Advocacy organizations and organizations that are working to influence policy can choose from a number of cloud-based technology options to connect with constituents and policymakers. We’ve explored several of the advocacy apps that work with Salesforce and are sharing them in this post. As with any app that integrates an external system with Salesforce, pay close attention to see if there are validation rules or triggers in Salesforce on the objects used by the app. This can have the potential to cause a data transfer or sync to fail. Specifically, if your organization uses Salesforce NGO Connect, we recommend extensive testing in a sandbox to ensure that the app you choose is compatible with NGO Connect.
Soapbox Engage is an online engagement tool that integrates with Salesforce. It allows an organization to build online campaigns to activate supporters. With the Soapbox Engage Petitions app, online petitions can be created, signatures collected for those petitions, and information about who signed those petitions can be viewed in Salesforce – in real time. Each petition is a Campaign in Salesforce, and signers are matched to existing Contacts or created as new Contacts in Salesforce. The signatures can easily be displayed on the petition page and there is no fee per signature.
Petitions is optimized for mobile devices and it is very easy to build a new petition and publish it to a website. With their custom design option, petition pages can be matched to a website and branding. If a new website is needed, Soapbox Engage may be able to help, as it does much more than just petitions.
For advocacy organizations that need to do targeted geographic outreach, using this app in conjunction with a mapping app such as Geopointe or MapAnything and perhaps a mass email app, could have a larger impact.
KnowWho has several apps that are excellent for maintaining a complete directory of Congress, state, and local elected officials within a Salesforce instance. KnowWho data is updated daily and automatically pushed to your Salesforce platform, where information is stored as Accounts and Contacts. These apps make is possible to find the Members and staffers you need to reach for your advocacy efforts.
Their ZIP-To-District Matcher app allows you to determine the US Congressional and State Legislative districts of your existing Accounts and Contacts. This data becomes part of the Account or Contact record and is cross-linked to those elected officials.
KnowWho also has a new tool called the Action Center Toolkit that collects petition signatures and allows constituents to send messages directly to elected officials. One of the exciting distinguishing features of this app is that it is built natively to Salesforce! There is no integration requiring data to sync back and forth.
CQ Roll Call Engage
Looking for something that allows constituents to communicate directly with decision makers? You may be interested in CQ Roll Call Engage, a product for mobilizing and engaging members and advocates.
Engage’s “Calls to Action” allow the creation of various engagements targeted at specific groups, where supporters can write or call their legislator, sign a petition, or sign up for a newsletter. The actions supporters take are stored in Engage and then synced to Salesforce using the Engage for Salesforce app.
Engage for Salesforce syncs constituent data back and forth between Salesforce and Engage, or it can be configured to sync in one direction only. For Contacts, this sync is limited to name, phone, email, and address, and the name and email are the matching criteria between Engage and Salesforce.
This app received a substantial update in November 2015, that included an optional extension for organizations using Campaigns. The extension package lets you see which Contacts are located within a particular elected official’s district.
Cloud for Organizers
Cloud for Good built Cloud for Organizers as a native solution on the Force.com platform. This tool helps organizations create lists for phone banking and assigns those lists to volunteers. Phone bankers can collect RSVPs, schedule meetings and tasks, send emails, and collect survey responses. Real time statistics are available about a particular phone banking campaign.
Door-to-door campaigns can use the integrated bar code scanning technology to scan survey results back into Salesforce.
Cloud for Organizers uses standard Salesforce Campaigns, Campaign Members, Contacts, and Activities, and can be used in conjunction with a mapping tool, such as Geopointe, to do targeted geographic outreach.
Salsa is an online engagement platform best suited for communication with supporters, activists, and donors. Salesforce is a robust, flexible, and highly customizable CRM that allows enormous versatility in data management, constituent management, and reporting. Salsa released an app called Salsa Sync for Salesforce, allowing the sync of contact, donation, and campaign information between the two tools.
The app itself is relatively simple, but as a data integration tool, challenges can arise if you are starting out with data both Salesforce and Salsa. Read the documentation carefully to understand the implications of syncing between two systems that already contain data, or engage an implementation consultant to help you get started.
NationBuilder is a community organizing tool used by many political campaigns and advocacy groups. While there is currently no direct integration available between NationBuilder and Salesforce, some non-profits are using both tools to accomplish their goals, capitalizing on the strengths of Salesforce as a highly customizable, flexible, and powerful CRM and the strengths of NationBuilder as an operating system for communities. There have also been rumors in the Power of Us HUB of a NationBuilder-Salesforce integration, but to quote the Salesforce Safe Harbor statement, you should only “make purchase decisions based on the features that are currently available”. Until a true integration is available, we recommend investigating whether the other tools discussed in this article will fit your needs.
If you are trying to decide whether Salesforce in general is the right fit for your organization, you may want to take a look at 5 Reasons Why Salesforce and Your Nonprofit Were Meant For One Another and To CRM or not to CRM.
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