How to Integrate Plone CMS and Salesforce
by Sally Kleinfeldt, Director of Consulting Services at Jazkarta, which develops custom web applications and sophisticated content management systems using the most advanced and secure open source technologies available. She has many years of experience in web development, data and content management, search and information retrieval, GIS and data visualization, and agile software development practices. She fell for Python in 2000 and has been working with Plone since 2004. She has a Ph.D. in biology and loves creating websites that make scientists more productive.
Ihor Berehulyak of Quinta Group and David Glick of GlickSoftware and member of the Plone.org platform team also contributed to this article.
Does your nonprofit organization have lots of content, lots of members, and lots of volunteers and staff? Do you want to empower your users to create content on your site using intuitive tools that enforce your business processes? Do you want your staff to be able to explore innovative ways of collecting data and pushing it to your back office database, without hiring a bevy of programmers every time you want to try something new? Do you need e-commerce, online donations, out-of-the-box SEO – all without worrying about security vulnerabilities?
If that describes your organization today – or where you want to be in 5 years – you need to marry a best in class CMS with a best in class CRM to power your mission and your growth. All-in-one CMS/CRM systems simply cannot provide the breadth and depth of features you will get with such a combination.
Salesforce.com, the leading hosted CRM, can be easily married to Plone, an enterprise quality, open source CMS that out-performs many expensive commercial systems.
Plone has had a robust, production-grade integration with Salesforce for many years. The story started in 2006 when Salesforce.org gave a $25,000 grant to ONE/Northwest to build the initial integration. A modular set of Plone add-ons was released in 2007, and these have been adopted by the Plone community and expanded ever since.
What Can You Do With Plone + Salesforce?
The Plone add-ons that provide Salesforce integration are easy to use, and tremendously flexible. They don’t make any assumptions about the structure of your data – whether you’re using Salesforce out-of-the-box, or with custom objects and fields, you can easily connect them to Plone. Plone+Salesforce capabilities include:
- Web-to-lead forms that submit information from Plone into Salesforce
- Unified authentication – log into Plone with account information from Salesforce
- Dynamic display of Salesforce data in Plone
- Store Word, PDF, and other uploaded files in Salesforce
- Paypal integration – add a new lead to Salesforce when a Paypal payment is made
- Social integration via Janrain, a social login and sharing service
- Make RSVP-able events in your Plone site with data saved directly to Salesforce campaigns
- Take one time and recurring online donations
- Integrate with Salesforce campaigns, including campaign timelines and goals
- Personal fundraising – allow users to create their own personal campaign pages
- Access control to Plone content based upon SalesForce data
Here are just a few examples of Plone+Salesforce in action.
- Innocence Project – personal fundraising system, described in this blog post; for example, see the personal campaigns for the 2013 TD Five Boro Bike Tour
- New Mexico Consortium – a conference registration system with an e-commerce component, described in this case study; SalesForce data is used to create member accounts on multiple Plone sites
- 501 Commons – faceted search for consultants using data pulled from Salesforce
- Net Impact – searchable job board; job listings are purchased and searched in Plone and synced to Salesforce for reporting
- North Cascades Institute – course registration system; program offerings configured in Salesforce and synced to Plone where the registration form can be filled out and payment made, registrations written back to Salesforce
- Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition – form on the right sends email to a legislator and records the action in Salesforce as participation in a campaign
- PolicyTracker – member data is synchronized with SalesForce, which controls premium content access and provides 30 day trial memberships; more details are provided in this case study
The combination of Plone+Salesforce can provide non-profits with a rich, robust, and cost effective suite of online tools. Plone and all of the plugins mentioned in this post are open source software with no licensing fees, and Salesforce is a great deal for non-profits. Through the Power of Us program, Salesforce.org will donate 10 enterprise licenses to 501(c)3 organizations. For more information, see the additional resources listed below or contact a Plone+Salesforce specialist.
- Connecting a web-to-lead form to Salesforce
- Older (2007) video showing details of creating a simple web-to-lead form
- 2008 video showing creation of a complex form that writes data to Salesforce accounts, contacts, and opportunities, including a file attachment
- Beatbox – Python library that wraps the Salesforce API (Plone is written in the Python language)
- SalesforceBaseConnector – allows Plone to call the Salesforce API
- SalesforceAuthPlugin – create new Plone Members in Salesforce, and authenticate logins against Salesforce
- Salesforce PFG Adapter – easily create forms that submit directly into Salesforce
- Salesforce Order Recorder – add on for the GetPaid e-commerce tool that allows checkouts to generate one or more items in Salesforce
- Paypal2SalesforceLead– sets up a listener for Paypal’s Instant Payment Notification, and adds a new lead to Salesforce whenever a new payment is made
- Megaphone – map participation in petitions and letters to Salesforce
- collective.salesforce.rsvp – accept registrations for unpaid events via Plone and store the data in Salesforce
- collective.salesforce.content – create Plone content types that are connected to objects in Salesforce
- collective.salesforce.fundraising – functions as a standalone online fundraising system, including personal fundraising
Consulting Firms with Plone+Salesforce Expertise
- Soliton Consulting
- Prontonet (in German)
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