by Jordan Baskett

At roundCorner, I work with customers who wake up everyday to make the world a better place. Thanks to this opportunity, I have helped nonprofits leverage technology to better understand the ecosystem of people connected directly to their organization and to their constituents.

Historically, people thought of connecting with constituents as a centralized activity orchestrated by a nonprofit’s internal resources and tools. However, with the advent of social and mobile platforms, I’ve been excited to see organizations embrace new techniques. These techniques tap into the decentralized constituent engagement that has always been the true source of their supporters’ experience. Some of the most successful nonprofits are stewarding conversations around their causes through CRM and fundraising enabled communities.  

You may say, “Salesforce Communities? Really, Jordan? Why are you telling us this now?” Well, as Salesforce’s Community Cloud has matured, I have seen two things fundamentally change with the product that is resonating with our nonprofit customers.

Why Communities Now?

1. Better Licensing Options

Instead of paying a yearly fee for every possible constituent user, you can now pay for average monthly logins. This provides you with a predictable cost and flexible use model–the best of both worlds.   

2. The New Community Builder Format

Previously, Communities seemed more like “Salesforce Lite” for customers with limited UI and branding management. Customers would look at the bottom line of creating a portal, but after adding in integration, security setup, and maintenance of the 3rd party portal, the effort became more costly than originally thought. Now, you are able to integrate Communities seamlessly into your existing online presence with the same look and feel. This reduced integration cost has piqued the interest of many nonprofits.


“Okay, so now I have a Community. What am I going to achieve?”

1. Always Collect the Best Data

When I worked in online advertising, we used to always say, “The best data is user generated data.” This works in many different ways. First, you must know how your constituents prefer to receive contact.  One of the best ways customers manage this data is through self-administration, or enabling customers to log into a system and update this information themselves. Ultimately, this reduces data cleansing concerns and allows you to accomplish more with less effort.

To take this a step further, you can enable Social Sign On to let constituents log into your community through Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. As a result, you can understand more about potential marketing channels that may not be current focus points.


2. It’s More Than Just a Message Board

In contrast with LinkedIn or Facebook, Salesforce Communities are organization-specific, digital meeting places for various roles within an org’s network of engagement. Employees, partners, and constituents alike can connect to share ideas and work more efficiently. In addition, Communities retain the conversations for newcomers to join into–delivering a valuable learning resource for new members.

3. Event and Volunteer Management

Organizations we work with have started using Communities as a resource for user-generated events. Our customers are empowering members to fully plan and manage events within the Community. Event organizers and volunteer managers can now crowdsource strategies nationally in real time. As a result, smaller events like locally run fundraisers can leverage larger national best practices in fundraising, engagement, volunteer management and stewardship.  

Using pre-generated donation and marketing templates, orgs cut down on local liability. This also helps nonprofits maintain attendee and donation data that may have been lost without a Community to facilitate it. Furthermore, the Community format keeps this data in one place, so local event organizers and attendees can understand–and share–their impact immediately.

Learn More About Communities

To learn more about how your nonprofit can benefit from a constituent community based on Salesforce’s Community Cloud, contact us.

Jordan Baskett is a Principal Consultant and Support Services Lead for NGO Connect and Advancement Connect. With over 5 years of consulting experience, Jordan helps organizations build and nurture life-long relationships with their constituents.

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