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12 Questions to Ask in Planning Nonprofit Technology Strategy

By Jarrett O'Brien January 29, 2018

It’s the beginning of 2018, and the perfect time to start thinking about investments and shifts to make to your nonprofit technology strategy. Why? Last year 89% of nonprofits said technology, and specifically Salesforce, made a direct impact on their ability to achieve their mission*. However, NTEN research shows that 55% of nonprofits still don’t have a consistent way of evaluating software, and many still put technology right next to disposable office supplies in their budget. Check out our last webinar with NTEN, Do More Good with the Right Technology.

Nonprofit technology strategyIn talking to hundreds of small and midsize nonprofits, we’ve heard your questions and challenges. We realize that you may not have a full-time techie on staff or the budgets of larger organizations. You don’t have time to scour the the web every day looking for the latest innovations in nonprofit technology.

Multiple disconnected systems and data sources across your teams creates duplicate work, bad data, and glass ceilings over your mission’s impact. Which is why each year, more nonprofits are choosing Salesforce for one platform, one digital home for their mission, across all departments.


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At the same time, technology is mission-critical in helping you scale your impact, as we hear time and time again from people across different roles at emerging nonprofits, like the quotes below.

Adrian Tirtinadi, Executive Director, Open Door Legal Cristin O’Leary Jones, Development Director, Camp Kesem Jonathan Wiener, Sr. Director of Digital, Reclaim New York Michelle Brown, Executive Director, Commonlit
Adrian Tirtinadi, Executive Director, Open Door Legal Cristin O’Leary Jones, Development Director, Camp Kesem Jonathan Wiener, Sr. Director of Digital, Reclaim New York Michelle Brown, Executive Director, Commonlit
“Starting a nonprofit, the question was what do we use? We needed a system that could manage almost infinite complexity and scale. Starting with no money, there really was only one option that could work for us.” “Our previous system was strictly a donations processing database…overall we found the technology was really outdated and fragmented..there also wasn’t anything to bring all our systems together.” “We understood from an early point in our organization’s building process that we would need a dynamic, large-scale CRM capable of tracking all of our interactions with 19 million citizens” “We realized that there was so much we could do to engage teachers…It took us a really long time to land on the right technology. We needed something that was completely customizable.”


To get you started we’ve put together some questions to consider across roles for your nonprofit technology strategy for 2018.

For Executive Directors and those measuring impact

    1. 1. Does the technology help all teams be productive, and allow you to reporting across functions?


    1. 2. Is it easy to get a high level summary of activities, and insight on where to improve?


    3. Are reports and dashboards customizable, but also accessible in a board meeting on your phone?

For Fundraisers and Development Officers

    1. 1. Can you have one view of your constituents donations and volunteer hours, along with marketing engagement?


    1. 2. Does your platform make it easy to focus on the right donors based on relationships not just transactions?


    3. Can you collaboratively move your major donors forward, and automate communications?

For Nonprofit Marketers and Communication Teams

    1. 1. Is it easy for you to personalize a message, almost as well as you could do in person?


    1. 2. Can you engage and automate communications with thousands of people at scale?


    3. Does your platform make it easy to connect with supporters via email, social media, and your website?

For Nonprofit Program Managers and Staff

    1. 1. Can you collaborate around programs and automate services you provide?


    1. 2. Can you share the impact of your programs with the development/fundraising team?


    3. Is it easy to have the most up-to-date data across your staff, to have a 360 degree view of your clients?

We’ve listened to our smaller nonprofits and put together a set of technologies and resources in one solution. Check out Mission Launch to help you move your mission forward – even if you don’t have a full time techie on your staff. It includes the most-important components of the broader Salesforce platform for an emerging nonprofit, so you can get up and running faster, at lower cost, so they can do more good.

What is Mission Launch exactly? In a nutshell, there are 3 core elements:

  • Manage your mission, with one place to store all of your data with the Nonprofit Success Pack and Quip to collaborate.
  • Grow your mission and engage smarter with advocates with Salesforce Pardot and ways to better manage relationships.
  • Measure your mission with easy-to-use analytics (over 60 sample reports) and dashboards.

To help you be successful, we also have included community-powered training, Premier success, and are working with partners to streamline implementations. We’re excited to have some new customers who are now using all this technology and already seeing amazing results.

We wish you the best of luck with your strategy this year and as always are here to help you on your journey!


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