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More than Lead Gen: Why Pardot works for Nonprofits

By November 17, 2016

By: Kirsten Kippen, cross-posted from Idealist Consulting

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Last year at Dreamforce, I played a little game. I spent a morning researching Pardot as a nonprofit. Having worked at a nonprofit for five years this wasn’t a huge stretch, but it did leave me feeling a bit misunderstood. All Pardot’s demos and presentations were geared toward B2B (business-to-business) selling and lead generation. So what about nonprofits? Do we really have to put up with VerticalResponse and MailChimp or is there something better out there?

Nonprofits and Pardot are a better match than you might initially assume because small-medium businesses have more in common with nonprofits than you think. Both are reliant on strong relationships to grow, and Pardot is specifically designed to help with this. Here are some of the features most touted in Pardot demos, and what they could mean to a nonprofit.

When you see ‘lead generation and forms,’ think ‘web-to-lead replacement’

Many nonprofits cobble together a combination of web-to-lead and Drupal or WordPress to manage volunteer leads or ‘contact us’ submissions and are plagued with duplicates. Having a variety of forms is great for collecting interest, but it can be difficult to manage on the back end. Pardot solves this by making forms and landing pages the center of its ‘lead generation’ engine. Where businesses use these assets for collecting sales leads, you can use them for collecting volunteer interest or program leads. Pardot lets you build these forms and landing pages to match the style of your website, then matches on email address so you don’t have to worry about duplicates flooding your CRM.

When you see ‘lead nurturing,’ think ‘constituent engagement’

Once someone fills out a form, you can see their web and social engagement right on their lead or contact record. A cookie is inserted on their browser to track these things (creepy marketing? perhaps…) so that you can be smart about what drip campaigns you send them or what events you invite them to. You can also post and monitor your social media channels through a Pardot connector so that you can see how your constituents interact with your social campaigns (and how much social channels are driving traffic to your landing pages).

When you see ‘drip campaigns and scoring,’ think ‘moves management’

Pardot has a preference center where you can manage contact lists so you can segment according to geography, engagement level, level of donor, etc. to make sure your constituents get the appropriate messages. You can score your constituents based on level of donation or engagement (for example, how many emails they’ve opened or clicked in the past year), then use these scores to segment lists that help you get more donations from your existing base. You can even connect with a third party solution such as WealthEngine to score a lead based on possible capacity.

Once you have your lists segmented, you can plot out a different drip campaign for different audiences, depending on your goal. For example, if you want one-time donors to donate again but at a larger amount, send them a series of emails with a call-to-action to donate and info on how a slightly bigger donation will serve your mission. But if you want to turn them into recurring donors who give a small amount every month, your messaging would be different. Moves management is a complex topic, so check out our post here for more strategies.

When you see ‘ROI reporting,’ think ‘outcomes and impact reporting’

There is a lot of talk in the marketing world about ROI (return on investment) these days. Technology has made it much easier to track the return on specific marketing actions like events, tradeshows, or whitepapers, but you can also use the power of marketing automation in tandem with your CRM to report to your board. If you struggle with tying donations back to marketing efforts or have a hard time judging the success of a campaign, you can build this data into your Pardot reports. You can also use features like scoring to identify areas in your channel where constituents might get “stuck”, and focus on them to drive better results. Your board undoubtedly wants to know what efforts are working best and how many more constituents are engaged this year versus previous years; housing your data in Salesforce with additional support provided by Pardot can give you a wealth of data to guide your reporting.

Final words

If you’re interested in checking Pardot out for your nonprofit, do your research and call your Salesforce account executive to help determine if it’s the right tool for you. At Idealist Consulting we can also help you strategize about how to best use Pardot – just drop us a line if you want to discuss this further.

Finally, if you’re excited about Pardot’s features but aren’t quite ready to make the jump, you should consider Predictive Response. Our consultants love it for its native Salesforce functionality (it lives within the campaign object) and it’s a great first step toward ‘marketing automation lite.’

Want to learn more about what marketing automation could mean for you? Check out our whitepaper, Marketing Automation 101 for Nonprofits.

Download the Whitepaper