Engaging Your Donors: 9 Ways to Integrate with Salesforce
This post was written by Ryan Ozimek. As the founder of a software company serving the public sector, Ryan passionate about empowering organizations to “do good”. With a focus on effective and efficient technology solutions, he's constantly looking for ways in which the Internet can better serve the greater good, and more specifically the non-profit sector. He leads up the Soapbox Engage team in our pursuit of affordable and accidental techie-friendly online engagement software, is a Salesforce MVP, and leads the NPSP Days around the world.
Salesforce has quickly become the world’s leading CRM for a few reasons. One main reason, however, really stands out: the diverse app and integration ecosystem that’s grown up around it.
Integrated apps and other tools designed just for Salesforce are an extremely effective way to build out and customize your nonprofit’s new CRM platform. Salesforce offers robust base packages to help nonprofits get started, like the Nonprofit Cloud and Nonprofit Success Pack, but they don’t contain everything you’ll need to get up and fundraising quickly.
If you’ve just recently adopted Salesforce, you’ve most likely already begun to explore your options online. There are a wide range of integrated tools available that can be particularly invaluable for analyzing and improving your engagement strategies.
From processing online donations to creating digital marketing campaigns, developing CSR strategies to sending surveys and petitions, Salesforce apps can contribute to a fully integrated toolkit for your organization. If your nonprofit is new to the platform, though, it can be tricky to know where to start.
At Soapbox Engage, we develop integrated apps for nonprofits on the Salesforce platform. Our suite of tools spans a fairly wide range of functionalities, so we’ll walk through our areas of expertise to give you a fuller idea of the kind of donor engagement tools that are available for Salesforce.
First, though, why should nonprofits focus on using integrated apps, and how exactly do they contribute to broader engagement strategies?
Salesforce App Ecosystems and Donor Engagement
An integrated ecosystem of Salesforce tools is a set of apps that are all designed to work seamlessly within the Salesforce platform. The main idea is that each tool can both draw from and contribute to the central pool of data in the CRM. This has two major benefits:
Your nonprofit can develop a much more comprehensive database, with each integrated tool reporting its transactions, entries, or analytics to your CRM.
Each tool is designed to work with Salesforce and very often with each other, too, which makes it much easier to develop more complex strategies and move seamlessly between tools.
Building out an integrated toolkit is a great investment that your organization can make in its ability to engage donors effectively. That’s because developing a more comprehensive database will help you learn more about your supporters with every interaction and keep track of it all in the process. Identify trends, analyze past campaigns, and learn what does and doesn’t work to get them excited to donate or attend.
Nonprofits that have struggled with other CRM platforms often see huge boosts to adoption and internal buy-in as they switch to Salesforce largely because ecosystems of integrated apps are much easier to use and lead to more effective strategy development.
Of course, you can find top Salesforce apps to address practically any need that your nonprofit might have. One important characteristic to consider as you weigh your options, though, is the ease with which any prospective app will be able to fit into your existing toolkit. Look for tools that will benefit from your wealth of data and return new engagement insights at the same time.
Our Suite of Integrated Apps for Salesforce
The tools in our Soapbox Engage suite of apps cover a broad range of functions, but they can all contribute to your overarching donor engagement strategies. To give you a sense of how they do this, we’ll walk through each app and their core features.
A Salesforce donation app for accepting and processing online transactions is probably the most important tool any nonprofit new to the platform should invest in. Our app includes a number of key features:
Unlimited donation form creation
Full customization options to maintain your branding
Seamless reporting of transactions to your database
Flexible payment processor choices
Built-in analytics tools
How it helps engage donors: An integrated donation app will first help you better engage donors by giving you a more detailed view of your campaign results. You’ll be able to immediately identify strategies that work well at getting donors excited, as well as those that need more work.
Plus, additional options like peer-to-peer fundraising tools are designed to directly boost engagement. Give online donors the ability to quickly launch their own donation page, which they can promote online on your behalf. Explore the OneCause guide to peer-to-peer fundraising for more information on this engaging campaign style.
2. Event Registrations
Events are probably the most direct way that nonprofits can engage with their community, and Salesforce-integrated event registration tools are the perfect way to ensure everything goes off without a hitch.
Our events app gives nonprofits the ability to create unlimited event registration pages, and its integration with the underlying Salesforce platform means that all new registrant information is automatically recorded and properly sorted in your database. Learn more about all the features of our app here.
How it helps engage donors: Streamlining and customizing the event registration process is the easiest way to encourage more of your supporters to engage directly with your mission. Plus, by collecting registration data in smarter ways, you get a fuller view of your organization’s performance as a whole.
3. Class Registrations
Classes are another extremely effective way that organizations of all shapes and sizes engage with their constituents. Community-based nonprofits, associations, advocacy groups, and foundations all regularly offer classes to enrich their supporters’ lives, careers, and perspectives.
