By Emily Hinck

Current, past, and potential members of your Board of Directors (BoD) are among your organization’s most important stakeholders. They volunteer their time and talents to further your mission, and they leverage their connections for the organization’s success. Because of their special relationship with your organization, board members deserve some special handling in your CRM as well.

As a baseline, BoD members are contacts in your Salesforce system. The contact record has a corresponding household account and if they are donors, opportunity (or donation) records. The contact may have campaign history related to fundraising or marketing campaigns and is probably related to other records using Affiliations and Relationships. But, if the contact record doesn’t have any indicator of the individual’s status as a board member, you have some work to do to ensure that all staff understand these key contacts’ integral relationship with your organization. As with many things in Salesforce, there are options on how to tackle this.

Custom fields

For some organizations, having a picklist field for “Board participation” on the contact is the only tracking needed. Creating this field and adding to the page layout is a simple configuration step that can get you up and running with tracking board members quickly and easily.

You’ll run into some limitations, unless you keep adding new fields and/or a record type for this specific use case. Details such as years of service, committee participation, and role won’t be captured by this picklist field. Proliferating fields and creating a separate record type for board members may not be in the best interest of your organization, especially if there are only a handful of board members that fit this criteria. If your organization relies heavily on board members and other volunteer committees, then perhaps further field and record type configuration is a good route to go. As with any configuration in Salesforce, first ensure that the need is there prior to building out the customizations.

If you go the route of having one picklist field – or one or two fields on the contact record – BoD reporting will be easy. A simple contact and organization report can show you all current board members and their most recent donation date and amount. Viola!

Affiliations

Affiliations are the Nonprofit Success Pack’s (NPSP) tool to connect a contact to multiple accounts. For your board members, you could create a policy that all board members have their primary affiliation set to your organization. You do this by creating an account record for your organization. Then, you will create an affiliation record connecting the contact to this account and marking that affiliation as “Primary”. This will populate the “Primary Affiliation” look up field on the contact record.

In this use case, I recommend adding this field to the highlight panel for quick reference.

In the Affiliation record, you can track details about their board participation. Relevant details include if they are a prospect, current, or former board member; years of their services; and, any committees that they serve on. Using affiliations in this way allows users to get key details about the board member using tools they are already familiar with. It is important to note, however, that depending on the number of affiliations created for a contact, it may require users to “View All” affiliations in order to see the details you’re tracking.

Establishing the protocol for setting the board affiliation as primary will help with reporting on donations given by your board members, as well as creating board directors and call lists. If the affiliation is not marked as primary, this type of reporting is challenging.

Campaigns

Campaigns are another useful tool for tracking board participation. One way to do this is to create a BoD campaign, with campaign members connecting BoD contacts to that campaign. Campaign member status will inform users if the board member is current, former, or prospect.

Using campaign hierarchy, you can create individual campaigns for specific board meetings or committees. This will track attendance and participation.

For those organizations that track BoD giving separate from other fundraising efforts, all donations made by members of your board can be linked to the BoD campaign for easy reporting.

One challenge with using campaigns is that on the contact record, the “Campaign History” related list can get over crowded and this important data can be easily missed when reviewing a contact record. This is especially the case if you are using campaigns actively for marketing or fundraising appeals.

Badges & Interests

The Cloud for Good Badges and Interests applications are also great tools for tracking board members. In the Interests application, you can define interests for Current Board Member, Previous Board Member, and Prospective Board Member.  The VisualForce component for the interest tree allows users to see and select these interests on any contact record.

Used in conjunction with the Badges application, these interests can inform a visual marker on the contact record. When a user navigates to that contact, they will see the visual marker at the top of the page and know right away that this individual is a BoD member.

The Badges application can also use a field on the contact record to inform a badge. If you’ve gone the route of using fields on the contact record to track BoD participation, a visual badge can make this data point stand out to users.

Get your Board on Board with Salesforce

Some organizations will opt to have their board members or select members of their board as users in Salesforce. Board members add value by adding contact details and relationships and tracking conversations with donors and potential donors. They can also collaborate in Chatter on key opportunities such as large grants and major donations or among each other in committee specific Chatter groups. Chatter groups allow committees to share and collaborate on files, discuss key objectives, and even poll on meeting dates and times.

When deciding what type of access to give your board members, consider what data you want them to see, edit, and create. For some organizations, a Chatter license is best for board members. It provides BoD members the ability to collaborate using Chatter but limits access to other data points.

Some organizations may want board members to see, add, and edit a select set of records, perhaps only those major donors and donations that the board member is assisting to solicit. To accomplish this, you can set the board member as a user and control data access using profiles and sharing rules.

For other organizations, having a board portal is desirable. In this instance, using Salesforce Community Cloud is the best approach. In a community, board members can collaborate using Chatter, view and edit specific data, view and run reports and more. All of this is done within a customized community experience and specific workflows that cater to how your board operates.

One of the key values of your BoD is the networks they bring to your organization. Using NPSP relationships is a way to see the spider web of relationships and target individuals who have many relationships with board members. As with everything in Salesforce, the value in the data is only there is if users add the data! If the board member has access to the system, your pathway to this information is more direct.

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Emily Hinck

Emily Hinck

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