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.

Dreamforce
It is the 8th annual salesforce.com user and developer conference! Dreamforce, a four-day conference, is the perfect place to take advantage of hands-on training, learn best practices of successful users, and connect with peers and salesforce.com experts.
Here are just a few things you will find at Dreamforce:
  • 325+ breakout sessions
  • A dedicated nonprofit/education session track
  • Cloud Expo featuring 250+ partner solutions
  • Hands-on training, interactive demos, and more
  • Opportunities to network with other nonprofit/educator attendees
Registration opens today and as a nonprofit client you should have received an email with a registration code. As I mentioned in a previous post, the Salesforce Foundation is offering a heavily subsidized nonprofit/educator rate of $99 USD to the first 400 nonprofit and educator registrants (versus the standard registration rate of $999). Once the $99 rate has sold out, the rate will increase to $199. This special rate is for the sole use of nonprofit and educational institutions.
Salesforce Foundation
To register at the special rate, visit the Dreamforce home page and enter your registration code. Be sure to register soon to ensure your spot at the cloud computing event of the year.

I will be there!

I would like to start a new tradition and share with you some of my favorite readings from around the web. So, a few days late, here are my best March findings:

  1. Google Voice transcribing system enables all men to now give birth to a child.
  2. This is a good resource from one of my favorite nonprofit technology organizations, NTEN. You should definitely download the 2009 IT Staffing & Spending Report .
  3. A great video on how to embed a YouTube video in Power Point from Beth’s Blog.
  4. A must read for every organization with a website, 10 tips to improve your “about” page (visit Cloud for Good‘s website)
  5. 4 ways nonprofits can use Google Buzz and 5 ways nonprofits can increase engagement with YouTube.
  6. Do you follow me on Twitter? You should! Here are 10 Twitter tools for your organization.
  7. Foundations and donors are online, are you?
  8. Hook Memphis Up! Check out my interview for the Memphis Commercial Appeal: Leaders say Google Fiber Network could transform Memphis.
  9. If you ever wonder why your organization should float in the clouds, this is another great read from NTEN.
  10. Does your organization blog? Here is some good advice on how to create a successful blog.

Fan Us

I just opened a Fan page for Cloud for Good in Facebook, fan us!

Here is a message I received from Steve Anderson (Salesforce Foundation) – good job Steve!
I’m happy to announce new releases of 3 of the Nonprofit Starter Pack packages—Contacts and Organizations, Households, and Recurring Donations.

I recommend installing these packages as they each include bug fixes.
They also include some nice new features:
  • Upgrading is easier
  • Replaced S-Controls in favor of VisualForce
  • Automatic Household Contact roles on Opportunities
  • Campaigns in Recurring Donations
  • Better handling of translations

You can see all the issues that I worked on for this release.
And here are the release details:

Contacts and Organizations

Bug Fixes
  • Marking Contact as Private doesn’t blank out Account (Issue 122)
  • Contacts can be inserted into an existing One to One Account (Issue 132)
  • Standard Accounts don’t work in Contact Merge (Issue 139)
  • Upgrading package requires renaming the Individual Account (Issue 141)
  • Changing Contact data renames non-one-to-one Account (Issue 142)
  • Lead Conversion errors when Lead has no first name (Issue 150)
  • One to one Account can be deleted if it contains Contacts (Issue 165)
  • Outlook Sync doesn’t work with standard NPSP Contact page layout (Issue 83)

New Features
  • VisualForce page for Contact Donation History (Issue 155)

Households

Bug Fixes
  • None

New Features
  • VisualForce for Household Donation History (Issue 156)
  • Contact Roles for Household Members on Opp creation (Issue 151) Docs.

Recurring Donations

Bug Fixes
  • Translation breaks Recurring Donations (Issue 120, Issue 140)

New Features
  • Ability to relate Recurring Donations to Campaigns (Issue 94)

If you are interested in upgrading your packages, please check out the wiki.
Thanks,
Steve

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Techsoup

Everybody is talking about technology, however, many organizations don’t have the time and/or resources to implement it they way they desire. Cloud technology tools, like Salesforce.com or Google Apps, are the right solutions for these organizations because their cost is minimal. Additionally, we recommend recruiting a technical volunteer to close the gaps where the in-house staff cannot.

Techsoup wrote a free guide for recruiting and managing technical volunteers at nonprofit organizations. Click here to view the guide.

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The Power of the AppExchange

Do you collect donations in more than one currency? Check out the Global Currency Updater application from the AppExchange! This free application allows updating the dated exchange rates in their Salesforce.com organization using the Yahoo finance web service.

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The holiday season is here and your organization decided to send newsletters to donors, volunteers or other stakeholders – a great idea, however, currently you have a very limited email list… how to collect emails of new potential donors? How can your organization utilize your website to expand the organization’s mailing list?

As a director of resource development for an Israeli nonprofit organization, 1 +1 Association of Immigrant Youth, I prepared a very nice presentation (with music and everything…) for new potential private donors. I remember long discussions over every word, phrases, and images for this presentation, we worked days and nights to make sure that the presentation conveyed the exact message we wanted to send to these prospects.

After we were pleased with the presentation, we moved on to the next step, sending the presentation to our mailing list… Surprise!  What we found was that our mailing list contained only limited number of individuals and mainly includes foundations who already rejected our proposals (quite a few…).This presentation was not relevant for them because we wanted to touch individuals, not organizations.

I assume that we were not the first organization to face this problem and certainly not the last, therefore, I decided to share with you tips and tricks to improve your website’s online registration form – hopefully it will help you to collect more information about people who are interested in your organizations.

1. Balanced Simplicity.
It is very tempting to ask your site visitors endless questions on the online form – name, email, phone, gender, age, location and more. Collecting as much information as possible makes sense because we all want to know our donors. But, asking too many questions may deter them from joining your mailing list.

Balance – The form should be simple to fill out and at the same time collect enough information so you can start cultivating the relationship with the surfer (I always say that it is impossible to cultivate relationship with an email address!).

Ask yourself how much information is really necessary? Put yourself in their shoes, would you answer so many questions? Keep it Simple.

Another option is to have two forms, one simple that includes only necessary information (email, first name, and last name) and another form with more detailed questions.

2. Provide Value.
Explain to the surfer what they get if they sign up for your mailing list; what they receive in exchange. Instead of saying “To subscribe to our mailing list click here” write “Join the association’s quarterly newsletter to receive updated information about our nationwide activities” or “Join our organization’s monthly newsletter to receive weekly tips and case studies directly to your mailbox”.

3. It is an Organizational Effort.
The importance of your distribution list should be clear to all staff and volunteers. Make sure that everyone can present and explain the value of your newsletter. It is better to ask “Can I send you our newsletter?” rather than “What’s your email address?” People prefer to receive than to give…

4. Not Only Online.
Market your distribution list everywhere, not only on your website! On your business cards, when groups are coming for site visits, or when holding an event or a conference, always ask people to join your mailing list. Offer your newsletter.

5. Location, Location, Location.
All of the above mentioned tips are effective as long as people can find the registration form.
Place the form in a prominent place on the site. For example, note the right bar, see the logo registry? If you have not registered yet, you know what to do…

6. Web-to-Lead
If your organization is using Salesforce to manage your constituents (please contact me if you are not using it and would like to receive more information) you should use the Web-to-Lead great feature. With web-to-lead forms the organization can easily capture and record leads from the website directly into Salesforce with no additional cost.

To conclude, if you didn’t do it yet, please join my mailing list to receive monthly technology updates, tips, and tricks just like the one you just read.