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Best Practices for Higher Ed Advancement on HEDA

By June 6, 2017

By: Kestryl Lowrey and Eric McCune of Cloud for Good, a Salesforce.Org Premium Partner

Today, having a best-in-class advancement solution on campus is not a luxury – it’s a necessity. As more colleges and universities compete for their constituents’ attention and time, they are looking for a tool that will help them engage with their donors and alumni more effectively, help them raise more funds, and ultimately, provide education through scholarships and other programs to those who need them most.

Salesforce has long been the world’s best CRM, but did you know that one of the world’s most innovative companies also provides your campus with a fantastic way to build personalized relationships with alumni and boost your advancement efforts? It all starts with the Higher Education Data Architecture, or HEDA for short.

HEDA provides a baseline architecture for your college or university on Salesforce, with the ability to manage students, along with their program enrollments, course details, and departmental affiliations. This framework allows you to get started on the platform with the flexibility to further customize your Salesforce instance to suit your college’s specific needs. Because HEDA is intended to be a data architecture and not a comprehensive product, it puts the power in the hands of colleges and universities (and implementation partners like Cloud for Good) to achieve the perfect advancement solution that is tailored to their unique needs and processes.

Salesforce for Higher Ed powered by HEDA

If this diagram makes your head spin, don’t worry. The most important thing to realize is that using HEDA as the foundation for your advancement solution will allow you to break down silos on campus and gain a 360-degree view of your constituents. Want to integrate with your student information system (SIS), like Banner? No problem. On HEDA, you will be able to see which courses they took on campus, which clubs and/or associations they participated in, which sports they played, and so on. Imagine the segmentation possibilities for your email campaigns, or annual fund appeals! This is just one example of how building your advancement solution on HEDA will allow you to better-engage your constituents across campus, and around the world.

As we mentioned earlier, HEDA does not provide an out-of-the-box advancement product, like so many of us in higher education are used to seeing. Instead, with a little bit of customization and integration with solutions from Salesforce’s AppExchange, it allows you to build a powerful solution that meets your unique needs. Here are some of the Cloud for Good’s Higher Education consulting team’s advancement best practices for HEDA:

Keep it Native

When considering advancement on HEDA, take advantage of standard objects and architecture that are native to the Salesforce platform. For instance, rather than building custom objects for your donations, use the standard Opportunities object. With some customization, it can meet the needs of even the most complex advancement departments, allowing you to track major, annual, planned gifts and grants.

Manage Your Moves

HEDA is already built on the Lightning Experience – so be sure to take advantage of the Sales Path feature for mapping out your moves management process. This can help guide your advancement officers from prospect to pledge, and ensure that they are keeping current donors engaged with the latest updates from campus.

AI for All

Did you know that your fundraising processes in HEDA can leverage Einstein, Salesforce’s Artificial Intelligence tool? The Lightning Assistant appears on your home page and can learn what key indicators your gift officers need to look out for to ensure no gift, or opportunity, falls through the cracks.

Everyone is Connected

Relationships and Affiliations, which come standard in HEDA, should be leveraged to manage donor and alumni relationships and connections. This could include board membership, employer for tracking matching gifts and family/legacy giving.

Make it Mobile

Let’s be honest – nobody spends their day sitting at the office computer anymore. With Salesforce1, the platform’s mobile app, your advancement staff can leverage the functionality of Salesforce1 on mobile phones and tablets. This allows your gift officers to review donor profiles and giving history on the go, while keeping track of upcoming tasks, meetings, and key events.

Find a Partner

One of the key differentiators of Salesforce is the community and partner ecosystem. Partners give you the ability to fully customize your HEDA advancement solution – through integrated applications and other implementation services. Some applications that we frequently see in advancement implementations include Conga, Classy, Eventbrite, Click and Pledge, WealthEngine, and RelSci. Other partners specifically target advancement use cases, such as the Cloud for Good Advancement Package, which includes user-friendly badges, interests, and more fundraising tools that can be adjusted to meet your needs.

Choosing the right advancement solution for your campus is a big decision. Salesforce now offers an incredible foundation for your fundraising needs through HEDA. With a few customizations and integrations, your team will be spending less time clicking through various screens on a legacy system, and more time doing what they do best – engaging donors, alumni and friends.

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About the Authors
Kestryl Lowrey is a Solutions Architect at Cloud for Good with years of experience working with arts, social justice, and education nonprofits. He deeply believes in using technology to support and drive social change.

Eric McCune is an Account Executive at Cloud for Good with a focus on higher education institutions. His background in student recruiting, alumni engagement and annual giving helps him understand the unique needs of large, and often complex institutions.