As with any type of event, both digital and in-person classes require a registration process in order to be planned well. With an integrated Salesforce app to host class registration pages and calendars, you can be sure your organization will have access to the bigger picture of your educational outreach projects.
How it helps engage donors: Use an integrated class registration app to both simplify the sign-up process for attendees and continually refine your strategies through analysis. Easily identify the classes that really engage supporters and back it up with data.
Nonprofits use forms for all kinds of reasons — to collect contact information, to register volunteers, to process new members — but data collection can be a hassle for your team without the right solution. Digital form-builder apps for Salesforce eliminate the need for double data entry and let you focus more on engaging your donors. Look for these core features:
Automatic data reporting to your Salesforce database
Fully-customizable forms to gather any information you might need from supporters
Real-time analytics and reports on the data your forms collect
How it helps engage donors: Tailored and responsive forms will help you better understand your community, its preferences, and what they love about your mission. These insights, neatly organized and analyzed right in Salesforce, will directly benefit your engagement strategies.
For nonprofit membership programs or professional associations, online directories are an important way to keep everyone organized and in touch.
With an integrated solution like ours, your online directory will essentially allow users to search within segments of your Salesforce database. Configure custom directories, resource libraries, and search forms to make sure your members can find exactly what they’re looking for.
How it helps engage donors: For organizations that seek to foster a sense of community for their supporters, providing open access for members to connect with one another and find valuable resources is the perfect way to encourage deeper engagement. Drawing these directories straight from your Salesforce database is the most direct and efficient way to do this.
Offering merchandise, apparel, and gifts for supporters to buy online is a great way to supplement your organization’s donation revenue, and a Salesforce-integrated app can simplify the whole process of creating and managing an online shop. Our eCommerce solution has a number of key features:
Direct reporting of order and transaction information to Salesforce
Unlimited products, categories, and storefronts
Fully-customizable store structures and appearance
Flexible payment processing options
Personalized recommendations with user integration add-on
Real-time analytics reported through Salesforce
How it helps engage donors: Custom merchandise and online stores are great ideas for nonprofit organizations because they can both help to increase revenue and promote your brand image. Engaging supporters in their day-to-day lives with your merchandise is a great way to keep your mission front and center.
For advocacy organizations, petitions are an essential tool in raising awareness and promoting your issues to the broader community. With the right tools, you can take your advocacy work to the next level by harnessing the power of the Salesforce platform.
A petition app designed to integrate with Salesforce can automatically save all your new signatures and contacts to your database. Plus, you can offer intuitive social media sharing options for your supporters to raise the visibility of your cause online, too.
How it helps engage donors: Salesforce-integrated online petition tools can help you engage more supporters by simply making it easier to get your message out there. Most importantly, automatic reporting of signatures to your database gives you a pre-built mailing list of active supporters ready to engage with your communications and requests.
Another key advocacy technique, targeted actions are perfect for reaching the next step of supporter engagement, encouraging them to personally reach out to their elected representatives via email. With the Soapbox Engage actions app for Salesforce, organizations have access to these features:
Unlimited, fully-customizable action pages
Filters to ensure only a representative’s constituents can contact them
Social media sharing options to raise more awareness
Automatic reporting of action data and message details
Analytics tools for identifying key traffic sources
How it helps engage donors: By making it easier for your supporters to get involved and take action, you can directly encourage them to become more engaged with your mission. Plus, integration with Salesforce means you can easily review and analyze your campaign performance to continually refine your strategies.
9. User Portals
User portal or user integration tools are the perfect way to offer your organization’s members unique access to your digital resources and services. Our user integration add-on for Salesforce allows you to set up easy members-only and self-service options on your website. These include:
Managing recurring donations
Updating payment information
Registering for members-only events
Prepopulating forms with member information
Restricting directory access to members only
How it helps engage donors: Membership programs are among the best ways for nonprofits to keep a core group of dedicated supporters highly engaged with their mission. Physical benefits and opportunities need to be matched with special members-only digital benefits, too. With a user portal integrated with Salesforce, it’s easy to get your online membership program up and running quickly.
Salesforce is a powerful tool for bringing nonprofit communities together largely because it’s such a customizable and flexible platform. It’s easy to build out the perfect toolkit of fundraising, advocacy, and digital engagement tools through integrated apps.
Ideally, an app will not only flow data seamlessly between itself and Salesforce, but also between your other apps that are pulling from the same data sources. Integrated ecosystems of Salesforce apps can be extremely effective investments in your ability to engage donors as they make it easy to continually refine your strategies. Ultimately, this leads to stronger donor engagement and stronger long-term relationships for your nonprofit.
Need help choosing the right apps for your team?
One of the biggest reasons people move to Salesforce is the ability to integrate third-party applications with their CRM. We’ve guided clients through picking the right app for their team many times. Check out this blog post for more advice on your apps.