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Why Salesforce is the Right Solution for Organizations Moving from Raiser’s Edge

Why Salesforce is the Right Solution for Organizations Moving From Raiser's Edge

As organizations evolve, so do their technology needs. At Cloud for Good, we have migrated over 250 nonprofit organizations and higher education institutions from Raiser’s Edge to Salesforce. Technology transformation is top of mind for savvy organizations looking to exceed their organizational goals. With a 2.1% decrease in charitable giving in 2023 after inflation, every donor dollar counts, and we see more nonprofits consider a migration to Salesforce to better meet their growing demands. From our experience, here are the top reasons why Salesforce is the ideal solution for fundraisers looking to transition their technology away from Raiser’s Edge.

1. Flexibility and Customization

One of the standout features of Salesforce is its flexibility. Unlike Raiser’s Edge, which has a more rigid structure, Salesforce provides a highly customizable platform. Organizations can tailor Salesforce to meet their specific needs, creating custom objects, fields, and workflows that align with their unique processes. This adaptability ensures that the CRM grows along with the organization, accommodating new programs, fundraising strategies, and outreach methods.

Human Rights Watch

Cloud for Good worked with Human Rights Watch to customize Salesforce for each step in the donor lifecycle, considering the different stages, sources, engagement plans, and events within that cycle. Once everything was integrated into Salesforce, tracking, forecasting, and visibility capabilities were drastically improved, adding a newfound level of efficiency and effectiveness to Human Rights Watch’s fundraising efforts.

2. Platform Extendibility

Salesforce boasts a robust ecosystem of third-party applications and integration options to help connect Salesforce with other essential tools that your fundraising team use daily. It also provides access to some of the of the most common fundraising needs from companies who specialize in specific use cases through AppExchange, Salesforce’s marketplace for applications. While Raiser’s Edge is powerful in its own right, it often requires additional middleware or custom solutions to achieve similar integration capabilities.

AppExchange offers thousands of apps to extend Salesforce’s functionality, making it easier to meet an organization’s specific needs without extensive custom development. Our clients benefit from the breadth of options available. Some of our favorite and most utilized nonprofit applications include:

Online Giving: Classy and Donor Drive 

Admin & Developer Tools: Apsona

Document Generation: Nintex

Online FormsFormstack and FormAssembly

Event Management: Blackthorn

Corporate Matching Programs: Double the Donation

Crypto Donations: The Giving Block

Sutter Health
"Data and technology are critical for our fundraisers, who are ultimately the ones influencing donors. If you make the fundraisers happier and give them more insights, you're going to have a happier donor base."
Emma Coluccio-Ross
Manager, Philanthropy Technology, Sutter Health

3. User-Friendly Interface

User experience in Salesforce is designed with accessibility in mind. The intuitive interface and ease of navigation on Salesforce reduces the learning curve for staff and volunteers. And for new users who desire additional support, comprehensive training such as Trailhead, which is Salesforce’s free online training resource, and a supportive user community is available to further aid in the transition.

In contrast, Raiser’s Edge can be more challenging to navigate, particularly for users who are not tech-savvy. Our clients have told us that Raiser’s Edge NXT has a new user interface, but it exposes data that is not actually available in NXT—requiring more workarounds and complicated in training in order to support and navigate the multiple user interfaces needed.

Guggenheim Ticketing Salesforce
"It became clear on many fronts that the various teams had become far too comfortable with a lot of manual work, moving data around, manipulating it outside of Raiser’s Edge just to get results for reporting. It was unsustainable and unproductive. Salesforce gives us the opportunity to deal with and rectify those previous inefficiencies."
Joshua Meehan
IT Director, Guggenheim Museum

4. Scalability

As nonprofits grow, their data management needs consequently become more complex. Salesforce’s cloud-based infrastructure allows it to scale effortlessly, accommodating increasing data volumes and user numbers. One of our clients, the CDC Foundation, went from a donor database of 42,000 donors to over 150,000 in just a few months, and individual giving increased by 2,403%. They were not able to support this growth in Raiser’s Edge.

