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As we head into the year-end giving season, nonprofits must ensure their technology is ready to handle the influx of holiday and Giving Tuesday donations. For this end-of-the-year season, keep an eye on your technology and ensure it meets your organization’s fundraising and management needs. If not, the start of the new year is the perfect time to invest in a new CRM like Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud.

Nonprofit Cloud is now Salesforce’s main CRM system for nonprofits. While their former platform, Salesforce Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP), is still supported, nonprofits using NPSP should consider exploring the advantages of Nonprofit Cloud to make the switch potentially. 

To help your nonprofit determine if now is the time to upgrade to Nonprofit Cloud, this guide will give an overview of this powerful platform before walking through three signs your organization needs a CRM like Nonprofit Cloud. 

What is Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud?

Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud is a cloud-based CRM designed for nonprofits. It equips nonprofits with features they need to fulfill their missions, including:

  • Program management tools. Nonprofit Cloud equips organizations with case management capabilities, allowing teams to track program participants, collect data, and deliver services. Salesforce has additional plans to add fundraising features to Nonprofit Cloud this winter. 
  • Dependable security. Salesforce’s cloud-based system ensures all of your data is updated in real time and accessible for your team without sacrificing security. This is essential for nonprofits with programs that collect potentially sensitive information from their attendees, like medical records. Even for nonprofits without this concern, keeping donor financial and contact information secure is essential. 
  • Customizability. One major benefit Nonprofit Cloud has over NPSP is its extensive adaptability. To expand your Salesforce suite, nonprofits can simply add additional Salesforce Clouds. For instance, nonprofit Salesforce consultant Fíonta recommends Salesforce Experience Cloud for associations and nonprofits. Experience Cloud allows nonprofits to build online spaces connected to their CRM, creating sites where donors can connect with one another and have their data successfully captured and managed by your nonprofit. 

For nonprofits using Salesforce NPSP, the main practical difference between the two systems is that Nonprofit Cloud can more easily integrate with other Salesforce clouds. This is especially useful for nonprofits that need specialized reporting and management tools, like those offered through Financial Services Cloud, Health Cloud, and Manufacturing Cloud. 

3 Signs You Need Nonprofit Cloud

Salesforce still supports NPSP, and switching to Nonprofit Cloud will likely benefit some organizations more than others. Or, maybe you have previously used a different CRM provider’s platform and are considering an upgrade. 

Assess your current technology, and determine if any of the following criteria describe your nonprofit:

1. You are outgrowing your current software.

As your nonprofit expands, you may notice your goals for your programs, fundraising events, and marketing campaigns exceed your software’s current capabilities. This might involve hitting the monthly email limit on your communication platform or needing additional login seats on your event platform to account for all of your team members. 

One of the first areas where you are likely to notice if your technology needs to scale more effectively is data collection and management. NPOInfo’s guide to donor data management advises assessing CRMs based on: 

  • How many records can be created. CRMs for smaller and growing organizations often have a cap on how many profiles for supporters can be created. Nonprofit Cloud provides access to a cloud storage system, enabling users to add records continually. 
  • How many user seats are available at a time. Limited logins can impact how well your team can collaborate, work on projects, and ultimately use your CRM simultaneously. Salesforce for Nonprofits provides charitable organizations with 10 free subscriptions to Salesforce with the option to always add more. 
  • If it has integration capabilities. Scalable software is adaptable software. As nonprofits grow, many organizations reach a point where CRMs with out-of-the-box features are less effective than CRMs like Nonprofit Cloud that allow for custom development and integrations with specialized software. 

If your nonprofit is experiencing scalability issues but is not ready to make the leap to Nonprofit Cloud, Salesforce NPSP can be a practical intermediate step, even if it is no longer Salesforce’s primary system for nonprofits.

2. You need a greater level of customization.

One of Salesforce’s most significant assets is its high levels of customizability. Nonprofits using Salesforce have access to the initial set of tools provided by Nonprofit Cloud but can continuously expand their CRM’s features with new apps and integrations. 

A few specific ways Nonprofit Cloud allows organizations to customize it include:

  • Additional Salesforce clouds. Salesforce’s array of software clouds allows organizations to add new functionalities and suites of tools to their CRM instance. For example, many nonprofits will likely be interested in Salesforce Marketing Cloud to expand their communication with donors. 
  • Greater flexibility. Nonprofit Cloud allows users to customize their Salesforce instance and create unique workflow processes for their organization, which can be useful for nonprofits with multiple locations. Each location may need separate CRM instances to manage local projects and the option to tap into the wider network’s data. Or, you may need more robust analytics tools that allow you to create custom reports that take data from multiple fundraising and program management platforms into account. 
  • Hundreds of integrations. Nonprofits using NPSP already know that Salesforce has an extensive array of integrations. Having multiple disconnected software platforms is a common sign switching to Salesforce is the right move. 

While adding some Salesforce apps may be simple, nonprofits interested in developing or making significant changes to their system will need to work with a Salesforce partner. Salesforce partners are consultants approved by Salesforce, meaning you can trust their ability to add expertise and professionalism to your nonprofit’s technology projects. 

3. You need a more connected solution. 

Salesforce brings all of your nonprofit’s technology together into one integrated solution,  eliminating data siloes, making your organization more efficient, and ensuring no critical information goes overlooked. 

For example, after implementing your new Nonprofit Cloud CRM, you might download the free Volunteers for Salesforce app to view your volunteer and case management tools in the same system. By bringing this data together, you can more accurately plan volunteer shifts based on when your case management data indicates your need is greatest. 

Salesforce is ultimately an investment, so ensure your nonprofit has a purpose and plan for your new CRM system. The transition will involve planning your CRM implementation process, looking into training options, and working with a managed services partner. However, through this investment, your organization will access a powerful CRM designed to grow and adapt alongside your nonprofit. 

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