How to Choose an Advancement Software for Salesforce
By Doron Barbalat, Marketing Manager, Causeview
The Salesforce.org Education Data Architecture (EDA) is an exceptional platform that gives schools the foundation for the Connected Campus. It offers education institutions access to the world’s leading CRM with a data model that reflects core campus activities from a single, centralized record.
With thousands of tools available on the Salesforce AppExchange, EDA also allows you to create your school’s perfect suite of integrated tools. This can range from small add-ons that serve a specific purpose to complete packages that address the needs of entire teams.
In this article, we focus on the advancement and alumni relations department. We’ll explore what key features to look for when choosing advancement software for the Salesforce.org Education Cloud platform.
1. It easily integrates with other campus tools
Advancement and alumni relations are at their strongest when they can incorporate as many student and alumni insights as possible. Before having a call or meeting with a potential alumni donor, it’s important to quickly see what program they enrolled in, degree they completed, and clubs they participated in. Before launching a new campaign, it’s helpful to segment your supporters based on as much information as possible, dating back to their initial application to your school.
To get the most out of Education Cloud, an advancement solution should fit the established EDA data model. This will make it as easy to pie to integrate with other Salesforce applications and connectors, including school recruiting, student services, and donor intelligence tools.
Tied together by the EDA data model, you’ll be able to see a 360-degree view of your supporters that lets you trust the information at the center of your advancement operations.
2. It seamlessly processes all types of donations
The primary goal of your school’s advancement department is to further your school’s major initiatives through fundraising and development. That means that when a supporter is ready to contribute a financial gift, you should be confident in processing and managing it with ease.
First and foremost, the gift processing capabilities in your EDA-based advancement software should be robust and donor-centric. You should be able to process gifts however supporters wish to make them. That includes accepting one-time or monthly donations online or capturing offline gifts on a donor’s record. For credit card and ACH payments, there should be a proven integration between your payment gateway and your Salesforce instance. This will ensure that errors are minimized and data is accurate, saving time for your team and improving the trust donors have in your institution.
3. It simplifies complex pledged gifts
Major giving is key to allowing your advancement department to take on some of its largest projects. Often, gifts worth hundreds of thousands of dollars or more will be made by pledges, giving your school confidence in the funds coming to them and the donor a chance to plan for large outlay to come.
This process is known to get complicated. Initially, you are likely to propose a pledge plan to an interested supporter, including payment amounts, dates, types and what organizational areas it will be allocated to. Typically, there will be changes requested by the supporter, and it may take multiple iterations until it is fully agreed upon. Even then, it’s common for more adjustments to be asked for, all the way until the payment is made. Donors may need longer than anticipated to make the payment, may need to change the payment type, or they may be interested in allocating part of the gift to a different project.
An effective advancement software for Salesforce can simplify this process for both development teams and donors. Consider a tool that can allow for as many revisions as necessary to both pledged gift opportunities and agreed-upon pledge plans, with all of the changes being reflected throughout donor records, reports, dashboards, and gift accounting.
4. It incorporates event management
Fundraising events are a valuable tactic for advancement and alumni relations departments, even though they differ somewhat from the traditional way that money is raised. Successful teams are able to consistently engage supporters and grow donations through their events. This often includes Homecoming events, fundraising galas, and hosting influential speakers.
As it directly relates to both revenue generation and donor relationships, it’s crucial that event management be a feature of your chosen advancement software, and that it integrates with the rest of your activities on Salesforce. You should be able to sell tickets or take free registrations, report on supporters that will attend, and see event history as a key piece of information on the donor’s profile.
5. It offers you reliable technical support
No matter how effective your advancement software for Salesforce is, there are bound to be challenges. The numerous activities that go into donor relations and gift processing mean that it’s perfectly normal for questions and technical hiccups to arise. The more functionality your advancement department has your fingertips, the more common it is to need some help getting the most out of the tools.
You should be able to rely on technical help for your advancement needs. That means being sure that support is included with your advancement software choice, knowing that the provider has expertise in all things donor & donation management, and trusting that you can have an easy relationship with their team.
For more details on how to choose advancement software, get this handy guide and see how you can accelerate your efforts in alumni engagement, fundraising, data and operations strategy, and more.
Doron Barbalat is the Marketing Manager at Causeview, a software developer that helps education institutions and nonprofit organizations grow their giving on the Salesforce.org platform. Doron has more than seven years of experience in the fundraising technology industry, and has written hundreds of articles, case studies and e-books offering practical and strategic advice to advancement and development professionals. Connect with him on LinkedIn.
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