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Is Salesforce a Good CRM for Nonprofits?

In this post, we’ll see the reasons Salesforce makes a good Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution for nonprofit business, and some reasons to choose a nonprofit-specific tool instead.

What are the Benefits of Salesforce for Nonprofits?

Salesforce is the world’s #1 CRM solution, and it will come as no surprise that having a dedicated nonprofit CRM solution can help organizations achieve their goals. In fact, over 40,000 nonprofit institutions use Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud today.

No matter the charitable cause, the underlying goal of every nonprofit is to help as many individuals as possible. To achieve this, a good foundation for running your organization is key. Read on to find out how Salesforce can transform your nonprofit workflows, create new efficiencies, and let you do much more with what you have.

Automate Processes and Save Time

Every nonprofit organization has the same underlying goal of helping as many individuals as possible. But — they also suffer from the same underlying challenges: too little time and too few resources. Many for-profit organizations may feel they face those issues too. But the hard truth is, nonprofits are hit especially hard. They tend to rely on volunteers and donations, both of which can be unpredictable.

To mitigate these variables, nonprofit organizations can improve front and back-office operations to ensure certain tasks always happen, such as regularly checking in with donors via an email marketing campaign, informing volunteers of changes to a scheduled event, or automatically sending a new donor a welcome email to ensure future engagement with your organization. Salesforce is a fantastic tool for automation, and it can automate many processes with clicks, not code.

A large Salesforce Nonprofit customer, the American Red Cross, found that by using Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud, they’ve been able to better connect to their donors, volunteers, and partners in new ways. They also improve the on-boarding experience for volunteers — something that can truly make the difference between life and death in crisis situations.

1-1-1 Philanthropic Model

It will come as no surprise that as a large organization, Salesforce has developed a way to give back to the community. Salesforce employs a 1-1-1 model, meaning they pledge to give 1% of their time, product and resources to support philanthropic causes.

In real terms, Salesforce will give a nonprofit organization ten free Salesforce Enterprise licenses, and deep discounts on any additional licenses required. The Power of Us program also gives Salesforce nonprofit customers access to free services to help you set up and configure Salesforce.

Salesforce not only employs this philanthropic model themselves, but they ask all their partners to adopt it too. This means there are thousands of vendors and partners in the Salesforce ecosystem that are willing to donate their time, products, and resources to help nonprofits achieve their goals.

Always Up to Date

As a multi-tenant solution, Salesforce nonprofit customers will always have the latest version of Salesforce. Salesforce releases updates three times per year, each packed with new and useful features. The vast majority of features released will also be available using clicks, not code. That means you can start taking advantage of the best features right away, with a small amount of work.

How Does Salesforce Compare to Other Nonprofit CRM Solutions?

Despite all the information already mentioned, you might be asking yourself, is Salsforce the best CRM for non profit businesses? There are many reasons to choose Salesforce for your nonprofit organization. However, you may feel overwhelmed by the possibilities offered by the Salesforce platform.

Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud vs Dedicated Solutions

There are other tools on the market that focus specifically on the nonprofit space. These solutions are specially designed with nonprofits in mind. While this might sound appealing, it’s important to consider the flexibility of these tools, and the ability to customize them to fit your organization’s needs. Salesforce is endlessly customizable, while tools with a smaller customer base often lack its flexibility.

Some organizations spend resources building their own custom tools, but over time these tools become outdated, and can be clunky and expensive to update. Charity:water is one such organization suffering from an outdated, home-grown tool. They experienced remarkable results after choosing Salesforce as their nonprofit CRM.

Where Salesforce Shines for Nonprofits

Salesforce offers pre-configured solutions specifically tailored to nonprofits, such as the Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud and the Nonprofit Success Pack.

In addition to these tailored solutions, Salesforce is highly configurable to meet your specific needs as an organization. There are thousands of resources in the Salesforce ecosystem that are ready to help you achieve success.

Salesforce Offers Comprehensive Training Materials

Salesforce also has extensive training materials available for free through Trailhead. Any volunteer or staff member in your organization can learn Salesforce for free. This means you could have your very own Salesforce expert in-house, ready to help with any issue or question.

