Integrating WordPress with Salesforce

By | December 3, 2017 | | Higher Education, Nonprofit

Advice for nonprofits on going from web forms to results

Salesforce WordPress Integration tipsYour organization’s website is often the first place that people visit and start to share their information with you. Whether they are coming to donate, subscribe to your newsletter, or register for an event, You want to get that information into your CRM. Your website can also pull and show data stored in Salesforce, such as lists of sponsors or grantees, program data, chapter or affiliate information, or some other personalized experience based on the visitor’s profile.

WordPress is the world’s most-used Content Management System (CMS), and Salesforce is the leading Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform, not just for companies but also for nonprofits. So why not integrate them and get the best of both worlds? There are several options to set up and customize the integration.

Integrating your website with your Salesforce instance can take some time, but you’ll gain much better data quality and consistency, and save your staff a ton of time. Digital agency Social Driver has seen more clients making the investment and reaping the rewards. According to senior digital strategist Paige Howarth Corson. She explains, “As our clients have begun collecting more data about their stakeholders, it’s become increasingly important to ensure all of this information can be collected accurately and in one location. Direct integrations between open source CMS’s and enterprise systems, like Salesforce, make it easier than ever to organize data without much staff overhead.”

You can gain a lot from integrating WordPress with Salesforce, and it’s not just about collecting data more effectively. More nonprofits are exploring ways to integrate WordPress and Salesforce that create an even better experience for website visitors – like prospective donors. “We’ve found that tightly integrating an open source content management system with Salesforce provides a powerful and cost-effective way to increase engagement with your users,” says Marcus Iannozzi, Principal of Message Agency, a digital agency that focuses on nonprofits. “Your website can become aware of data and information you store on users to deliver content, calls-to-action, and workflows that are more personalized and therefore more effective.”

How to Integrate WordPress & Salesforce

There are a variety of ways to integrate your WordPress website with Salesforce. Here’s a list in order from those that are most simple and inexpensive to the ways that are most able to accommodate complex or custom requirements and more costly:

1. Web to Lead Form

Integrating Salesforce with WordPress for nonprofits - web to lead formKey Points

  • Inserts data automatically into the Lead object
  • One-way integration from WordPress to Salesforce
  • No licensing costs; included with Salesforce
  • Lowest implementation level of effort

The native Web to Lead function in Salesforce provides a setup wizard to create a form. Embed the generated HTML on your site, and you have a form that submits the information as a new record in the Lead object.


  • Free to use
  • Simple wizard to create a form
  • Great for capturing leads/data from a “Contact us” form on a website


  • Limited to creating Lead records
  • Only fields available in the Lead object can be used on the web form
  • Salesforce generated HTML-code may require additional styling

Samples Apps or Tools
You can choose from a variety of third party Apps or tools to simplify the process of integrating WordPress and Salesforce. For example, the Brilliant Web to Lead for Salesforce plugin connects to your Salesforce instance and brings the form creation wizard into WordPress. The form builder aspect adheres better to the WordPress theme so the form matches your website, and the tool uses standard WordPress shortcodes to drive placement of the form (or forms) on the site. Shortcodes can also be used in WordPress widgets, so it’s easy to place a link to a Contact form in the sidebar widget of the site, for example.

Case Study
The membership signup form of the Organic Trade Association, a business association for organic products and agriculture, uses the native Salesforce web-to-lead functionality. Custom development was layered onto the web-to-lead form to allow members to pay their dues by credit card after submitting the form.

2. Content Management System Form Builders

Integrating Salesforce with WordPress for nonprofits - example of a CMS form builder
Key Points

  • WordPress form builder tools work well with WordPress themes
  • One-way integration from WordPress to Salesforce
  • Low annual licensing costs ranging from $40 to $200 depending on the package
  • Medium level of effort for implementation

Unlike web-to-lead tools, these provide the flexibility of submitting data not just to Leads but to other standard or custom objects in Salesforce. These tools provide a combination of point-and-click and drag-and-drop user experiences for simple and fast form building. In order to integrate a WordPress Form Builder to write data to your Salesforce instance, you need to get an additional add-on or middleware (service that acts as a bridge between two systems). Add-ons or “middleware” enable you to map form fields to Salesforce fields. Mapping the form fields to their corresponding Salesforce data elements generally uses a simple graphical user interface (GUI), so you don’t have to write any code.


