Building Upon Rock: Salesforce a Nonprofit’s Foundation for the Future

Think of the brands you support financially. What makes you return again and again, spend more money with them, contribute to their growth?

It likely comes down to what they offer and the relationship you’ve developed with them.

Let’s examine that for a moment in the nonprofit world. Nonprofits function and thrive on donor support, utilizing dollars in the smartest way possible to ensure the largest footprint. Is your nonprofit enabled with the right resources to fulfill donors’ needs for meaningful, transparent relationships and to supercharge your team and your mission?

The COVID-19 connection

COVID-19 wreaked havoc on the world. It brought to a halt many things, but neither nonprofits nor their pain points. The Candoris team of business analysts have been busily working with nonprofit customers, guiding them through high-level thinking regarding their struggles. Problems being addressed aren’t a result of the current situation; rather, they’re issues that have been exacerbated by the pandemic and require solutions.

A few key trends rise to the surface.

Donors are the lifeblood to an organization

A new report by Candid on charitable giving in 2020 highlights that annual giving started strong, then fell due to COVID-19 and large donor stock market decline, but then experienced an uptick through small donor giving, highlighting the remarkable collective power that donors have on an organization.

Effective donor stewardship is mission-critical

Is your nonprofit allocating enough resources to stewarding your donors?

Effectively utilizing and communicating donor data is key to nonprofit success. Reporting and segmentation capabilities grant users quick and simple visibility into holistic donor data and relationships, allowing at-your-fingers reports and statistics to be easily shared with donors and utilized to apply for more grants and funding. Gone are the days that organizations needed to comb spreadsheets, merge information, and extrapolate data to obtain a 360-degree view of constituents. Solutions like Salesforce and its platform of solutions allow organizations to understand constituents and their relationship with an organization. Insight into gift frequency, event attendance, and email opens tell a greater story about the sentiment your donors bring to their relationship with your organization and mission.

Do you thank your donors specifically and recognize them accurately in a way that facilitates future engagement? Do you understand every facet of your donors – when they made a gift, where they made the gift to, if they have attended events and had conversations with resources?

Integrated platforms, solutions, and processors change an organization’s trajectory

Salesforce is not just a solution. Salesforce is THE solution for supporting your organization. Organizations with alternate CRM solutions must treat experienced issues separately – each requiring its own solution. On the other hand, organizations that have implemented Salesforce CRM and the Salesforce platform of solutions don’t just solve for one thing – they utilize Salesforce to solve for and support their organization as a whole. Instead of reacting to and solving individual issues, utilizing Salesforce gives organizations the opportunity to facilitate a strategic approach to all aspects of operations.

The Salesforce platform provides invaluable and unparalleled fundraising support

Fundraising with multiple tools presents specific challenges and inefficient spending. There are numerous tools that allow organizations to facilitate and solicit donors in various ways, but before you know it, your team is fundraising on a specific solution, facilitating event management with an event solution, logging received checks into another solution, and keeping books and statements on a fourth solution…because each tool is a disparate system.

While Salesforce has a robust fundraising component, it is not just a fundraising tool. What this means is that it supports integrations in a way that other fundraising tools simply cannot, which results in multiple fundraising benefits:

  1. All tools are managed from one comprehensive system, lending transparency and a 360-degree view of information

  2. Initiatives and processes are connected instead of siloed, allowing for streamlined operation and facilitation

  3. Gone is the need for multiple fees and contracts to various payment processors and tools, resulting in keeping more money in your organization

  4. Integrated systems decrease an organization’s technical debt.

Digital engagement will continue to be a value differentiator

Most organizations were forced to cancel in-person events – their biggest fundraisers of the year. This impacted their team’s ability to engage directly with people, bringing the importance of digital engagement again to the forefront of timely discussions.

A recent report by Candid found that 75% of 501(c)(3) public charities are considered small. If this is you, it doesn’t mean you’re any less mighty! Our team has been witnessing the trend of small nonprofits being super interested in digital communications. Instead of printing and mailing or mass emailing their constituents, they are implementing Salesforce and using it to effectively segment audiences and integrate tools that support tailored messaging.  

Cloud-based solutions built upon a solid data strategy are paramount

Cloud is here to stay, and it is vital to scalability, growth, and business momentum. If your organization does not use cloud-based solutions, you need to pause and ask why. Productivity suites and Salesforce CRM truly enables your mission to be effectively delivered. Team members access data at their fingertips, leadership gains insight to their workforce and can facilitate direction, and constituents are understood holistically. Additionally, moving to the cloud can decrease technical debt and lower expenses over time.

Let’s talk cost

Some organizations cite cost as their main hurdle to implement Salesforce. In reality, the cost depends on your organization’s unique needs. Salesforce offers 10 free licenses to 501(c)(3) public charities. That is sufficient for many organizations we work with, and there are no ongoing or annual costs for those 10 licenses. In order to implement Salesforce, customers choose a service provider (like Candoris!) that consults and delivers a custom solution. All in all, there is a one-time, upfront investment with less ongoing costs, which is different from disparate systems that have constant annual fees for software, processing, etc.

Crawl, walk, run: Salesforce offers organizations the ability to grow with and into solutions

The beautiful thing about the Salesforce platform of solutions is that it offers your organization the ability to start small with a CRM, and build on it as you grow. You need not replace everything at once. Salesforce lets you address one thing at a time and, when the time is right, expand into nonprofit solutions. We highly recommend Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud as a holistic solution that offers everything from Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP) for fundraising and programs, to Nonprofit Cloud for Program Management, along with much more.

Our team at Candoris believes so much in this platform of solutions that we worked hard to obtain the coveted Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud Master Navigator designation, which recognizes our ability to deliver expertise in Nonprofit Cloud for customers.


Understanding how to build a solid foundation for your organization is no easy feat. Let us help align a solution that can grow at the same pace as your organization: Salesforce. We’re here for you for any questions you may have along your journey.

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About the author

Marketing & Content Strategist

Laura plays a key role in marketing, communications, and operations initiatives at Candoris, including managing corporate content and the employee wellness program. Her project/program management experience, coupled with over a decade of crafting compelling stories for publications, nonprofits, and international programs, has led her to develop the Candoris brand identity and voice supported by a holistic content marketing strategy. Laura graduated from Franciscan University with a degree in English writing and is passionate about corporate mission and social responsibility.