A Huge User Base Means Constant Improvement

It’s also worth noting that as a multi-billion dollar organization, Salesforce has the resources to continuously innovate and is unlikely to have significant downtime. That makes choosing Salesforce as your nonprofit CRM a good long-term investment. Salesforce is also extremely secure, which means you won’t have to worry about putting your valuable and sensitive data at risk.


What is Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud?

Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud is a set of pre-built solutions tailored to the needs of nonprofit organizations. Salesforce has worked to understand the needs of all their nonprofit CRM customers. Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud offers solutions for fundraising, gathering insights, marketing, and more.

What are the Best Salesforce Tools for Nonprofits?

Salesforce has numerous tools for nonprofits to take advantage of. Let’s dive deeper into a few of them.

Sales Cloud

Sales Cloud is the hallmark of Salesforce. It contains your Leads, Accounts, Contacts, Opportunities and other key details. It’s the foundation of most Salesforce implementations. Salesforce nonprofit customers can access all these features, and customize them to their own needs. You can use them to track donors (Leads/Contacts), ongoing relationships with partners (Accounts), and fundraising opportunities.

College Forward, a nonprofit in the education sector based in Texas, calls Sales Cloud is the backbone of their organization. They use Salesforce to track milestones for each and every student, which can add up to over 1,000 data points in a student’s lifetime.

Marketing Cloud

Marketing Cloud makes it easy to engage with donors and partners through automated, but personalized email campaigns. Using Salesforce data from Leads, Accounts, and Contacts, you can send out targeted email campaigns to increase engagement from donors and partners.

Reports & Dashboards

Salesforce Nonprofit cloud makes it easy for customers to use data to drive their decision making and planning across the organization. Salesforce reports and dashboards are robust. You can create customized versions in minutes.

Habitat for Humanity in San Francisco relies heavily on the data coming from Salesforce to ensure they’re spending their valuable resources in the right places. Having their data in a single system like Salesforce makes it easy to aggregate and analyze the data.


Quip is a cloud-based collaboration tool that can be embedded into Salesforce. (Think Google Docs but in Salesforce.) Nonprofit organizations can use Quip to collaborate, no matter where they are in the world. Quip documents have inherent tracking, so you can see who made a change and when. That’s useful if you have multiple users or volunteers who may not all be working at the same time.

How Can Accounting Seed Help Nonprofits?

Accounting Seed is a fully native Salesforce solution available on the Salesforce AppExchange that improves the way a non-profit or business in any industry manages their accounting processes like paying vendors, and assessing financial data with reports and dashboards.. Since it’s a Salesforce native application, your back office processes can run as smoothly as your front office ones. There is no need to integrate after the fact or manually transfer data from one system to another.

Schedule a demo with Accounting Seed today to see how you can transform your back office operations today!

For more resourceful accounting and Salesforce information for improving your business, read on:

Why Choose Salesforce for a Nonprofit?

Like any organization spending and receiving money on a regular basis, Salesforce can automate processes across the board for your nonprofit, and keep pertinent data stored in simple, easy-to-navigate modules to save time and help make decisions.

With Salesforce accounting software, all of the money being funneled in and out will be automatically added to the general ledger, payments to vendors can be made with ease, and more!

Why You Might Not Choose Salesforce For Your Nonprofit CRM Solution

We’ve discussed why Salesforce is a good choice as a nonprofit CRM solution, but are there any downsides? Depending on your organization, there could be some potential things to think about before signing up with Salesforce.

Although Salesforce is highly configurable with clicks, not code, you’ll still need a Salesforce certified professional to do this work for you to achieve optimum results. Failing that, you’ll need to have a full-time employee upskill themselves on the platform. This can take a substantial amount of resources away from your organization, so it’s best to understand how you’ll manage a tool like Salesforce on an ongoing basis.

A native Salesforce accounting app, Accounting Seed, provides a full 360-degree view of your business’ performance to help you and your team make the best decisions possible. Not on Salesforce? Our software can be customized to work with any system you have through a reliable connection.

See Accounting Seed in action

Get a close-up view of how accounting on Salesforce can eliminate the need for costly integrations—and silos of mismatched information—by sharing the same database as your CRM.

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