Choosing The Best Fundraising Platform for Salesforce for Nonprofits
Choosing The Best Fundraising Platform for Salesforce for Nonprofits

Choosing The Best Fundraising Platform for Salesforce for Nonprofits

07/09/2019 by Mendi Mendez
If you’re part of a nonprofit team working to stay on top of your fundraising with tech, how do you know you’re using the best tools out there?

Many nonprofits work within careful budgets and look for solutions that help to raise money and save money at the same time. Another Arkus team member shared an overview on the blog recently of how we help organizations select and add fundraising functionality to Salesforce. 

Check out our tips for selecting fundraising tech below and then head over to the blog for a deeper dive into specific application options. Ready to do some hands-on learning? Check out the links at the end of this post for where to get in-person help.

How do we Choose Donor Management & Fundraising Software? 

When it comes to choosing the best fundraising platform to help you connect with donors, it’s important to start with an understanding of how donor management platforms differ from fundraising ones, and then get clear on what your organization’s unique needs are for both. 

Salesforce is a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool and highly customizable cloud-based platform used to manage programs, data, and campaigns. Nonprofit Success Pack is an installable package that further customizes Salesforce to meet common and specific nonprofit needs. Not for profit organizations expand upon the core Salesforce functionality with custom development or applications downloaded from the Salesforce AppExchange. The sum total of the Salesforce platform plus integrations for nonprofits is referred to as the Nonprofit Cloud. 

Many organizations have made the move away from traditionally installed software to web-browser accessible applications that sync data across devices. Today, fundraising software functionality can be added to Salesforce via applications and packages found on the AppExchange

When connected to Salesforce these applications make it possible to link the base Salesforce CRM donor management platform to externally-facing donation websites, landing pages where supporters can track group money raised for events, or additional fundraising functionality like gala-event ticketing and auction bidding tools. Third-party fundraising applications from the AppExchange can integrate almost seamlessly with Salesforce. 

So, How Much Does Fundraising Software Cost for Non Profits? 

Fundraising application access is typically priced by tiers or a flat rate. Tiered pricing expands access to features at different pricing levels. Fees may also or instead be charged for a percentage of funds raised plus transaction costs per donation, or every time payments are processed. The total cost to use typically depends on how much money you raise with it. 

Several popular tools have free offerings and this can make it tempting to think you can go all-in adding functionality for no cost. Note that free to access may not be without cost to use. It’s common for funds raised still to have associated fees. 

It is almost impossible to find fundraising software that does not have some nominal credit card processing charge when used to accept donations with one. Credit cards are a convenience that comes with a cost. An upcoming post from Amy Bucciferro on the Arkus blog will expand on why. Avoid any of the hidden costs of “free” by getting clear on all connected tool operating costs before you dive into using any app. 

Ok, How Do We Choose the Best Fundraising Platform?

At Arkus, we make specific application recommendations after detailed discovery and scoping sessions with the organizations we partner with. While it’s important to know your needs completely before fully vetting possible options, it can help to have a quick overview of the best fundraising platforms out there as you start the process of evaluating technology.

Among the many applications we’ve worked with and helped clients implement are Classy, Click & Pledge, Soapbox Engage, and Give Lively. Each of these has a free offering and we walk through some in more depth in the blog post

Free can make it safe to check out a tool before you fully link it up to your Salesforce. Nonprofits interested in fundraising software are encouraged to investigate the above and other options on their own and talk to consulting partners, like Arkus, to make an educated choice. What’s best will depend on what your team needs your tool to do.  

Where Can We Learn More about Fundraising Technology?

Demos can go a long way to get an idea of which choice is right for your team. You can find more information on fundraising applications on the AppExchange and request a demo directly with the makers of an app through there. Demo Jams also happen during Dreamin’ events and other conferences. These may be a chance to get a quick look at tools. Search the agenda for sessions on fundraising. App companies often set up booths at World Tours and attending one can give you the opportunity to meet an app team in person. 

You can also connect with other nonprofits to learn what tools they are using or ask consultants questions in person at community-run events like NPSP days or our Arkus Pro Bono Day. 

We host an Arkus Pro Bono Day several times a year. It’s a free day of in-person sessions and speaker presentations for nonprofit Salesforce users. As mentioned above, we’ve worked with a number of fundraising platform companies and continue to help our clients understand the unique features and opportunities each can offer a nonprofit. We were joined at our December 2019 Pro Bono Day by experts from the free-for-nonprofits fundraising platform Give Lively for an overview of what their software makes possible. Classy shared an overview of their fundraising platform with attendees in San Francisco at our first Arkus West Coast Pro Bono Day earlier this year.

Our next free Arkus Pro Bono Day happens August 15th, 2019, in New York City. Give Lively will be back to share more about their free fundraising platform, the latest on the digital wallets trend, and their work with The Malala Fund. If you’re an employee of a nonprofit local to the area you'll find more information and registration here. 

What questions do you still have about selecting a fundraising platform? Tell us them on the Salesforce Trailblazer Community or chat with me @MendiMendez.