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Why the Nonprofit Success Pack Matters

By October 18, 2016

By: Tim Forbes, cross-posted from

The Nonprofit Success Pack matters. At Soapbox Engage, we get to see the difference it makes every day for the mission of the nonprofits we serve. And as a former nonprofit accidental techie, I am often caught up in thoughts of projects gone-by and how the Nonprofit Success Pack could have transformed efforts and increased impact.

Here are three scenes that often come to mind from this grizzled veteran’s nonprofit past. I humbly submit them, nostalgia-encrusted and mundanely personal as they may be, as emblematic of how the Nonprofit Success Pack has transformed nonprofit technology and why it matters.

Scene 1:

A community kitchen
Washington, DC
January 1998

It’s winter and it’s frigid outside but we’re all sweating profusely. The 3,000 bed homeless shelter in whose basement the community kitchen is located has two options for its heating: on or off. The ancient system provides no middle ground. While problematic on the main floors where windows can be opened to mitigate the issue, in the small, windowless basement office containing the six of us, no such remedy exists. We guess it is in the high nineties. We haven’t the courage or means to confirm. We each are in long sleeves and pants. Safety in a commercial kitchen requires it. The industrial dishwasher immediately outside our door generates plumes of steam that do nothing to abate the heat and add a hot gust with each fresh cycle.

In the heat, I am struggling to put one thought in front of another in order to build a database. It will record statistics on our food rescue and meal delivery programs, amounting to a ton of food and 2,700 meals a day, respectively. These are stolen moments for a nonprofit accidental techie. They are captured just prior to the day’s twenty-five volunteers assembling to learn the basics of the kitchen and be introduced to the homeless men and women of the culinary training program who will supervise them for the morning. As I leave my computer and walk into the store room that doubles as meeting room that triples as lunch room, I pass my clipboard around for each volunteer to record their names while ruing the fact none of their information will be captured in the database I’m building nor any of the donations they might be generous enough to give.

Why the Nonprofit Success Pack matters

While the Nonprofit Success Pack wouldn’t have been able to do anything about the heat, it would have transformed those stolen moments into something much more powerful, efficient and effective. As a constituent relationship management tool at its core, it provides a ready-made home for supporter data, giving a 360 degree view of their donations, volunteer activity and much more. As an insanely extensible platform, it can easily provide the essentials needed for capturing food rescue and meal delivery program data. Crafted to meet the basics any nonprofit fundraiser requires and flexible enough to address data needs of even the most innovative program, it’s a solution for the entirety of a nonprofit that can grow and develop new needs as they arise.

Scene 2:

A small workforce development nonprofit
Seattle WA
August 2002

It’s late. I can tell because the timer for the overhead lights has shut them off, leaving me with only my desk lamp to dimly light my work. The sound of the fountain in the opulent atrium of the government office that is kind enough to house our small workforce development nonprofit has shut off, too. There is an eerie silence in the place of its comforting white noise. I am frantically finalizing a database application designed to track job openings, employers, and job seekers for a new satellite office we are opening tomorrow. The database application is extensive. The network setup is a bit of a mess. And the website “integration” that will allow only for a simple list of current jobs to be displayed and updated each week cost a king’s ransom to be paid to a consultant and far more work on our end than we ever imagined. With the time well beyond midnight, I’ll need to get up early and be on-site for the opening of the office to troubleshoot the locking of the application due to the number of simultaneous users or local network issues. I’ll pray the file doesn’t get corrupted. I’ll cross my fingers that the chewing gum and bailing wire setup for our web integration holds up when the time comes.

Why the Nonprofit Success Pack matters

In 2016, it’s hard to imagine life without cloud computing and on-demand scalability. That’s thanks in no small part to, and the Nonprofit Success Pack ensures the power of that platform is available to nonprofits. What’s more, whether it’s through the creation of a custom Site or the leveraging of flexible, easy-to-use apps like those in Soapbox Engage, your Salesforce data no longer needs to be siloed from your web presence.

Scene 3:

A nonprofit support center
Jalababat, Krygyz Republic
April 2006

It’s a snowy day in early April 2006 in the heart of Jalalabat, Kyrgyz Republic. I’m working at a desk in a side office of the internet resource center I spearheaded the creation of as the focus of my Peace Corps term of service. A bloodless revolution has just overthrown the government and, while Peace Corps was not  forced to evacuate its volunteers, continued work at my assigment has become politically complicated and my tenure with the nonprofit at which I am housed is coming to an unexpected and abrupt end.

A high school volunteer sits at a desk across from me, listening intently to some music. She pauses to ask me to translate into Russian a Khia lyric that begins “my neck, my back…”

Of one thing I’m certain: I will not be finishing that lyric for her.

Of many things, I’m not at all certain. What will become of the database of grant opportunities that I’ve built and populated over the last year as a resource for the local NGO community? Will the native Russian and Kyrgyz-speaking local staff be able to manage the English backend interface? Will they be able to continue the translation work that has begun. Can the current and coming cohort of Peace Corps volunteers assist in the ongoing success of the project?

Why the Nonprofit Success Pack matters

Being able to access applications and data from any location and in a variety of languages is critical for thousands of nonprofits across the world and in the United States. With the Nonprofit Starter Pack built on a world-class platform in Salesforce, even the smallest organization can leverage what only massive multinationals could take advantage of without it.

Why Does the Nonprofit Success Pack Matter to You?

Enough of my nostalgia-fueled scenes of what might have been in my own nonprofit past. Time for you to share how the Nonprofit Success Pack is making a difference for an organization you’re familiar with in the living present. Feel free to share your story on this discussion thread in the Power of Us Hub (login required).

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