Technology Decision Makers

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A group for those in nonprofit IT decision-making roles to connect with peers and share best practices. This Technology Decision Makers group is for nonprofit IT or MIS Directors/Managers as well as CIOs and CTOs to connect with their peers and share best practices. Topics for discussion include, but are not limited to: hardware and software management, product reviews, emerging technology, best practices, collaborating effectively with other departments, and management conundrums. Membership is restricted to IT staff at nonprofit organizations.

CRM Salesforce - what databases are you using?

  • 1.  CRM Salesforce - what databases are you using?

    Posted Jul 12, 2016 10:31

    Hi all:

    My organization is in the midst of making big decisions about the future of our database. Currently we have CRM Saleforce as our main database (which we've extensively customized but still face huge challenges in making it a practical tool that our staff can and will actually use), Constant Contact for emails and Salsa for advocacy communications (specializes in emails to legislators).

    These separate platforms are duplicative and all the layers contribute to a problem of multiple lists that are not kept up to date.

    In addition to the above, we want to start using a database for grant management.

    Our CRM consultants are of course telling us CRM is the answer to all this and we just need to spend more money customizing it. I am reaching out to the nonprofit community to get neutral advice.

    We are considering keeping one email service and are exploring what our options are for a database that can keep track 1) lists of people, 2) ways these individuals/organizations interact with us and 3) grant/donor management.

    What platforms are you using to do the above?

    Thank you for any input!! Much appreciated.

    ~Sarah

    ------------------------------
    Sarah Chusid
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: CRM Salesforce - what databases are you using?

    Posted Jul 12, 2016 13:33
      |   view attached

    Hi Sarah--

    I'd recommend checking out this Idealware workbook: http://www.idealware.org/reports/will-all-your-constituents-fit-one-system-idealware-workbook--it's all about whether it makes sense to consolidate all your data into a single system.

    The tradeoff you're wrestling with is really common (specialized tools are generally easier to use than generalized CRMs for their single purpose, but then you have divergent datasets). 

    There is, frankly, no way around that tradeoff and no one right answer--you can only assess what outcomes your org wants, what your big picture and daily workflow needs are, and evaluate for the best fit. And any data management toolset takes a lot of care and feeding--not just budget for customization and support, but staff time for both process design and actually doing the daily work of the system. (Attached is a resource I wrote on CRM approaches that I think might be helpful.)

    On specific platforms, many email marketing tools integrate with Salesforce, but I have never met anyone who was as happy with their integration as they had been with the standalone version. If you're looking to cut down the number of tools, you might want to look at using Salsa for email as well as advocacy.

    This email got a little all over the place! Feel free to reach out to me directly if you want to follow up on anything.

    -Lisa

    On 7/12/16 7:31 AM, Sarah Chusid via NTEN: The Nonprofit Technology Network wrote:
    Hi all: My organization is in the midst of making big decisions about the future of our database. Currently we have CRM Saleforce as our main... -posted to the "Technology Decision Makers" community

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    CRM Salesforce - what databases are you using?
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    Sarah Chusid
    Jul 12, 2016 10:31 AM
    Sarah Chusid

    Hi all:

    My organization is in the midst of making big decisions about the future of our database. Currently we have CRM Saleforce as our main database (which we've extensively customized but still face huge challenges in making it a practical tool that our staff can and will actually use), Constant Contact for emails and Salsa for advocacy communications (specializes in emails to legislators).

    These separate platforms are duplicative and all the layers contribute to a problem of multiple lists that are not kept up to date.

    In addition to the above, we want to start using a database for grant management.

    Our CRM consultants are of course telling us CRM is the answer to all this and we just need to spend more money customizing it. I am reaching out to the nonprofit community to get neutral advice.

    We are considering keeping one email service and are exploring what our options are for a database that can keep track 1) lists of people, 2) ways these individuals/organizations interact with us and 3) grant/donor management.

    What platforms are you using to do the above?

    Thank you for any input!! Much appreciated.

    ~Sarah

    ------------------------------
    Sarah Chusid
    ------------------------------
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    --  Lisa Jervis Principal Information Ecology: Strategic technology for progressive organizations https://iecology.org/  My preferred pronouns are she/her.



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  • 3.  RE: CRM Salesforce - what databases are you using?

    Posted Jul 13, 2016 10:03

    Hi Sarah,

    Salesforce can certainly be customized to many needs, but it can be expensive, and, like you're experiencing, it can be difficult to get staff to actually use the tool effectively. Depending on your needs, you may be able to use much simpler and more user-friendly tools, or you may really benefit from embracing Salesforce and all that comes with it.

    Can you tell us more about the size and scope of your organization, and the kinds of relationships and interactions you're looking to track?

    ------------------------------
    Isaac Shalev
    http://www.sage70.com
    Stamford CT
    @Sage70
    isaac@sage70.com



  • 4.  RE: CRM Salesforce - what databases are you using?

    Posted Jul 13, 2016 10:49

    Hi Sarah, et al.

    We have been implementing SalesForce over the last year+ to put all our information in one place.

    We do use Constant Contact and Eventbrite – and you can sync and link the two – to an extent.  Some other email applications better integrate into SalesForce than CC – MailChimp comes to mind.  But we do attempt to keep the Constant Contact and SalesForce contacts synchronized.

     

    WE have spent $ to implement online grant applications.

    The Nonprofit Starter Pack has some grant management functionality for grants received.

     

    Check out this link for Salsa Sync to SalesForce

    https://help.salsalabs.com/entries/57638174-Salsa-Sync-for-Salesforce

     

    if you work through the integrations – the idea is that SalesForce managed the data behind the add-on application making it available for reporting and seeing EVERYTHING related to your contacts/donors/accounts etc. – but you get the interface and functionality of what may be a 'best of breed' software application -
    Constant Contact for email Design etc.

     

    Stuart F. McClain, MBA, CPA(inactive), CITP

    Controller

    General Phone: (760) 674-9992 ext. 101

    Direct Dial: (760) 469-4371

    Website: http://www.rapfoundation.org

    AmazonSmile-RAP-Small IE Capaciteria

     

     

     






  • 5.  RE: CRM Salesforce - what databases are you using?

    Posted Aug 01, 2016 13:37

    Hi Sarah,

    If Salesforce is your CRM, you may want to look into building a best-in-breed integrated platform using Springboard (a product by Jackson River) for all your forms, transactions, and advocacy; and then upgrading your email system to IBM Marketing Cloud (formerly Silverpop) or Exact Target.

    We have a number of clients who have moved to this solution and are very happy.  I'm happy to chat more with you on this topic - feel free to email me: matt@thelukenscompany.com

    All the best,

    Matt

    ------------------------------
    Matt Seney
    Director of Digital Services
    The Lukens Company
    Arlington, VA