  • Active plugins maintain WordPress compatibility and work well with many prebuilt themes. Check the tool’s WordPress Plugin Directory listing to see if it has been recently updated.
  • GUI user interface makes it fast and simple to build forms
  • Data can be inserted into almost all standard and custom objects in Salesforce
  • Add-ons and middleware can be used to integrate payment processors for accepting donations, membership dues and other payments
  • Basic Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) Compliance with some tools such as Gravity Forms


  • While relatively low cost, there is a usually a yearly licensing fee for these tools
  • Requires add-ons or middleware such as Zapier to integrate with Salesforce

Samples Apps or Tools

Case Study
The Intelligence and National Security Alliance, an organization promoting collaborative approaches to national security challenges, utilizes a membership sign-up form built with Gravity Forms and the Zapier add-on. The look of the form fits in seamlessly with the site’s styling for a consistent branding and user experience, and Zapier pulls form submissions into Salesforce as Contact records. The PayPal add-on handles payment processing.

3. Advanced Form Builders

Integrating Salesforce with WordPress for nonprofits - third party app integration screenshot

Integrating Salesforce with WordPress for nonprofits - Advanced Form Builder (Backend)Key Points

  • Powerful form building tools for mapping form fields to Salesforce
  • One-way and bidirectional integration options between WordPress to Salesforce
  • Higher annual per-user licensing costs ranging from $1K to $8K depending on the package
  • Higher implementation level of effort

Think of these tools as CMS form builders on steroids. These systems offer additional features such a pre-filling form fields with Salesforce data via bi-directional integration. You can also do more with forms through advanced form field building tools. These help you handle more complex operations within a form, such as displaying different fields depending on the values of previously completed fields. Similar to the CMS form tools, these tools use a GUI-based system for designing forms and mapping fields.


  • Advanced feature sets
  • Some options allow for two-way communication between Salesforce and WordPress. The bi-directional sync can be used to pre-fill forms with data from Salesforce.
  • Add-ons and middleware can be used to integrate payment processors for accepting donations, membership dues and other payments
  • Advanced PCI DSS Compliance and HIPAA compliance options available


  • Moderate to high annual or monthly cost
  • Requires higher-level coding skills and Salesforce skills to implement

Samples Apps or Tools

Case Study
The Institutional Limited Partners Association, an organization dedicated to the interests of private equity Limited Partners, required a multi-page membership application form to gather data from prospective members. This level of detail in the form was needed to ensure that prospective members meet the requirements to become a member of the organization. To meet the organization’s needs, this form was built using Form Assembly to capture and save the data across multiple pages and insert the information into Salesforce with specific hidden fields used to identify applications in need of review for the organization.

4. Third Party Services/Apps with Salesforce Integration

Integrating Salesforce with WordPress for nonprofits - third party app integration screenshotKey Points

  • Purpose-built systems typically used to perform a specific function such as accepting donations or registering for events
  • One-way integration from WordPress to Salesforce
  • Low to high annual licensing costs ranging from $120 to $5K depending on the service and package; payment processors and other services often include a fee on a per transaction basis
  • Higher implementation level of effort

Third party services and apps with Salesforce integration are often included as part of tools like donation or event registration services. The forms often submit data to the service, which then connects to Salesforce through the Salesforce API or through an App from the Salesforce AppExchange. For example, if you sign up with iATS Aura, you can quickly build a donation form using the iATS interface. The form is placed onto a page in WordPress using Javascript. When someone donates to your nonprofit,, the form data from their donation is submitted to iATS for processing and then synchronized to Salesforce using the Brickwork application.


  • Simple, purpose-driven forms
  • Salesforce integration can include actions like creating opportunities or assigning campaign members


  • Limited form building tools
  • Additional custom styling on forms is almost always needed

Samples Apps or Tools

Case Study
Earthworks, a nonprofit working for sustainable and responsible energy development, needed a simple payment processor and a donation form with standard fields. With the low-cost iATS payment processor and its Brickwork app installed in Salesforce, a standard form was created and easily landed on a webpage with light CSS styling applied to match the look of the site.

