Image courtesy of Abhjit Bhaduri, Creative Commons license

Image courtesy of Abhjit Bhaduri, Creative Commons license

When I was a kid, one of the scientific-sounding myths that stuck with me was that the average human “only” employs 10% of their brain, while geniuses like Albert Einstein utilize up to 20%. If your organization is using Salesforce only as a development tool, you are only tapping into a very small percentage – perhaps only 10% – of your Salesforce capacity.

It is easy to forget that Salesforce is primarily a CRM (Constituent Relationship Manager). So many nonprofit users focus exclusively on its formidable suite of tools for tracking all types of financial transactions.

Use Salesforce to Synchronize Data Across the Entire Organization

When used correctly, Salesforce synchronizes all your agency’s departments. Best of all, it streamlines the process of mass uploading data to Salesforce from other databases. Just about every product on the market can produce your current data into CSV (Comma Separated Value) format, which is the data type that Salesforce reads.

In our work, we’ve found that most development contacts are not cross-referenced across the organization. For every Annual Gala or fundraising event, there are donors who not only give but volunteer, too. To pull up a list of those who do both can be time-consuming and inefficient if you are using two different data systems.

Five Minutes of Effort = Your Customized Report

In a conventional development arrangement, you’d first go to the Development Director to get a list of everyone who donated, and then go to the Volunteer Director for his or her volunteer list. Someone would then have to manually cross-reference the lists. (We are already feeling your pain.) If you were using Salesforce for both your development and volunteer databases, you would simply write a report to indicate who has both donated and volunteered in the last year.  

So Easy. Five minutes, tops.

Ah – but now what if you want to cross-reference donors with former program participants? Or volunteers with former program participants? With only five minutes of effort, you’ve got that list too.

No More Information Silos

Salesforce enables you to track ALL your important relationships in one place, many of whom may become future donors. This robust tool offers the ability to track information about your service recipients, volunteers, families of volunteers, partner organizations, government regulatory agencies; and not to mention the friends, family members and associates of your current donors.

The result: no more silos. No more wasted time cross-referencing spreadsheets. Streamlined with rich organizational context — your data will make you feel a lot more like Einstein. Get the updated data you need, when you need it.

Paul Baxter

About Paul Baxter

Paul brings to 501Partners his extensive experience as a nonprofit senior manager with a background in education, workforce development and housing. Paul is a seasoned educator in both university and employment settings and a gifted public speaker. He is well-versed in workplace technology and uses his communication skills to provide training and make recommendations that increase value for his clients. Paul holds a PhD in Religious Studies from Boston University.