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State of Salesforce Findings: Online Giving in the Nonprofit Sector

In the 2020 – 2021 State of Salesforce in the Nonprofit Sector Report, Cloud for Good outlined how nonprofit organizations are currently harnessing the power of Salesforce technology and where they’re looking to continue their innovation.  Over 500 organizations responded to our survey, offering insights into how Salesforce helps create digital transformation, the trends and best practices we can expect to see over the next year, and the measurable impact Salesforce has made for our nonprofit clients. 

In this blog, we’ll dissect our report and pull out the most pertinent findings related to online giving and digital fundraising in the nonprofit sector today. 

Salesforce’s Impact on 2020 Fundraising 

Salesforce fundraising innovations came at an opportune moment for so many nonprofits in 2020; “Increase Fundraising” was recognized as the top current and future goal by State of Salesforce respondents. These numbers even further reveal that 56% of surveyed organizations said Salesforce directly impacted raising more funds. The momentous shift from physical to digital commerce is reflected in these eye-opening stats. For so many, online giving evolved greatly within a truncated period due to COVID and Salesforce being there to help support this evolution.

Online giving, digital fundraising, and mass shifts to the virtual environment have dramatically impacted the nonprofit space. Salesforce’s recent State of Commerce report backs this up. According to the report, 66% of high-performing companies are replacing in-store experiences with digital ones, and 56% of organizations expect most of their revenue to come from digital channels within the next three years. Connecting this back to Cloud for Good’s findings, 72% of organizations surveyed increased their investments in technology over the last 12 months.

Here are our top three tips to help maximize your online giving experience:

Tip One: Create a Personalized Donor Experience 

Throughout the years, how companies engage with consumers has evolved greatly.  Think about how Netflix or Amazon uses consumer data to provide personalized recommendations directly in the application.  Heightened accommodations and recommendations have directly led to heightened expectations from the consumer.  This is also true of the expectation donors now have for personalized journeys with the nonprofits they support.  Following this increased demand for tailored experiences, nonprofit organizations looking to stay ahead of the curve are expanding their technology suite accordingly.   

The most successful organizations are finding new, inventive ways to connect with their donors across web and mobile applications, creating a seamless, customer-centric experience through strengthening one-to-one marketing relationships with their donors across channels and devices.  In the process, these organizations are able to limit the barrier of entry for donors and empower their online giving communities. 

In our annual State of Salesforce Report, we found that of the organizations surveyed, 53% were looking to engage their constituents on social media, 47% were going to begin using marketing automation to create trigger-based journeys based on their constituent activity, and 43% were looking to engage constituents via text messaging.  The ability to integrate engagement solutions with your CRM provides a great opportunity to connect your communication channels and create a cohesive, highly customized donor journey. 

“What did you learn from the COVID-19 pandemic that will impact your business decisions moving forward? “Having text to give options for fundraising; pivoting towards an online market presence, and strong virtual presence for fundraising.”

Melanie Hudgens, The Farmer’s House

Tip Two: Elevating the Online Giving Experience

This may seem basic – but make your online giving experience easy. Whether you’re using Elevate, Classy, Donor Drive, or Click and Pledge, finding a solution to help you manage online giving is becoming increasingly important for nonprofit organizations. In 2020, with social distancing protocols in place, nonprofits needed to rely less on in-person events to reach their fundraising goals. The utility and safety these online solutions provided nonprofits can and should be incorporated moving forward.

These online tools help to remove barriers of entry within the giving experience by creating mobile-friendly, easy-to-use online giving forms. Through the forms, donors are further empowered to make intuitive, self-service decisions, such as a one-time or monthly donation or the option to cover credit card fees with a simple check of a box.

Find out what other applications are helping nonprofits raise more funds in the 2020 – 2021 State of Salesforce in the Nonprofit Sector Report

Tip Three: Turn Your Donors into Advocates

Donors are the lifeblood of any nonprofit organization. Having people who believe in your cause enough to contribute financially is truly a wonderful thing – our nonprofits couldn’t survive without them. But when donors go beyond just contributing a monetary gift to a cause and also help to publicly endorse an organization, that is what we call an advocate.

Advocates help your organization expand your reach, increase your brand’s visibility, and ultimately raise more money through peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns. 1 in 3 online donations is made through Peer-to-Peer fundraising, where advocates rally their social media networks to raise funds for a specific cause.

The best way to begin the process of turning donors into advocates is to make the ask. Ask your donors to share that they donated on social media. Invite your donors to advocacy events, or volunteer to get first-hand experience with how your organization is impacting your mission.

Where We Go from Here

Online giving has cemented itself as an incredibly vital pillar of nonprofit fundraising. Even though the past year has presented unforeseen challenges, Salesforce technology represents the light at the end of the tunnel illuminating the path forward for so many nonprofit organizations. It has created the ability to connect data from all parts of your organization and use it as a competitive advantage to understand your donors, create personalized experiences with your nonprofit, and make it easy for your supporters to give.

If you’re ready to create transformational with your technology, reach out to us today to learn more about what Salesforce can provide for you and your organization.

Download the State of Salesforce in the Nonprofit Sector Report to find out how else technology impacts fundraisers.