By Eric Dayton
Much like their for-profit counterparts, nonprofits and NGO’s also reach across international borders in order to run their programs, connect with their constituents, and raise resources. They have the same needs as solely US based nonprofits, but global nonprofits have to be agile enough to not be limited by additional challenges that may occur when broadening their reach around the globe.
Connectivity and Lack of Technical Infrastructure
Although the globe is becoming increasingly connected, internet connectivity is a challenge that many organizations face when working in rural areas or in developing countries. Additionally, a large portion of the global population does not have access to a computer, making it difficult to connect with staff on the ground, and even more difficult to connect with their constituents.
Various Languages and Currency
Additionally, a global organization will be made up of multiple languages and currencies, dependent upon which countries they operate and serve. If all of your infrastructure is in English and your revenue reporting is strictly in US dollars, it can be difficult for your staff to adopt the tools in a different language while also converting all currency for reporting purposes.
Global nonprofits don’t need to fear. Solutions to many of these challenges exist within the Salesforce ecosystem. Salesforce offers the following tools to help address the difficulties of working across cultures and international borders.
The Salesforce Platform supports global organizations by providing multi-currency capabilities. To combat the challenge of reporting on opportunities within a single organization with branches throughout the globe, multi-currency allows branches to report on their own local currency. An organization could be headquartered in the US, and need to track, forecast, and report on opportunities in US dollars, but they have revenue producing branches in Nicaragua (Cordoba), South Africa (Rand), and Nepal (Rupee). Each of these three branches are able to run entirely on their own local currency, while the US headquarters can summarize the totals from their combined networks in US dollars. If headquarters would like to drill down to an individual branches’ revenue, they can see summaries in the local currency and the total in US dollars.
Much like multi-currency, Salesforce allows users to customize language based on need. A default organization language can be set, which means any new user will automatically be assigned that language. However, new users can be assigned or select their own personal language, meaning all on-screen text, images, buttons, and online help display in the language for that user.
Salesforce provides three levels of language support: fully supported languages, end-user languages, and platform only languages. A list of these supported languages can be found here.
Additionally, many organizations make further customization to their Salesforce instance, which means if a user’s language is set as Spanish, but the default language for the organization is English, custom fields and pick list values will be displayed in English. However, the Translation Workbench lets you specify languages you want to translate, and then allows you to create translations for those languages on all of your custom development, meaning a Spanish User will even see custom pick list values to custom fields and managed packages in Spanish, as long as they have been translated.
While access to computers can be difficult or nonexistent, mobile devices are used throughout the world in different capacities. For users with solid connectivity (strong internet connection, or 3G/4G), Salesforce1 Mobile is a great option. Using multi-currency and local language options, your users’ experience in the mobile app can be localized to wherever they may be connecting to the platform. Additionally, with the mobile app, users can have a similar experience to the reporting and tasks management solutions of the traditional web-based experience, while also offering the flexibility of submitting opportunities and managing programs directly from the field.
For those with poor connectivity, SMS integrations with Salesforce allow Staff and Constituents to submit data with any phone that can send an SMS. A program manager in the US can send a text message to farmers they are working with in rural Nepal, and the farmers can respond while populating records or firing off tasks to be completed by program staff around the world. A multitude of integration options exist within the AppExchange to allow you to meet this requirement.
While a multitude of other use cases exist for global organizations, these are some examples of how native out of the box Salesforce functionality can be used to accomplish goals and create change by organizations that reach around the globe.
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