BrightStep Partners is heading to the NTEN Nonprofit Technology Conference today, and I’m excited to see some of the new tools and features available to our community – particularly to see what’s new around marketing engagement, advocacy and mass email for many of the environmental and justice organizations we serve.
Many nonprofits will also visit the Salesforce Foundation zone to investigate the platform’s evolving features, and try to understand if they should make the move. Yet fundamentally, Salesforce for nonprofits is not a product or tool to be selected and compared against other vendors.
Salesforce for nonprofits is an approach.
In her last blog post, Tracy mentioned that the one constant is that tools and technologies will change. Why pick a tool that may become obsolete, get sold, or lose its relevance for our organization? Instead – pick a platform, Salesforce, for current and future success.
Salesforce for nonprofits is a platform from which we can iterate and learn within our organizations. And just like my iPhone – I pick it not for the way it makes phone calls – but for the apps and tools that live on top of it. Apps which I change, and delete, and upgrade over time.
For example – mass email. Today I need a mass email tool that is more mobile responsive than my current tool and has prettier templates. MailChimp could be a great choice. Two years from now, my list has grown to 50,000. Now I want to do more robust A/B testing. Exact Target could be a great option. With a flexible platform, I can change the tool I use for mass email (or texting, or engagement, or anything!) as my needs change and the tools themselves evolve.
Picking Salesforce isn’t about comparing a feature list vs. another product. It’s about making a commitment to experiment and evolve as an organization, and utilize the infinitely customizable platform of Salesforce, and its robust AppExchange of third-party tools, to do so.
What is the Salesforce Approach?
- Picking a database of record from which we will drive engagement
- Deciding to collaborate on data within our organization
- Creating a culture around shared information
- Choosing a platform that allows us to bring in the best tool for the job, rather than something that “does it all” – but not at all well
- Utilizing third-party tools to accomplish specific tasks, and integrating key data back into the platform
- Expecting that our needs will change over time, as will the tools we use to meet them
- Creating a long-term plan to accommodate changing needs and technological advances
- Investing time in creating something new for our organization around technology
- Owning our organization’s theory of change by customizing the platform to track our specific outcomes
Why choose Salesforce? Because its fundamental approach is investing in a central platform that will allow your organization to experiment and be dynamic over time.
So what if you’re already using Salesforce, but your organization isn’t aligned with this dynamic approach? Do you ever feel like you are a Salesforce Therapist, or you need one?
Look for us at the conference to get your own “Salesforce Help 5¢” Lucy button – or check out this link of where to find us this week.