The Salesforce Foundation is offering nonprofit organization and benefit corporations 10 donated licenses of the Salesforce Enterprise edition. You can choose from two different configurations of their product donation – Salesforce CRM or Salesforce CRM + Nonprofit Starter Pack. What is the difference? Which version is right for your organization?

The stand alone Salesforce CRM is the “out of the box” edition that is generally geared towards the business world. With that being said, Salesforce is an extremely flexible platform and it can be customized to meet your nonprofit’s       mission and needs. The “generic” Salesforce CRM configuration provides your organization with full control over your database; however, it might take more time (and money) to tailor it to support your operations.

What is the Nonprofit Starter Pack?

The Nonprofit Starter Pack (NPSP) was created to help nonprofit organizations use Salesforce. It was built to extend the functionalities of the standard Salesforce CRM to nonprofits in addition to supporting common business processes across social change organizations. It currently includes five managed packages. Each package consists of custom fields, custom objects, reports, workflows, page layouts, Force.com Code (Apex) and VisualForce pages.

So what are the different packages?

  1. Contacts and Organizations Package – manage relationships with organizations and individuals (contact-to-contact). For example, with participants, students, or volunteers.
  2. Household Package – group people who live in the same household.
  3. Recurring Donations Package – track donations pledged over time.
  4. Relationship Package – manage key relationships (family, friend, acquaintance, co-worker) between individuals.
  5. Affiliations Package – track individual’s affiliations to organizations. For example, John Smith can be an employee of ACME Corporation and a board member at Save the Whale.

Pros:

  • Out of the box solution that addresses key nonprofit needs
  • Allows managing relationships with individuals, not only organizations
  • No need to update when code changes or bugs are fixed
  • Can be uninstalled easily

Cons:

  • Every organization is different; it might not fit to your needs
  • It is managed; cretin components are locked and cannot be configurable
  • Individual module (one-to-one) is very limited
  • Does not support Person Account
  • Installation is complex

Salesforce CRM Donation + NPSP

Implementation and Training Costs

Whether you choose the NPSP or standard Salesforce CRM, you will likely require some assistance with customization, data migration, adoption, and training. The actual cost will vary depending on your needs, the number of staff that will be trained, your data, and complexity of business processes.  If the NPSP addresses your core needs it may require less customization than the standard Salesforce solution.

You Can’t Go Wrong

The Foundation enables you to sign up for a 30-day trial before you make a decision. If you are not sure, try both before you apply for the donation. Ready to get your hands on? Click here to sign up.

Please remember that with either template you choose, there may be a number of things to configure, there is no magical solution. Salesforce is one of the most flexible web-based solutions available on the market and it can be customized to meet your needs.

Still not sure? Contact us to consult which template will be right for your organization. We provide one hour of FREE consultation for nonprofit organizations.

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ScheduleMemphis

If you have ever moved from your home town to a new place you probably know that, for a while, everything looks different. The street signs, the roads, the people. It is an opportunity to meet new people and learn new things, but where do you start? How do you find out what is happening in town?

A few months ago while surfing through Facebook I read a post by a native Memphian complaining that he has to attend 4 launches tomorrow and he wished that all these organizations would coordinate their activities and avoid scheduling conflicts.

I did not know about any of these launches and they all sounded very interesting. I recently moved to Memphis, TN. For me, it is not only that the signs look different; they are in a different language. I was very active back in Israel and after I moved to Memphis I had no idea where to start.

So what could be done to make all the events, meetings, workshops, conferences, and shows in Memphis more accessible to everyone and help the organizers avoid scheduling multiple events during the same times?

To address these issues a solution should:

  1. encourage collaboration and sharing
  2. be accessible from anywhere at anytime
  3. be quick, we need to be up and running in a very short time
  4. and most importantly, be easy to use for both the organizations and attendees

Being in the “cloud business” I did not have to think twice. Cloud technology is revolutionizing the world because it is open and flexible. In my eyes, this is exactly where technology should serve the community and support social change.

ScheduleMemphis

Therefore, in an effort to serve and support the community, I chose to use the Google platform and created www.ScheduleMemphis.com, the first community-wide calendar with all events in town.  The calendar is a one-stop-shop for community organizers who are trying to avoid scheduling conflicts and are having trouble reaching out to the greater community. Additionally, individuals like me can use the website to be more informed.

How did I do this?

