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Fundraising and Programs: Friends across the Aisle with Salesforce

By December 9, 2014

Different teams no longer mean different systems. This may sound scary to your program and development teams, but many organizations are finding how Salesforce can solve the needs of all parts of their organizations. The recently hosted a webinar featuring two clients, The Cara Program and Springboard Collaborative, discussing how they manage their programs on Salesforce and deliver more impact.

Listen to a recording of the webinar.

Benefits of Togetherness

In the past, fundraising and program management have found little overlap in technology. Systems tailored to development, that captured donors while managing communications and campaigns, didn’t provide the tools for program teams to track clients and the results of programs. For example, The Cara Program and Springboard Collaborative have brought their fundraising and program teams together into one Salesforce system.

An innovative social services agency in Chicago, the Cara Program seeks to address poverty and homelessness through workforce development programs and cooperation with more than 100 community organizations. Springboard Collaborative is addressing “the summer slide” and the reading achievement gap through summer programs in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Camden, New Jersey.

Organizations, like these, have already found benefits from integrating donor and program management systems, including:

  • Data Sharing: Development is always looking for better ways to convey their impact to funders so that they can raise more funds. With access to program data, fundraising and program staff can better work together to tell their story.
  • Efficient Use of IT Resources: Some of the same tools can help development and program staff get their work done – why should only one group have access to these tools? Or worse, why have two pieces of software that do the same thing? Mass communication and custom reporting capabilities are just two examples.
  • 360-Degree View of Constituents: We speak to organizations, more often than you would think, for whom program participants later become donors. Once organizations put all their contacts in one database, they frequently find more overlap and opportunities for engagement between the different types of constituents than they had imagined.
  • Collaboration: When staff has to use the same systems, they learn about what’s important for each other and find out more about their colleagues’ responsibilities. A side benefit to sharing tools can be better cooperation across your organization.

Adding Program Management to your Salesforce Solution

Many nonprofits first implement fundraising on Salesforce, and then consider program management functionality. On the other hand, Springboard Collaborative started by building a student data management system in Salesforce. No matter what comes first, we’ve discovered a few key best practices for program management on Salesforce:

  • Align System Goals with Mission Objectives. Program management is often also called “mission management,” because it consists of the core services that help nonprofits achieve their missions. Any program management solution should be designed to deliver the appropriate data to inform the results and goals of an organization’s mission.
  • Map Out Data and Processes. Identify all of the program management processes and outline each process step-by-step. Determine all of those involved and what data is collected. This will be the foundation for the system’s workflow.
  • Determine Project Team Members and Power Users. Organizations often have multiple programs, and these programs may have different system needs. Given that, organizations need to make sure that they have the right stakeholders involved in their implementation.
  • Build Iteratively. A benefit of the Salesforce platform is the ability to build out a system over time. We often recommend clients implement one or a set of programs and roll out that system internally first. This initial “pilot” can help glean quite a bit of information and identify improvements for subsequent program roll-outs.

As the Salesforce1 for Nonprofits framework describes, a Salesforce system can help organizations deliver better programs and services. Given the diversity of programs in the nonprofit sector, Salesforce solutions for program management can vary quite a bit, and it’s helpful to see how other organizations have tackled this challenge.

See two examples of program management systems on the Salesforce platform in a recent webinar:

Watch the Webinar

About the Author

Tucker MacLean

Tucker MacLean, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Exponent Partners, recognized the power of cloud computing to support organizations of all shapes and sizes while working at Salesforce® in the early 2000s. In 2006, he shifted his focus from commercial clients to support by developing and managing the first dedicated Nonprofit Sales team at Salesforce. He also helped create’s nonprofit discount program. Tucker joined the Exponent Partners’ team this year and is excited about working with organizations to build Salesforce solutions to track results, build capacity, improve reporting, further missions, and increase impact. Exclusively focused on the nonprofit sector, Exponent Partners specializes in solutions on the Salesforce platform that manage fundraising, student data, social services client cases, program data and organizational outcomes.