In my previous post, I started to open up what I am actually working on over here. Based on the initial feedback from probably my most devoted readers, my parents, I still have quite some work to do to demystify it. This time I will continue by sharing more about the CRM tool selected by the American Red Cross, Salesforce. Some of you may have come across Salesforce earlier this year when it topped the list of The World’s Most Innovative Companies by Forbes. Salesforce has an impressive list of public references, mainly corporate clients but also a few nonprofit users, including Kiva and us.
Salesforce is an internet-based service that allows logging in to the CRM tool through a web browser, on any device with internet access, without installing anything. At the Red Cross, the goal is that after Salesforce is deployed in the fundraising context, it will give fundraisers a complete picture of their donors, including contact information, preferences, affiliations, and activity history. This data can then be used by both front-line fundraisers and leadership to manage relationships with donors. In addition to managing the donor portfolio, other key areas of functionality are planning fundraising activities as well as solicitation strategies, and tracking asks and gifts. Additionally, the tool supports managing fundraising performance and reporting history data.
Due to the performance management dimension of Salesforce and the increased transparency to fundraising activities, some users have started to refer to Salesforce with the nick name “Big Brother” tool. Like the saying goes, a beloved child has many names. If you ask me, though, this is a somewhat unfair interpretation of the situation. The tool provides numerous benefits for all the stakeholder groups, not only for the leadership:
- Donors will receive more relevant communication with tailored content through the most convenient contact methods and at the right time. Systematically using Salesforce will enable a more coordinated American Red Cross interface towards donors building on prior interactions.
- For fundraisers, the tool is a practical way to manage their donor portfolio, stay on top of fundraising activities, and have a holistic view on asks and gifts. It will support a streamlined way of working, improved internal collaboration and efficient virtual account teams. For example, taking over accounts and acting as a deputy during becomes easier when information on the donors is stored comprehensively and securely. Finally, enhanced prospect identification through analysis that builds on Salesforce data is another arising opportunity towards better fundraising results.
- Finally, leadership will get more accurate, meaningful and actionable reporting that helps them to focus on the right things and support the fundraisers in the best possible way. More realistic projections of expected revenue will support financial planning.
As a reward for bearing with me to the end of the post, here’s a photo that hopefully will bring a smile to your face. This fellow was hanging out at the access badge reader one morning, to welcome me back to continue my journey in the world of fundraising, I guess.