Well…The website was built on Google Sites which enabled me to deliver the platform in less than a week. I use Google Forms to collect nominations for new organizations –non-profit organizations nominate themselves to use ScehduleMemphis. Then, I create a unique Google calendar for each organization where they can simply create and update their events. All calendars are shared on the website.  It was simple to create and is easy to update.

The website already has 10 organization’s calendars and I have 20 more in the funnel. I found that it is also democratizing the organizations’ outreach efforts. It does not matter if you are a multi-million dollar organization or a one man (or a woman) show, you receive the same access and use the same platform, for free. (I am not charging the organizations).

Visit www.schedulememphis.com and let me know what you think.

Excel is not a database

Before I founded Cloud for Good I worked for a small nonprofit organization that loved to collect information. When I joined the organization, as a director of resource development, I inherited the organization’s most kept treasure. An Excel spreadsheet with all the donors and foundations we contacted in the past six or seven years, their social interests, who contacted them, when, how much money we asked, how much we received etc… This was (by far!) the largest spreadsheet I have ever seen in my life.

Overall, it seems like spreadsheets can be ideal for manage the organization’s knowledge. The Microsoft Office package is installed on most computers. Additionally, it is a very simple to use tool that we are all familiar with – we can easily create new columns and save. However, do not be tempted.  Excel is not a tool to manage and cultivate relationships!

 Excel is great with numbers but it is very limited. As a resource developer I could not efficiently track year to year donations or identify that one of our graduates could have been a potential donor. It was a great tool to analyze quantitative information, but it did not enable me to manage relationships between the information I tracked – it is “flat”.

  • Yes, you can add more columns to manage the information; however, how many columns will you need to track all the phone calls, emails, and meetings with your donor, volunteer, or student? Not to mention tracking all their donations, preferred days and time to volunteer, and program attendance. This is important information – if you wish to form a relationship with the constituent (or the foundation).
  • When your organization collects all the information (just like in my previous organization) the spreadsheet could include thousands of values and become very difficult to manage.
  • Your spreadsheet will not support your business process nor will it include workflows and automatic reminders. For example: Excel will not remind you to send a thank you letter every time you receive a donation.
  • Reporting in Excel can be very challenging. How would you know who gave last year but not this year and attended one of your programs’ graduation ceremonies?
  • And what about security? Everyone who has access to the spreadsheet can make changes and delete anything. You cannot determine who can see all of the information and who can edit specific columns.

 

Your database is one of the most valuable assets for your organization.  A good database is necessary to help you grow and provide better services to the community. It should support the organization’s mission and should be adopted by your entire organization and not only one team. It should be easy to use (you don’t want a system that only one person within your organization can use), flexible (it should evolve with your strategy) and it should support the type of work you do.

iphone-june

This month’s round-up includes tips for improving your organization’s Facebook page, measuring your social networks effectiveness, an introduction to Salesfroce Chatter, and a few good tips for writing an email. I am also including good tools from Google that may help you consider moving to the “cloud”. And there is a fun surprise at the end 🙂

  1. Everybody is on Facebook (did you Join Cloud for Good on Facebook?), but how do you create a Facebook presence? Debra Askanase, Community Organizer 2.0, has five good tips. Her bottom line is: get creative, collaborate, and be aggressive.
  2. However, attracting new fans is not enough. What Does Your Facebook Funnel Look Like? Here are a few good ways to measure the effectiveness of your online communications?
  3. Salesforce.com’s Chatter is here and everybody is talking (and writing) about it. It is definitely number 1 in my Top 5 Salesforce.com Summer ’10 Release Features.
  4. Here is a post that I would really like to forward to a few colleagues (and family members), it’s called “I don’t have time to read your email”. We all know that this is a very painful issue! She has a few good tips to help improve your organization’s newsletter.
  5. Google released many new features this month, however, my favorite one is the ability to try Google Docs without a Google Apps account. They made my life easier! Explaining Google Docs can be a challenging task: they have great video tutorials but people need to “play” with it in order to really understand “real time collaboration” and “the cloud”. Google launched a new site that allows users to try full-fledged versions of its word processor, spreadsheet, and drawing tool without a Google account.
  6. Still not sure why you should move to the cloud? Google created the Go Google cloud calculator that lets you explore your potential savings in an easy-to-understand way. I love it!
  7. With your extra time you can play some vintage video games online, like Supper Mario and the King’s Quest.