Top Tools for Nonprofits
There are literally thousands of apps that work with Salesforce.com. Most of them can be found on the AppExchange - a marketplace that allows you to search, test, deploy, and rate apps designed to work with the Salesforce.com platform. While there are thousands to choose from, there are a handful that I think work really well for nonprofits because they are 1) heavily discounted or free, and 2) provide functionality that is incredibly useful. Below are the four tools that nonprofits should install or use.
I think it goes without saying that data integrity is the key to a successful database. I guess you could argue that User Adoption is the key - but I can guarantee that if the data is wrong, records are missing or empty, or there are duplicates, users will not have a reason to log into the system and use it. So, my all time favorite tool goes to a data migration/cleansing tool called DemandTools from CRMFusion. I spend more time on DemandTools by a magnitude of 10 than any other Salesforce related tool. First let me say that DemandTools is expensive in comparison to other tools - but worth every penny. That said, it is FREE for nonprofits and every nonprofit should take advantage of CRMFusion’s generosity. It allows you to effectively manage data including data migrations (import, update, etc), deduplication (any table can be merged in mass) and find/report ID’s (in addition to other modules). There are a couple of downsides to this tool: 1) The user interface is not sleek or cloud based; it looks like it’s from the early 90’s, 2) it has a pretty steep learning curve and requires that an admin attend one of the weekly training webinars or have someone teach them, and 3) Oh...there’s a huge downside if you’re a Mac user - it only works on a PC.
If you are a small to medium sized nonprofit without a need for an enterprise level email marketing tool, Vertical Response is a good option for a couple of reasons. First of all, of the other email marketing competitors in the same class (i.e., Constant Contact or Mailchimp), Vertical Response has the best integration with Salesforce. It allows you to install the app so you can create and send emails directly from Salesforce without having to log into a separate system. It also allows you to easily sync Clicks, Bounces, Unsubscribes, and Opens fairly easily. The second reason is that they grant nonprofits 10,000 free emails per month. The major downsides are 1) it isn’t multi-user, meaning you can’t have multiple users tied to the same account, 2) It doesn’t have subscription management, and 3) it eats up data storage quickly.
Drawloop or Conga Composer
One of these tools - either Conga or Drawloop - is necessary for nonprofits using Salesforce.com to track donations. These tools can - in addition to many other things - allow you to easily generate thank you letters, saving you (or your admin) a ton of time. Neither of these are free, but they are discounted for nonprofits and are license by license. Meaning, not every Salesforce user needs a license. Support for both of these products is phenomenal.
Click and Pledge
If you are just getting started with Salesforce.com and you are using it for donation management, a simple, yet effective online donation tool that I would recommend would be Click and Pledge. Click and Pledge has come a very long way since I first deployed it in 2009. It has a smooth Salesforce.com integration, has a fantastic resource library, allows you to easily administer your account, pages, etc. It is a simple way to sell products, take donations, and process payments and have the data go directly into Salesforce.
Again, the AppExchange is a marketplace full of other awesome apps. These are just a few I use regularly and would recommend. Please share your favorite Salesforce tools with me in the comments below or on our Facebook page. You can also reach me on Twitter at @staciricenyc.