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Why Community-Powered Beats For-Profit

By October 27, 2015

We’re on the ground this week at a large nonprofit technology conference in Austin. Some of the values being given little more than lip service here include:

  • Community
  • Flexibility
  • Openness
  • Scalability
  • Affordability
  • Innovation

If you’re a nonprofit and these things that really matter to you, chances are you’re already part of the community-driven innovation movement supported by – because you know that they’re always top of mind for us. If you’re not, well, perhaps you should be.


For starters, this movement is all about the community – for the community and by the community.

Nonprofits work tirelessly on a wide range of critical causes. And they do so with far fewer resources than they need to get the job done. The only way to scale best practices across the breadth of the sector is by working together to advance shared goals. That’s why so many nonprofits are collaborating together as part of the community. This community is becoming the backbone for social impact.

This community approach is deep-seated, because like you, is a nonprofit organization. is a completely separate organization from Salesforce, the company. Think of us as a scrappy social enterprise that gives away our profits back to the nonprofit community.

We share your commitment for a better world. We, too, aim to make real and lasting impact. Our way of doing that: A sustainable model of truly meaningful and authentic corporate philanthropy where resources and impact never leave the community.

Everything we do stays within the nonprofit sector – products built for you, and investments in areas like technological development and education. Our profits don’t line the pockets of shareholders. Our product donations (first ten licenses) and deep discounts are unparalleled. And we grant out tens of millions of dollars a year.

Traditional for-profit technology vendors simply cannot say any of that.

Secondly, community pushes the best technology to be even better.

The smallest nonprofits get to leverage the same industry-leading, award-winning technology that the biggest companies use. Further customized to meet your needs and infinitely flexible to do exactly what you need it to.

We fit into your processes and systems rather than force-fitting you into ours. Need a new enhancement? You can do it yourself rather than waiting for the next big release. You’re in control.

Salesforce is built to last. It’s scalable (it grows as your organization does), and cloud, mobile, and social is in our DNA. (Everyone else has been late to – and unserious about – these trends). Ours is an end-to-end set of solutions on a single platform, giving nonprofits a single system of record – not the confusing constellation of dozens of often disconnected and inflexible tools others offer. Salesforce plays nicely in a truly integrated environment.

NPSP SprintOur open, community-powered approach isn’t just philosophical or technical. They manifest in very real ways in terms of how we serve the sector.

I’ll say it again: We’re all about our community. In fact, we are our community.

Case in point: Tens of thousands of nonprofits are using Nonprofit Starter Pack (NPSP) – an open-source package with everything you need to get going. Just last week we had dozens of members of our community in Seattle for a NPSP sprint, excitedly contributing code and documentation. Developed by you, for you.

Our Power of Us Hub has some 18,000 users and admins actively sharing tips and answering questions every day. And the Salesforce App Exchange is full of plug-and-play tools that are custom-created for nonprofits – from advocacy to donor intelligence to ticketing and much more.

NPSP in Seattle

This community-driven ecosystem is unique.

Combine that with a pioneering business model and great technology, and we think the choice for nonprofits to connect all their data and systems – and to connect more deeply to all their constituents – is clear.

But don’t take our word for it. Take it from the tens of thousands of nonprofits who use Salesforce day in and day out to advance their missions – many of whom switched from the for-profit company gathering nonprofits in Austin this week.

City Year Orlando

Nonprofits like City Year, which has benefited greatly since ditching a competitive product for Salesforce. Says Salesforce Administrator and Business Analyst Tom Barad:

“Four years ago, City Year made a strategic decision to replace its core systems with best-in-class solutions that would allow scalability, stability, access-from-anywhere, increased productivity, and complex integrations with other enterprise systems and analytic reporting. Migrating from the closed, client-server architecture of Raiser’s Edge has increased collaboration across our sites, improved user adoption, given us deeper insight into our constituents, and allowed us to interact more strategically with donors. City Year has benefited from the best practices inherent in a world-class CRM such as Salesforce and from the constant innovation delivered by Salesforce in their rapid deployment of new functionality. Using Salesforce has enabled City Year to extend the concept of a nonprofit CRM from simple donor management to strategic management of our entire constituency.”

Project Open Hand volunteeringOr Project Open Hand, which has been serving meals with love in the Bay Area for thirty years, and found in Salesforce a ready innovation partner. According to Vice President of Communications Maria Stokes:

“Before migrating to Salesforce from Blackbaud, we were managing records for our volunteer and donors in two separate databases. By choosing Salesforce, we not only have a much deeper understanding of our supporters, but we also have a platform which we can continue to build upon to more efficiently and effectively nurture those vital relationships.

One example of how Salesforce has enabled us to be much more efficient is in managing volunteers for our events. Previously, our staff would spend many, many hours manually matching volunteers with shifts at our special events. This can be as many as 200 shifts for a single event. Now, the entire process is automated through Salesforce for Volunteering: Volunteers visit our website to choose and register for shifts, then receive a series of confirmation emails and reminders leading up to the event.”

Andrea Scott, CFRE, Director of Individual Giving & Campaigns of the Boys & Girls Club of Monterey County, explains their organization’s move to Salesforce as follows:

“We switched from Convio Common Ground, which was acquired by Blackbaud, and also did due diligence on Luminate CRM Online. We needed an affordable and powerful solution that integrated our CRM and email marketing strategies. NGO Connect and Marketing Cloud were hands down the best products on the market. We are blown away by the capability, ease of use, and efficiency these tools bring to our organization.”

These are only a few of the many nonprofits who’ve taken the jump to the community-powered innovation movement that is – and taken their organizations to a new level.

Join them!

Contact us to get in touch with your Account Executive and get started today.