(This blog post is part of the “Apps for Good” series where awesome AppExchange providers guest post about their applications.)
About five years ago I was doing some consulting work with a company building a donor management system based on Microsoft CRM. I’d built seven donor management systems in my prior 35 years of experience and was quite enamored with some of the capabilities that Microsoft CRM had to offer in comparison with what I had worked with prior to that time. It had all kinds of relationships, a nice user interface, easy screen design and so on. It seemed like a great product.
One day while I was working on a competitive product study, I came across Salesforce. It looked like it had a lot of similar capabilities, but the thing that really caught my eye was that the Salesforce Foundation was giving its software away to nonprofits! That seemed like a pretty good thing for the nonprofit community.
So I began to look more closely at what Salesforce had to offer and what I found was so much more than just free seats. Not only did Salesforce have more to offer in terms of CRM functionality, but Salesforce was also building an ecosystem of nonprofits, software vendors, and implementation consultants that could make a real impact on the nonprofit community. I was sold. I left the company with which I was working and began to build a new type of Donor Management System on the Salesforce platform.
I found in Salesforce an organization that truly encouraged vendors to work with the product. I found an organization that was building a great group of implementation consultants, like Cloud for Good, to make sure their users had the resources to be successful. And I found an organization with a leader who cared about philanthropy as evidenced by the 1% of time, 1% of product, 1% of equity model.
We began to build a product called Affinaquest, focusing on the four foundational areas of Donor Management: Campaign Management, Prospect Tracking, Constituent Data, and Gift Processing. Our functionality includes:
- Solicitations within campaigns are tracked by constituent. A full history of those solicited and those who have responded is automatically compiled.
- Multilevel campaigns group multiple solicitation efforts under a parent campaign to facilitate tracking at the solicitation or campaign level.
- Bulk email campaigns can be organized and executed from within the system.
- Budget and expense tracking is supported so that a complete RIO report can be produced by solicitation or campaign.
- Relationship management is fully supported with the capability to plan and execute multiple solicitation tracks utilizing multiple staff and volunteer solicitors.
- Planned and Major gift opportunities can be recorded and tracked including such data as amount solicited, likelihood of closure, projected date of closure, next activity and much more.
- Forecasts based upon ratings of the likelihood of gift closure can be developed for each constituent and campaign.
- Activities can be tracked for each major gift or planned gift opportunity, including those activities scheduled for the future.
- Call reports can be produced for each staff member or volunteer solicitor to measure productivity and activity.
- Documents relating to the gift opportunity can be linked or scanned and attached to each opportunity, thus providing instant access to important material such as a deed of gift, promissory pledge, will, or other legal document.
- Gift linking is supported so that once the opportunity is consummated, all gifts or pledges recorded for the opportunity are directly linked to the opportunity, thus providing a complete, comprehensive overview of the entire solicitation and donation process.
- Multiple mail and email addresses per constituent including a complete mailing address history.
- Household-based and constituent based communications and solicitations.
- Employment data and employment history including matching gift eligibility.
- Educational history including schools attended, degrees received, areas of study, activities while a student and years of attendance.
- Community interests and activities including offices held and years of activity.
- Relationships between constituents showing the type and dates of the relationship.
- Multiple classifications per constituent to categorize and segment constituents.
- Activities between staff, volunteers, and constituents can be scheduled, monitored with various alerts and reports, and ultimately stored in activity history.
- Communications of all sorts, including automated acknowledgement letters, emails, mass mailings, personal meetings, telephone calls, and personalized mailings can be tracked. Copies of the email or correspondence can be directly linked to the communication.
- Single gifts with unlimited designations are fully supported.
- IRS and FASB rules are fully implemented and enforced, including conditional and unconditional pledges.
- Pledges can include multiple, irregular installments. Forecasts of future income can be based upon the pledge billing data.
- Matching gifts are fully supported. Each gift can have multiple matches, including matches based upon spousal employment.
- Soft credits can be recorded for any gift or pledge.
- Tributes can be recorded for any gift or pledge and appear on both the donor and the honoree’s records.
- Full batch controls are implemented to ensure that accurate and auditable gift processing occurs.
- Recurring gifts track a series of gifts given by a donor over a specified or indefinite time period.
- Automated giving summaries for constituents and campaigns make reporting, forecasting, and review of data quicker and easier.
These four foundational areas form the basis of any good donor management system. But beyond that, we’ve been working to build a network of like-minded software vendors who also have a deep interest in helping nonprofits realize their potential. By partnering with these vendors, all of whom have also built their products on the Salesforce platform, nonprofits will have the opportunity to choose the best of class in payment processing, events management, web content management and volunteer management.
We also believe that an application built on Salesforce ought to be built in a way that enables innovation, that allows an organization to extend Salesforce and Affinaquest to further suit its own purposes. In that light, it ought to be open, customizable and well behaved within the Salesforce environment so that users and other vendors can depend upon it to act in a consistent, friendly fashion.
And finally, we believe that nonprofits ought to be putting their resources into their mission, not their software. For this reason, we work hard to keep our expenses to a minimum so that we can keep our subscription fees to a minimum.
Blog post by Jeff Shy from Affinaquest. Contact Cloud for Good for more information about this package.