By Bill Van Orsdel
Poverty, homelessness, health, and the general well-being of individuals and the collective: no matter what your Human Service organization’s mission may be, it’s likely complex, expanding, and entwined with sensitive information requiring a robust tool to manage it all. While there are several solutions on the market today, only one features the scalability and flexibility necessary to nurture your constituent relationships and expand your capabilities and embodies the values for which you run your organization. That solution is Salesforce, and if you aren’t yet utilizing the world’s #1 enterprise platform-as-a-service, now is the time to make a change. These are 7 top reasons why your Human Services organization should be using Salesforce:
You know you are making a direct impact on your community, but how do you attribute direct results to your programs? Oftentimes, detailed reporting can help your organization raise more funds, or is a requirement from grantees.
Through the outcome reporting available through Salesforce, these time-sensitive questions around impact can be answered. There are no SQL queries or need to know code. The Nonprofit Cloud even comes equipped with a built-in analytics engine, reports created for typical nonprofit use cases, and the ability to custom-build reporting and dashboards. With these robust tools, the health of your organization can be measured, tracked, and reported on clearly and quickly without the need for expensive staff time to continuously drudge up report after report. With these reports, you can generate automatic updates on the results and activity you generate and report back to your donors and granters serving as a confirmation that their grants and donations are employed effectively.
Analytics can support the acquisition process when you approach potential donors with detailed historic data on the uses of past donations from previous donors. How do you illustrate the importance of an individual’s donation? Show them, specifically, what a similar donation across a similar amount of time accomplished in the past. Being able to pull direct results on the outcome of past fundraising will help your moves management planning and the renewal of periodic grants.
Make Smarter Asks
While reporting on outcomes and tracking activity are valuable, having actionable data can also facilitate improving operations. The ability to track touches per constituent, classes taken, programs completed, changing intake demographics and more is what elevates your organization from good to great. For example, improved matching of services to constituents’ needs leads not only to better outcomes but also to more efficient use of your staff and funding resources.
Cloud for Good adds value to your Salesforce tool with custom-configured available to match appeals to donors, constituents to counselors, volunteers to shifts, and more. If it can be measured, it can be tracked. If it can be tracked, you can make better allocation decisions, expanding the effectiveness and reach of your organization.
Customized for Your Business
Exploring the notion of actionable decisions even further, other solutions require you to adopt the business processes already built into their software. They don’t have the capability of letting you configure and express your unique business processes in their products. They’ve decided the best way to conduct peer-to-peer campaigns is “X”, the best way to schedule classes for constituents is “Y”, the best way to manage volunteers is “Z”. So often, organizations are pigeonholed into best practices decided by a faraway product manager who isn’t constrained by your unique staff and history. Twisting your organization into someone’s notion of best practices is a recipe for a failed rollout and significant change management issues. Every configuration of volunteers, constituents, facilities, and resources are unique, and your organization is no exception to this rule. And therein lies the distinctive advantage of Salesforce: it is a platform that can be configured to express your distinctive mission and your unique collection of human beings accomplishing the work.
This advantage can be hard to fully understand until you’ve done it both ways, both according to your own self-determined practice and with Salesforce’s configurable capabilities, respectively. Those who’ve been constrained to one rigid way of doing things as a result of a non-configurable software solution will immediately recognize the scope and freedom found within a fully configurable Salesforce system.
Salesforce as A Growth Vehicle
Selecting Salesforce isn’t a decision to take lightly. It is especially suited to nonprofit organizations looking to grow their reach and operations. Because, as you scale up and expand, so too can Salesforce grow alongside you. Salesforce’s flexibility for new configurations to address new needs is unmatched. As you continue to build out your 360-degree view of constituents, donors, and volunteers, you can similarly deploy Salesforce to a wider set of staff, both part-time and full-time. Additionally, Salesforce adds functionality three times each year, based on the feedback of their community, and does so in a way that won’t disrupt or interrupt your respective system. Salesforce is an evolving, platform for expressing your growing and changing mission. It allows you to innovate while also keep your operations consistent, measurable, and manageable. As you begin to expand your internal usage, add more people, and implement more business processes, your mission capabilities will continue to expand. Through the journey, Salesforce is equipped to grow alongside your business.
Breadth & Depth of Add-Ons
No matter your nonprofit mission, Salesforce features near-limitless customization. Through the AppExchange, thousands of business solutions (both free and paid) are available for instant download, each one offering a unique added feature for your organization. The investment Salesforce puts back into their products and their industry is simply unrivaled. Through community-focused involvement, Salesforce organizes regular interactions between users, engineers, and product managers, and then synthesizes that feedback directly from the market and back into product improvements. No other platform operates in this way. Salesforce continues to outpace its competitors on the experience curve. They know more about the market, enter more markets faster, and add functionality faster than any other business solution today. Salesforce is a vehicle for the continued growth of your mission, offering well-developed add-on functionality that continues to expand capabilities, allowing your organization to expand in turn.
Available Talent Pool
Gone are the days of being locked into one single developer that you’re forced to return to for updates and upgrades. Scouring for smart, reliable people to help run your systems is a thing of the past. With Salesforce, you’ll never have to worry about finding the right people to configure and administer your systems. Ranked first in Fortune’s 100 Best companies to Work For in 2018 and ranking second place in 2019, Salesforce is consistently recognized as one of the most viable long-term careers for tech-minded individuals. In 2019 research conducted by Indeed recognizing the best job titles in the U.S., 24 of the 25 positions were noted as generic positions: Machine Learning Engineer, Insurance Broker, and Full-stack Developer comprised the top 3. The only non-generic positions within that list of 25? Salesforce Developer. The Salesforce ecosystem is full of talent for you to draw upon. While it should come as no surprise that the Salesforce Economy is projected to create 3.3 million new jobs by the year 2022, know that it’s not just the talent pool and Salesforce-certified professionals that’ll boost your organization, it’s your fellow Salesforce users as well.
An Established (and Engaged) Ecosystem
For over 10 years, nearly 2 million unique Salesforce customers have contributed to their Trailblazer Community. This information hub provides answers to commonly (and not so commonly) asked questions and centralizes feedback for the betterment of the entire community, the entire ecosystem. Through the Trailblazer Community, AppExchange, and the IdeaExchange, another facet of the ecosystem that allows customers to provide suggestions for new products and features, Salesforce proves their investment into their users, time and time again.
You’ll always have a choice in the internal and external staff available to assist your enterprise. Getting together to share ideas and share resources provides a key pillar on which the whole of Salesforce stands. Nearly every major city in America will have a Salesforce user group that meets regularly on how to take Salesforce and make it a bigger, better, more impactful resource for their business.
These benefits, at Salesforce’s price point, simply cannot be found anywhere else. And with Salesforce providing 10 free Enterprise Edition licenses of Salesforce Sales Cloud to nonprofit organizations, it’s simply a no-brainer to at least install Salesforce and explore the capabilities of the platform. There’s virtually no risk in doing so. If you have a vision and you’re moving forward towards growth and increased revenue, Salesforce is the obvious, perhaps the only, choice for your organization.