As we approach the end of the calendar year, many of your donors will be thinking about end-of-year donations to your organization. In our experience, Cloud for Good recognizes this as a time that elicits feelings of excitement, urgency, and sometimes stress in most of our clients. The opportunity to engage with your constituents is of utmost importance and being able to serve them where they are is essential to having a successful giving season. This is a time when you want your systems to fade into the background – they should serve your needs and provide all the relevant information, but you should not have to think about them at all.
In order to make that possible, your systems – especially your Salesforce org – have to “be ready” for the big push. Cloud for Good has identified a list of 7 ways that you can help make your org ready:
1. Cleanse Your Data + Get Insights
Data is always the backbone of any system – especially Salesforce. Without clean, useful, and trustworthy data, your system will not provide value, and may not even be used! There are a number of ways that Salesforce helps to ensure that your data is kept clean when it is coming into the system – duplicate management tools, import matching processes, and validation rules/required fields on records to make sure that all the relevant data is there. This initial data integrity is vital to making the system work well – after all, “garbage in, garbage out” – but just as vital is the continued focus on keeping the data relevant.
This focus on data manifests itself in a couple of different ways – first, operationally, it is up to each person in your organization who interacts with the data to keep it updated and clean. The system can add rules to try to prevent mistakes, but each time someone updates a record, they need to make sure that all the data they have is correct.
Second, is Salesforce Insights – a data integrity platform that not only supports data deduplication but addresses standardization and automatic updates through the National Change of Address registry as well. Having Insights as part of your architecture is a great way to make sure that your data is kept clean.
2. Deliver the Right Message, at the Right Time
A great way to connect with your constituents is by tailoring your message to them, individually. Knowing where to reach them, how they like to be interacted with, and what is relevant to them as a constituent makes your message so much more meaningful and creates a deeper relationship with them. Taking content that you have already created, and pushing it through multiple formats (postcard, website, video, text message, etc.) allows your message to reach further and deeper than one format alone.
Of course, Salesforce has a set of tools that allows for this customization and personalization for your constituents. It all starts with having the appropriate information in Salesforce, to begin with, and then using that information to help guide your message. The tools for delivering your message (Marketing Cloud, SMS, video platforms) can all connect with Salesforce to leverage the information you have stored and utilize it to get your message out there.
3. Maximize Your Events
Knowing everything about your constituents is a powerful way to keep them engaged with your organization. Understanding all the touch points you have with them provides that “360-degree view” most organizations are looking for so that you can have smarter conversations virtually or in person.
With many of our client organizations, this view needs to include events that the organization holds throughout the year. The ability to understand what events your donors signed up for, which they attended and any outcomes of that event (winning an auction item or awarded something, for example) provides a personalization opportunity when interacting with that donor. There are a number of systems that Cloud for Good has worked with that allow for bringing this event information into Salesforce – and thereby integrating that information in all your contacts with the constituent.
Maybe that means you are sending an email to encourage your constituents to donate – you can use the event information to make that email more personal. Maybe that means that your Major Gift Officers are able to have a great conversation about an event with a potential donor. Having the event information in Salesforce allows for that information to be part of the conversation.
4. Convert Your Volunteers
Similar to events, volunteer information is an essential element in understanding all of your constituents. Being able to see not only that this person is a volunteer, but how many hours they volunteered over the year, for what specific opportunities, and any other relevant information, is a great way to connect with those individuals. But not only that, the ability to share that volunteer information in aggregate with your donor base is a powerful way to show how your services are being supported.
Telling a donor how many total volunteers you have, how many hours they have contributed, and the “value” that brings to your organization is a great way to connect a donor to your cause, and maybe even generate some more volunteers! Of course, there are a number of different options for incorporating volunteer management into your Salesforce org, each with different options to make sure you can get the right information for your organization.
5. Optimize Your Giving Pages
As the doorway to your organization for your donors, your Giving Pages are an essential tool that should be representative of your organization’s values and mission, but also show everybody how you treat your constituents. An easy-to-use page that provides options to your donors and a simple process to give is essential to success. I know that I have been in online shops where the checkout experience was very difficult – and I walked away from the sale!
In addition to the pages themselves, the interaction of those pages with your CRM is also essential. Any lack of information, slowness in accessing the data, or missed data would be detrimental to the success of your donor services. Having an integrated system makes all your interactions with your constituents much easier – and Salesforce offers a number of ways to connect to Giving Pages to enable this process.
6. Consider Accepting Non-Traditional Donations
The future is now, and we are witnessing a number of non-traditional donation strategies being implemented by forward-thinking organizations. One of these interesting shifts is the rise of non-traditional forms of currency, such as cryptocurrency, bitcoin, and NFTs. Our Founder and CEO, Tal Frankfurt, wrote a great article for Forbes that touches on how technology is making it possible to accept these forms of donations. Staying ahead of the curve and finding ways to welcome these new forms of donations pave the way for innovative benefits like allowing donors to track exactly where their funds are going.
Before adding these non-traditional forms of donations into your strategic plan, it is important to understand what exists, how you can accept these donations and the potential impact on your organization. One of our partners, Classy, put together a comprehensive guide on what nonprofits need to know.
7. Invest in Campaign Services
For many of our client organizations, the interaction they have with existing or potential constituents happens through multiple pathways – events, volunteer opportunities, online, email, phone, and also direct marketing. This last pathway – direct marketing – can require very intensive data manipulation in order to create the relevant list of people to send to. Knowing best practices on how to interact with these people, how to get your data to work for you, and how to get that information back into Salesforce is required to have a successful direct marketing campaign. At Cloud for Good, our dedicated team that has expertise in this area is called Campaign Services.
Getting your Salesforce org ready for end-of-year giving is an essential part of being prepared for success. Keep these 7 hints in mind as you build your strategy and contact Cloud for Good today for additional opportunities to transform your technology with Salesforce.