Reimagining Nonprofit CRM Towards Building a Movement

By Kate Mirkin | April 19, 2018 | Community Engagement, Marketing Communications, Nonprofit, User Tips and Tricks


Wildlife Conservation Society on SalesforceBeing an effective connected nonprofit means building a movement around your cause. The nonprofits that are doing this well understand that this requires a level of seamless integration between everything they do. When you use technology effectively, you’re better able to bring people together to help them see the impact they’re having, whether they’re a donor, volunteer, supporter, or beneficiary.

Wildlife Conservation Society on Salesforce

The Wildlife Conservation Society is leading the pack (pun intended) at using technology to connect more deeply with their constituents. Here are 6 things they did to connect more deeply with their constituents with Salesforce technology:

1. Remove data silos so you can engage people the way they want to engage

You want to avoid a scenario where the “left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing.” Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) consolidated 7 disparate point solutions by implementing Salesforce across their organization, so everyone has the same 360 degree view of each constituent in their CRM.

When you remove data silos, you can engage with people the way they want to. Jonathan Palmer, Executive Director of Strategic Technology at the Wildlife Conservation Society, shares:

    “There are so many ways constituents can engage with WCS: visit the zoo, sign a petition, make donations, make a post on Facebook. And, you know, we’ve always had these anecdotes about how people are touching our organization in different ways or how, how families are touching the organization in different ways. But only with Salesforce have we actually been able to bring that together into one place and understand, ‘Wow, this person is, is not just a one-off visitor to our organization but this one is, this person is deeply engaged in our organization,’ or this family cares so much about conservation that they’re all supporting our mission.’ ”

Make sure you can use your nonprofit technology to help your staff see the big picture about your constituents!

2. Personalize, personalize, personalize!

Never send an email blast with the same content to your entire database.

Debbie Schneiderman, Executive Director of Customer Relationship and Channel Marketing, shares:

    “We’re not cookie-cutter managing two million relationships. We are able to put in place flags and journeys that are very specific to the reasons that the customer wants to connect with WCS. So, maybe they’re a zoo goer who wants to know more about our conservation work. Or maybe they don’t, maybe they just want to know what’s happening at other zoos. We can create profiles and journeys that take them on an individualized path. That helps them uncover their relationship with wildlife in a very personal way.”

With Marketing Cloud’s Email Studio & Journey Builder, WCS can ensure that they’re engaging their constituents in the issues that they care about, and driving them to take action.

They’re able to customize interactions to what the customer wants their relationship with WCS to be. Debbie explains:

    “We are able to see touchpoints that we never dreamed of being able to pull in before. So, are they communicating with us via social, are they members, have they donated, have they expressed interest in elephants. And we are able to take that whole world of data, and figure out what the best thing for them to do next would be. What are the types of things that they would be interested in?”

Make sure that you can tailor content to what your constituents care about.

3. Demonstrate the impact that your constituents can have by taking action

Jan Kaderly‎, Vice President of Public Engagement and Digital Programs at the ‎Wildlife Conservation Society, explained that in the old days, WCS was the actor and asked donors to support their work on the ground to save wildlife. While that’s still important, they now also recognize that conservation in the face of global systemic threats to wildlife demands a systemic and global response. So WCS is empowering millions of people, around the world, to be able to take action at a moment’s notice, to impact policy and conservation action.

We need to mobilize people quickly. Thanks to fast actions they could take with Marketing Cloud technology and engaging 100,000 constituents, WCS was able to re-route a highway in Nigeria within six weeks. And it was going to cut right through a mountain gorilla habitat!

4. Pick a partner that cares

When you choose a technology to power your nonprofit marketing, you’re not just picking a tool, you’re picking a partner. Your technology partner should also care about the issues you care about.

You should be able to use tools like artificial intelligence to have predictive models that can say, “what does this constituent want to do next?” (Which comes back to personalize, personalize personalize.)

Predictive models for nonprofit fundraising and marketing can help you customize content that’s tailored to the interests of your supporters. One example of this is Einstein Analytics with Salesforce for nonprofits. (For more on this, see this blog about donor engagement and fundraising emails that write themselves.)

5. Wow constituents with customer service – on any channel!

You should be able to go from a social media complaint to a customer support request seamlessly. With Salesforce Service Cloud, the WCS customer care team can be connected to social media and resolve constituents questions and concerns quickly – creating a stronger relationship with that constituent. And great relationships with your constituents means that then your customer service team can connect the dots for fundraising and go from a complaint to a “wow” experience and deeper engagement.

Global issues need technology to help scale. Your nonprofit deserves the best tools to advance your mission.

Curious to learn more about how to put this all into practice? Download this e-book on how to overcome 3 common nonprofit marketing challenges, or check out this demo of Social Studio for nonprofits.

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