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In 2019, GuideStar and Foundation Center merged into one nonprofit, Candid, running on one Salesforce ecosystem to scale its impact in the social sector.
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Nonprofit & Foundation Info Sources Merge & Migrate to Salesforce

For over 20 years, donors giving to U.S. nonprofits have used GuideStar profiles to inform their decisions. For more than twice that long, nonprofits seeking funding have turned to Foundation Directory—published by Foundation Center first in print, then online—to find grant opportunities. Many professionals in the nonprofit sector are just learning that the two organizations have joined forces to become Candid, a 501(c)(3) data, tools, and information service dedicated to helping change the world by giving people the information they need to do good.

Merging the operations of the two established organizations was a challenge, but GuideStar and Foundation Center had some common ground: both successfully used Salesforce. Candid expanded use of Salesforce technologies to bring together everything from ecommerce and subscription management to marketing automation.

  • 64
    years of opportunities migrated
  • 2M
    contacts deduplicated and cleaned in 2020
  • 452K
    Service Cloud cases migrated

One Ecosystem for a Unified View of Relationships & Programs

Foundation Center brought to the 2019 merger a history of successfully using Salesforce, first implementing Sales Cloud to manage major gifts, and later adding Marketing Cloud and Service Cloud. GuideStar used Sales Cloud, mainly to manage direct sales.

Once the merger occurred, Candid staff members spent the rest of that year managing separate “classic” GuideStar and Foundation Center business systems, handling ecommerce, subscription services, email marketing, customer software, and so on. There was little transparency into the two nonprofits’ common donors and customers, or their sales and fundraising pipelines. It was unclear which staff members were interacting with which donors and when.

Candid needed to get everything into one system that would provide a centralized view of all its constituents, including:

  • subscribers
  • donors who support Candid’s work
  • nonprofits that submit information for their online profiles and earn Seals of Transparency
  • individuals wanting to learn more about the nonprofit space
  • professionals seeking skills training and industry news
  • libraries and resource centers providing free access to Foundation Directory and other tools

Beyond that, Candid wanted technology that would allow researchers to analyze and study the combined data, yielding insights into trends and opportunities in the social sector.

We had two of everything. The only thing that we shared was the Salesforce CRM. That was the no-brainer.” Crystal Mandler, Senior Director of Business Systems & Intelligence

Combining Salesforce Solutions to Manage a Range of Stakeholder Needs

In August 2020, Candid launched its combined Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) system, built on Sales Cloud and Nonprofit Cloud. Records in the system reflect 64 years of opportunities, including Foundation Center’s first grant in 1956.

Marketing Cloud powers the organization’s digital marketing campaigns. It also provides insights into which areas specific contacts have expressed interest in — by subscribing to a free newsletter, for example, or submitting a question to the “Ask the Online Librarian” service (which is built on a Salesforce knowledge base). Candid uses Marketing Cloud Account Engagement for marketing automation and lead management.

To manage its paid subscriptions — including full access to Foundation Directory or GuideStar Pro data — Candid implemented Salesforce B2B Commerce. Because all these customers and constituents sometimes need personalized help, the customer support team uses Service Cloud to manage inbound cases, from technical issues to questions about subscription plans.

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Activating Data to Refine Products & Services

Candid’s team continues to build out these systems to meet their full potential. In early 2022, all GuideStar product records were migrated into the Salesforce platform, bringing the total subscriptions online to over 135,000.

Service Cloud helps the migration team identify and fix problems quickly. “Service Cloud has been a great thermometer on these migrations,” said Tracy Waksler, Senior Director of Products. “As we bring certain subscription parts of our business online, we see right away in the case queue if we’ve got an issue.”

Visibility into customers’ experiences — who needs more support, and where users get stuck — enables Candid to refine and improve its procedures, products, and help text. With detailed customer records, staff can proactively reach out to users with surveys about major changes, like an overhaul of Foundation Directory, for rapid feedback.

Marketing Cloud Account Engagement automation and templates have made some email communications, like acknowledgments that a support request has been received, more automatic. This frees up staff resources for follow-up messages and phone calls to be more personalized.

Marketing Cloud allows Candid to track the subscription lifecycles of customers. For small nonprofits that don’t work on grant writing year-round, an annual subscription to Foundation Directory would be an unnecessary expense. So Candid offers subscriptions on a month-by-month basis. Instead of creating a new account each time such customers cancel their paid subscription, then return a year later, this solution can track their overall history — and invite them to re-subscribe at the right time in that customer’s lifecycle.

With customers wanting to get the maximum return on their first, short-term subscription, it’s critical to minimize the time they spend confused, frustrated, or waiting for customer support. The team has used Marketing Cloud to build onboarding journeys for new customers, to help ensure their first experience with a Candid product will be a positive one.

Candid also has deployed Slack and Tableau. Both are used for internal and external communication, and Tableau reports and visualizations also make it easier for teams to track their progress against specific goals. For example, nonprofits add information to their Candid profile (formerly their GuideStar profile) to communicate their mission and impact to potential donors, partners, and funders; the amount and type of data they submit determines which level Seal of Transparency they earn (Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Platinum). Sharing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) information is required for the Gold level, so Candid encourages nonprofits to achieve that level, using Tableau to monitor what successfully moves the needle.

Waksler sees this as one more way insights from the Salesforce ecosystem are shaping Candid’s evolution. “It informs what we do with products, with customer success, what kinds of programs we start, what kinds of training we offer. It tells us where we get stuck…. We celebrate when we hit our targets, and then we quickly pivot to ‘What’s next?’”

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About Candid

Every year, millions of nonprofits spend trillions of dollars around the world. Candid finds out where that money comes from, where it goes, and why it matters. Through research, collaboration, and training, Candid connects people who want to change the world to the resources they need to do it.