5. Custom WordPress/Salesforce Integration

Custom WordPress and Salesforce integrationKey Points

  • A custom-built solution to meet complex data, action or styling requirements
  • One-way or bidirectional between WordPress to Salesforce
  • No inherent annual licensing costs, but may involve integrating services such as payment processors that have their own licensing costs
  • Highest level of effort for implementation – ranging from $5K to $25K and up depending on the scope of the project

If you have more complex needs for your nonprofit CRM and Salesforce integration, you might consider doing custom development. This can help you bring data into Salesforce from other services, and/or to display information from Salesforce on a website.

One example of where you might want custom development is with donation forms that need to include multiple payment processors or send data to multiple campaigns. If you want donors to be able to update their own credit card numbers or mailing addresses (“self-service” functionality), you can do this with custom development. You can also use custom development to show lists of members, sponsors, or a board of directors from Salesforce onto a website with custom styling. Searchable databases can be created on websites as well, allowing for Salesforce to serve as the system of record for information such as chapter details. These development projects can use real-time data queries to Salesforce or synchronize with specific fields in the WordPress database (such as the Users Meta table).


  • Ability to manage complex queries and large datasets
  • Greatest control over styling and presentation
  • Greatest control over Salesforce objects and fields


  • Requires advanced development skills (PHP or Java) and advanced knowledge of the Salesforce APIs (Rest and SOAP)
  • The required skillsets usually necessitate hiring a consultant for initial implementation and future modifications
  • Salesforce has API limitations that can be increased with an additional investment

Case Study
Miriam’s Kitchen, a Washington, D.C. nonprofit dedicated to ending chronic homelessness, needed a custom solution for one-time, recurring, or in-tribute donations . They also wanted to publish unique giving-campaign donation forms and associate the payment to the corresponding campaign in Salesforce. Custom-built templates in WordPress let them use IATS payment processing and Salesforce integration for the contact and opportunity objects.

Assistance League, a national chapter-based community volunteer organization, needed a new website and the ability to easily manage data in one place for 120 chapters and over 23K members. The solution was a WordPress build with Salesforce integration in several areas of the site. The Find a Chapter or Thrift Shop page features a real-time lookup to Salesforce records, eliminating the need for duplicate content entry on the website. Behind the member login, the Assistance League created a portal experience using custom WordPress templates to present member profile information in real-time and allow people to update their own information, too.


The right integration method for your organization’s needs depends on a variety of factors including:

  • Your budget
  • The type of forms or data to integrate
  • The complexity of your data needs
  • The importance of branding and consistent user experience on your site

An experienced consultant can help you choose not only the right integration method among the main five, but also the best apps or third party services to meet your needs.

Check out some great resources to help in your integrations: Salesforce App Exchange, WordPress Plugin Directory, Brilliant Web to Lead for Salesforce,
Zapier, Ninja Forms with Salesforce extension, Gravity Forms with Zapier, Form Assembly, FastForms, iATS/Brickwork, Stripe, Classy, Soapbox Engage, eTouches, Cvent, MailChimp, Constant Contact, Pardot

About the Co-Authors
Dr. Lisa Rau, CEO and co-founder of Fionta, has over twenty-five years of professional experience in the information technology industry. Dr. Rau is a well-known leader in the nonprofit technology field. She specializes in the development of specific concepts, vision and direction for the strategic use of technology within nonprofits from a holistic, organizational perspective.

Joshua Darrin, Fionta’s Director of Engineering, oversees solutions architecture and technical implementation on all projects. Utilizing nearly two decades of experience in the IT service and infrastructure industry, he guides custom development, software selection, and resourcing decisions on Salesforce and web development projects to ensure the delivery of optimal and efficient solutions for clients.

Erin Rickard is a project manager at Fionta where she handles a number of WordPress and Drupal website projects with Salesforce integration. She liaises with clients and developers on project requirements, scope, schedule and budget to ensure the quality implementation of technology solutions.

Additional Contributors
Marcus Iannozzi, Principal of Message Agency, and Paige Howarth Corson, Senior Digital Strategist at Social Driver, also contributed to this article.