CDC Foundation Salesforce
"Partnering with Cloud for Good has greatly benefited the CDC Foundation’s ability to raise funds and tackle the coronavirus outbreak. Through the Salesforce implementation provided by Cloud for Good, we are now able to allocate emergency funds with a level of efficiency and expediency simply not possible before this project."
Monique S. Patrick
Chief Operating Officer, CDC Foundation

5. Advanced Analytics and Reporting

Data-driven decision-making is vital for nonprofits aiming to maximize their impact. With Salesforce’s Data Cloud, organizations are provided with deep insights into donor and constituent behavior, campaign performance, and overall organizational health. Data Cloud makes these insights possible by unifying all of an organization’s data into a single, trusted model that’s easy to understand onto Salesforce’s Einstein 1 Platform, giving users a 360-degree view of their constituents to drive not only analytics and automation, but to also personalize engagement and power trusted AI. The platform’s customizable dashboards and real-time reporting capabilities empower nonprofits to make informed decisions quickly. Raiser’s Edge does offer strong reporting features, but Salesforce’s analytics capabilities are often more advanced and easier to customize.

Rainforest Alliance logo
"One huge benefit of Salesforce is the visibility. You can look into accounts at a holistic level and see the Rainforest Alliance team working with the account, how they’ve interacted with us before, and what is in the pipeline. Our grant management procedures and contract approvals have been shortened tremendously, and the whole process has just been streamlined."
Megan Friedfeld
Fundraising Operations Manager, Rainforest Alliance

6. Community and Support

Salesforce’s nonprofit user community is vast and vibrant. Organizations transitioning to Salesforce can tap into a wealth of knowledge, best practices, and peer support through the Success Community, user groups, and the broader Salesforce user community, called the Trailblazer Community, whose members are known as Trailblazers. This network can be invaluable during and after the migration process, and 80% of Trailblazers reported that engaging with other fellow users in the Trailblazer Community helped them extend their Salesforce capabilities, increase efficiency, reduce costs, and get more value from Salesforce. While Raiser’s Edge also has a dedicated user base, the scale and diversity of Salesforce’s user community provides a broader range of resources and support.

Salesforce Trailhead logo

Join the Salesforce Trailblazer Community to connect with Trailblazers from anywhere and take Trails on Trailhead to expand skills.

7. Future-Proofing with Innovation

Salesforce continually innovates and the new Nonprofit Cloud is a testament that our clients can stay at the cutting edge of technology. Nonprofits benefit from regular product updates, new features, and enhancements driven by user feedback and industry trends. This commitment to innovation helps organizations stay ahead of the curve and leverage the latest tools and technologies to further their missions. Although Raiser’s Edge is reliable, it does not innovate at the same pace, potentially limiting an organization’s ability to adapt to future changes.

Future proofing with innovation

Migration Considerations

Migrating from Raiser’s Edge to Salesforce is a significant undertaking and decision, with key considerations that include data mapping, cleansing, and migration strategy. However, our experience and success working with nonprofits migrate from Raiser’s Edge to Salesforce has shown us that the benefits of migrating, like those we’ve uncovered above, far outweigh the challenges.

The Center

With Salesforce, The Center has been able to add a checkbox giving donors the opportunity to raise their donation in order to cover the small fee directly on the giving pages. The Center quickly found that adding this new option had a drastic, positive impact on overall fundraising, resulting in $80K additional funds raised in just one year, as a direct result of this simple checkbox.

Given the implications and effort involved in platform migrations, organizations who do decide to change platforms should also know that they never have to feel alone in making the transition, and that there are options for them. Partnering with an experienced implementation consultant can facilitate a smooth transition from Raiser’s Edge to Salesforce, provide technical guidance, ensure data integrity, and minimize disruption.

For nonprofits seeking a robust, flexible, and future-proof CRM solution, Salesforce stands out as the superior choice. Its customization options, integration capabilities, user-friendly interface, scalability, advanced analytics, and supportive community make it the ideal platform for organizations looking to transition from Raiser’s Edge. By investing in Salesforce, nonprofits can enhance their operational efficiency, drive greater impact, and ensure long-term success.

Interested in making the switch? Reach out to Cloud for Good today.