Donor Databases–What I’ve Learned, Part 1

I’ve worked with many, many nonprofits over the years, as a volunteer and as a staff member. Every single one of those organizations–without exception–was looking for the best way to keep track of their donors, volunteers, vendors, prospects, and documents.

At the risk of making this post sound as though I’m advertising, I want to talk about the magic that is Salesforce. It may not be the answer for a fully-staffed development office, but for my world, which is that of the small nonprofit always looking to maximize resources, it’s, literally, a gift.

The Salesforce Foundation‘s philanthropic model famously gives away to nonprofits1% of its product, 1% of its staff time, and 1% of its equity. Ten free licenses and all kinds of support are available FREE to any qualified nonprofit. Because their business model is primarily oriented toward for-profits, Salesforce doesn’t have to rely on nonprofits to make its money, as do companies like Blackbaud, DonorPerfect, and DonorSnap, all of whom charge monthly access fees. That can add up.

Salesforce is cloud-based, which means all the software as well as the data is virtually based (and backed up). No worries about losing the data.

Used in concert with add-on applications that are integrated seamlessly into Salesforce, the enterprising nonprofit can track donations and volunteer hours, create a central repository for digital files of all kinds, manage events, send mass emails, accept credit card payments–manage virtually all of its operations–absolutely for free, once the system is implemented. What could be better?

More about my thoughts and experiences in Part 2.