When we first started working with Salesforce one of the biggest problems we had was finding reference sites who were fundraising. Plenty of NFPs were using Salesforce but not many were fundraising it seemed. A lot’s changed since those days and we’ve got some great projects on the go where organisations big and small will be running their fundraising operations from Salesforce using supporter360. One of our most exciting projects in Australia is the Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation in Melbourne, they’re moving all of their fundraising and grant management (distribution of grants) onto supporter360 and Salesforce. There are plenty of others like Assistance Dogs Australia, Bowel Cancer Australia to name a couple and happily more coming on board each week.
So why weren’t organisations fundraising from Salesforce? The technology platform was clearly miles ahead of anything else so why not? Two main reasons (imho) – the standard data model with each contact being in an account is great for B2B but not so great when you’re talking to 1000s of individuals who may or may not be linked to any company.
The second is transaction processing – Salesforce was designed with relationships in mind, not taking in large numbers of transactions in, tracking where they came from and where they’re going.
So that was where supporter360 was focused – how can we make it so users would feel like Salesforce was built with the not-for-profit sector and fundraising in mind and remove those two stumbling blocks? The first problem was the hardest to overcome – the data model is at the heart of Salesforce and we needed to find a way that didn’t break Salesforce (and therefore access to all of the applications on the AppExchange + all the future updates) but allowed a person to exist in the system without the need for an account.
There are lots of work-arounds out there but most of them involve massive compromise. We think our solution is the perfect model and actually enhances the standard Salesforce data model quite significantly. I was in a demo yesterday and the fundraising director – who had worked with Salesforce before – said ‘Oh, great – that was the very problem that I was going to raise but you’ve solved it!’
We’ve kept pretty quiet about this element of supporter360 so far but we think it will be the secret weapon that makes all the difference. The user experience is much more logical and clean.
The next part was the transactional side of the system. If you’re fundraising you need to be able to take money in whatever way it’s offered to you (legitimate sources only of course!) – people might have all sorts of stipulations such as the funds money needs to be allocated to or when they might give you the money. You can’t say ‘No, sorry we can’t take your money as that’s too complex for us’ – you need to say thanks and have a system that handles the complexity with ease.
So we built a system that allows for pretty much any type of transaction – split gifts as many ways as you need; pay all or part pay; pay in regular chunks or irregular chunks.
My job’s now a bit too easy – the things that Salesforce keep rolling into the platform (we’re currently having great fun solving problems all over the place with Visual Workflows) on top of the perfect data model and powerful transaction processing plus all of the other things we’re building into the system are making showing people the system great fun!
And we’re only really getting started, that’s the really exciting bit. Now the nuts and bolts are tightened up to the right level we can work more and more on the exciting bits to help organisations get their message across and bring in the money as inexpensively as possible. Keep posted
If you want to know more check http://www.supporter360.net