4 Best Practices for Nonprofits Using Salesforce

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Here are some best practices for nonprofits using Salesforce. Help is just a click away!

1. Become involved in a Salesforce Community online or in person. There are a number of communities online that offer free help and support for nonprofits utilizing Salesforce. Some of my most utilized are:

Salesforce Success Community (https://success.salesforce.com)

The Success Community has several components, among the most helpful:

  • Answers: This tab has answers to commonly asked questions around Salesforce functionality and how to do various things.  Hint: If you google a Salesforce question, you almost without fail return an answer that is helpful. Those results are generally in the Salesforce Success Community Answers.
  • Help and Training: This is where you can contact support, find out about new releases, and take online training videos (many free!) surrounding Salesforce functions and best uses!
  • Ideas: If Salesforce doesn’t do it yet, you can bet there’s an idea submitted about that function! If you find your suggestion for improvement in the Ideas section, make sure to vote it up so Salesforce makes the change!
  • User Groups (under “More”):  User Groups are a great resource for getting your questions answered and finding solutions to your problems. I highly recommend that everyone become part of the User Group in your area. They have nonprofit user groups as well as developer UGs and Admin UGs

Power of Us Hub (powerofus.salesforcefoundation.org/publogin)

Using your regular Salesforce login, you can get into the Power of US Hub. This community is much like the Salesforce Success Community, except that it is specific to nonprofit Salesforce users. It has questions and groups like the other community, as well as helpful resources specific to NPOs.

2. Train your staff to use the things they need. If your staff member is running reports, they should watch a report building training video, or join one of the many free Salesforce webinars covering common uses of Salesforce produced for the community. If they are needing to primarily use Campaigns, check out a video or read best practices white papers in the Success Community about campaign usage. If the information is being kept in Salesforce, staff should not be permitted to keep it elsewhere – ie, keeping their contacts separately on an excel spreadsheet.

3. Map your processes and come up with standardized practices surrounding the entry of information. Where is information being duplicated? How many people are touching the same data and putting it into different places? How does a member’s life cycle at your organization look on paper? Reduce the number of touches each person’s data has – i.e., Contact information should be entered directly on the Contact record, rather than in Outlook address books and/or excel and/or paper and/or Access. If the constituent NEEDS to live in 2 places, (ie – accounting for payroll information AND Salesforce for membership information) that can be acceptable, but it’s in your best interest to reduce the number of places to as few as possible.

4. Address User Adoption. Why aren’t people using Salesforce? There are a number of ways to get people logged into Salesforce and using the system. One good way is through the use of Chatter, a collaborative tool that will allow you to communicate electronically with all of the staff in your organization, and have organic conversations around donors, members, constituents, opportunities, or any other items you’re tracking in Salesforce. There are user adoption dashboards available for download in the AppExchange as well. Once people are working in the system, it comes alive. People begin to trust the data, and people begin to find that they have built a 360 degree view of your constituents by collaboration and smart processes.

 

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