Building and cultivating relationships with donors, volunteers, or students is a critical task for nonprofit organizations and higher education institutions.  Email is (still) one of the most common communication vehicles for marketing and development departments. It can help your organization communicate with current and prospective constituents and in a highly personalized and cost-effective manner.

I often have conversations with our Salesforce clients about the best way to send email blasts. Should they use the native Salesforce CRM capabilities or a specialized email marketing application from the AppExchange?

Native Salesforce Mass Emails

  • Cost: Salesforce allows you to send a mass email message to a recipient list that consists of contacts, leads, person accounts, or users you can view in Salesforce at no additional cost.
  • Volume: Enterprise edition users (all nonprofit organizations who received the product donation) can send a maximum of 500 external email addresses per day at no additional cost.
  • Recipients:  You can mass email both Leads and Contacts, however, you will need to use separate blasts.
  • Email Sender:  The “from” email field is automatically generated with the sending user’s email address. It is not possible to manipulate this address or change it (you cannot send it on behalf of your CEO without workarounds).
  • Templates: You can create three types of email templates in Salesforce: text, HTML (with and without letterhead), and Visualforce. Text and HTML with letterheads templates are very easy to create, but have a very limited design capability. Visualforce email templates allow for advanced merging with a recipient’s data, where the content of a template can contain information from multiple records in Salesforce; this is a very powerful tool.
  • Tracking: It is possible to track an HTML email sent from Salesforce. You can only track the date it was first opened, the number of times it was opened, and the date it was most recently opened.
  • Whitelist: This might be the last item on this list; however, it might be the most important one. Salesforce mass emails are not whitelisted. This means that your email might end up in the recipient’s spam folder.

 

AppExchnage Email Marketing Solutions

 

If your needs are more complex than the native mass email capabilities, the AppExchange is the place for you. The AppExchange is a collection of cloud computing applications, all of which are pre-integrated with Salesforce.  Many of the mass email applications will allow you to build segmented lists, create and distribute customized email templates, and track post-drop activity, all from within Salesforce.

While deciding which application is right for your organization, we recommend considering the following:

  • Volume:  You need to consider how many contacts and leads are in your list. How many email blasts will you have every month?
  • Opt-in/out Management: A good application will have the ability for users to opt-out from a specific list or from your entire mailing list.
  • Reporting and Tracking:  Includes tools to evaluate campaign success with key results in real-time. Many applications include custom Salesforce reports and dashboards.
  • Social Media: Instantly share your email message on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
  • Templates: Ability to simply create template-based emails with an easy to use wizard.
  • Pricing: Every provider has their own pricing system which makes it very difficult to compare between vendors. Some base their prices on volume, the amount of emails that you send, and some offer bulk discounts. While you should always do your own analysis of price, here is an alphabetized short list of vendors with discounted prices for nonprofit organizations and at list a decent Salesforce integration:

 

ExactTarget LogoNonprofit organizations receive a 50% discount, each email costs 15 cents. It is not easy to get a price quote from them; it took us 4 days to find the relevant person because they don’t publish this information on their website. Let us know if you are interested and we will make the introduction for you. For more information check out their AppExchange Listing and a short demo.

iContact Logo Eligible nonprofit organizations can receive a 20% discount. Click here for complete price details. For more information check out their AppExchange Listing and a short demo.

Vertical Response - LogoNonprofit organizations are eligible for 10,000 free email sends per month and additional email credits at a 15% discount. Click here for complete price details. For more information check out their AppExchange Listing and a short demo.

Conclusion

I recommend using the AppExchnage solutions for regular email blasts such as e-newsletters. The Salesforce Mass Email feature can be used for emails like donor recognition, membership reminders, and acceptance/rejection letters.

Still not sure? Comment to ask questions.

Advertisements

Google

  1. The Gmail Labs “Undo Send” button saved me many times, however, until recently I had only 5 seconds to undo sending a message. Google just added new increments: 10 seconds, 20 seconds and now 30 seconds.
  2. Free phone calls, yes free. Google is now offering free phone calls from Gmail to anywhere in the US and Canada! Phone calls will be free “for at least the rest of the year”. I have been using it and I love it!

Online Community

  1. However, free phone calls are not a good reason to abandon other channels.J I really liked Debra Askanase’s post about Designing Social Media Engagement.
  2. Just remember, though, that your engagement should include great contact so here are 20 fantastic content ideas for your online community.
  3. Additionally, as Debra explains, you need to determine the appropriate online spaces and channels. While doing that get your nonprofit started with YouTube and make sure to claim your nonprofit places page on Facebook.
  4. And most importantly, measure your social media outcomes and analyze your website traffic. Here is a great article from NTEN about improving your site’s bounce rate.
  5. Google Grant’s blog has a few good suggestions on how to convert your website visitors into donors.
  6. Finally, I think that all you twitter fans will love this short vide where a giant bird takes over Twitter’s following list:

Salesforce

  1. Force.com labs have been very busy recently, with lots of good activity. Specifically, check out: Social Salesforce using LinkedIn Company Insider, Find Nearby, and Birthday Emailer.

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.

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!

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.

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

Share/Bookmark