There are a lot of CRM systems out there. And a lot of management systems. So why Salesforce? Of all the many options, why do we recommend this system in particular?
There are myriad reasons why, but I’m going to focus on some of the most important.
- Salesforce is used by some of the biggest brands in the world and is itself the 6th largest software company and #1 cloud computing company. If you go with a custom database or a smaller system, what happens when the person who built that database leaves your organisation? What happens if the company and all of the consultants who knew how to work it, go out of business? With Salesforce, that’s pretty unlikely.
- Economic Change CIC is a consultancy – that’s how we make our living. But we’re also a social enterprise. We work with the third sector and have a social mission ourselves, so we don’t want to encourage a relationship based on endless dependency and ever-stretching budgets, or for you to come to us every time you have a small tweak to make. We want you to understand and own your Salesforce system, so you can run with it to maximize your social impact – because that in turn, maximizes ours. The good news is, Salesforce is one of the most intuitive systems to use and there are a ton of free resources available to help you learn. And as part of every project, we will build your capacity and teach you how to maintain your system.
3. Partners. A few points here…
- Salesforce donates its system and 10 free licenses to non-profits, but it doesn’t help you implement it. So there are a LOT of partners and a host of consultancies – from boutique social enterprises like us to big corporates. That’s great for you as a consumer, because if you aren’t getting the results you want, you can shop around.
- There are also third party apps for just about everything you could ever want – from Mailchimp integrations to survey software to project management tools. And most of them offer non-profit discounts, if not offer the product for free.
- Lots of partners also means there are a lot of people who know and understand the system. So if you need to hire someone to manage your database – you’re in luck. Because really, who wants to spend months training someone to understand and run your custom built proprietary database? With Salesforce there are literally thousands of people who know the system and understand how it works. Even if you’ve added loads of custom objects and fields, the relationships are the same and any Salesforce admin worth their salt will be able to pick it up and run with it with relative ease.
- Skills based volunteering. Much to the frustration of corporate fundraisers (!) skills based volunteering is one of the most important trends in corporate giving. So if you just want some on-going tweaks, you can probably ask around your corporate partners and find someone, somewhere who could do it for you, for free. And working with you on a skills-based project will make the partner who helped you really feel a part of your organisation – which can only help when you’re making those fundraising asks further down the line!
Again, there are a million reasons I would recommend choosing Salesforce. These are just a few practical points relating to the sustainability of your management system and organisation. Ultimately, you’ve got to choose what works for you. Salesforce ISN’T right for everyone. But if you’re wondering if it’s right for you, get in touch. We can help you decide.