make the most of their online community by hosting it on Salesforce Experience Cloud.

Nonprofit New York serves as an important source of information for nonprofits in the New York City area. Before adopting Experience Cloud, they used WordPress to maintain a knowledge library and share information. This method worked for disturbing resources and information, but with 1,500 members, they needed something that would better engage the community they  built. That’s where Experience Cloud comes in.

With Experience Cloud, Nonprofit New York has more than a knowledge library. Members can submit cases, share referrals, interact through a forum. Nonprofit New York can track how members are interacting with the content: Experience Cloud lets them know what members are using more frequently, helping them prioritize and focus on resources their members are using the most.


Facilitate Volunteer Management

Many nonprofits have volunteers that want to help an organization achieve its goals. Volunteerism is a cornerstone of Ashby Village’s model, and they have hundreds of volunteers. To help make managing their volunteers easier, Ashby Village decided to move on from their old system — that gave them little control of their data — to Salesforce. 

Volunteers can log in to update their own information, and Ashby Village has better access to all volunteer data within Salesforce. Salesforce also makes communication a lot easier. Ashby Village can send email notifications from within Salesforce about volunteer opportunities, and volunteers can provide useful feedback through forms. 


Track Processes

Salesforce users commonly use the Opportunity record to track where they are in regards to sealing the deal with a donor or buyer. But have you thought about using it for other processes?

Justice in Motion is a nonprofit that brings justice to migrants across borders and assists them in navigating a complex legal system. A large portion of their work involves being the liaison between foreign organizations working with migrants and attorneys in the US. In recent years, the migrant crisis brought more intricacies to their work. Fortunately, the right Salesforce setup helps them efficiently manage and track a large volume of legal cases.

By customizing Salesforce to have two opportunity types specific to their work— referral and advice— they can track if a migrant is receiving help and what kind. Depending on a migrant's situation, Justice in Motion will decide if they either need advice or be referred to a lawyer if it's a complicated case. Using the Opportunity record allows for collaboration between Justice in Motion, outside organizations, and lawyers. Justice in Motion can add and remove people from an Opportunity record, depending on if they need access to a migrant's information. The ease and ability to automate tasks in Salesforce saves a significant amount of time and allows Justice in Motion to help more migrants.

You Create the Vision

All the nonprofits mentioned above have different missions and different visions for what they want to achieve. The one thing they have in common is that they’re using Salesforce. What makes Salesforce a great tech investment for nonprofits is its flexibility. We’ve worked with organizations of all sizes who have thought of creative ways to use Salesforce for their needs. What we found is that as long as nonprofits have a vision on how technology can help better achieve their mission, we can work together to bring their vision to life. 


Want to Know What Else Salesforce Can Do?

Sign up for our newsletter! Every month we send the latest tips, tricks, and news about Salesforce.


Sign Up

Newsletter Earth

Subscribe to our newsletter

Where progressive organizations get inspired

Join thousands just like you to receive a monthly dose of user adoption tips, innovation, and industry trends.