Whether you’re a giant, like Apple, or an eight-year-old selling lemonade in front of his parent’s house, the goal stays the same. You want to make as much profit as possible. The same applies for a majority of businesses. To achieve this, they identify a need and create a product. Then the company looks for customers to sell the product to via marketing campaigns. When someone buys the product, the company makes some profit and lives to fight another day.

However, nonprofit organization work differently. They don’t sell anything. Not because they are awful at selling, but as their name indicates, they do not aim to make profit. Instead, they serve a greater good by helping others in ways that most of the time don’t benefit themselves. Yet, they function like normal companies as they have people, processes and information to manage. But who is willing to develop solutions for such companies and their alternative business processes? Everyone knows these organizations have rather tight budgets. Thus, they are not always eager to spend a lot of money on software. Well, as a famous man with a black cape and mask once said: “Don’t underestimate the (Sales)force”.

In this article I explain why Salesforce is the perfect fit for every business. Even if your business does not use traditional sales processes. I also talk about the unique way in which Salesforce supports charities. Finally, you’ll learn what a nonprofit organization can expect from Salesforce. Oh yeah, there will also be sandcastles, a gorgeous model and free stuff. Let’s go!

The power of the platform

Salesforce is what they call a PaaS or Platform as a Service (just remember the word ‘platform’). This means that Salesforce provides an environment and tools to business users and developers. They use these resources to build applications that align flawlessly with their business requirements. Meanwhile, Salesforce takes care of important things such as patches, upgrades and security. To make you a bit more familiar with these terms, follow me on a trip to the local park.

We leave the busy street and walk down a small path alongside the trees and people walking their dogs. Then we arrive at the playground. Here we see a sandbox (the environment). You immediately notice this is not a ordinary sandbox. It is huge and has a large variety of buckets, shovels and molds available for the kids to play with (tools). Furthermore, guards are surrounding the sandbox together with rain and wind shields (security). One child discovers a bucket with a hole in its bottom. No problem: someone fixes the bucket immediately (patches). Last, but not least a big truck delivers fresh sand, new molds and stronger guards every four months (upgrades). The only thing the children have to worry about is … building a beautiful sandcastle to make their mothers proud.

Thus, using the functionalities the Salesforce platform offers, you can build a custom solution for every need. It doesn’t matter if you sell products or services, or if your business model is B2B or B2C. The Salesforce platform benefits all types of organizations. You don’t believe me? Take a look at these incredible statistics. If you are curious about where these numbers come from, read the customer success stories. Companies like the Red Cross, Coca Cola and Amazon explain how Salesforce helps to improve their business. You can also take a look at the how we handled specific business cases from our top clients by visiting the customer cases page on our website.

Salesforce nonprofit success metrics

source: https://www.salesforce.com

Dial 1-1-1 for charity

There are various ways in which you or a business can support charity organizations. You could donate some of your money for those who need it more than you do. Also, you could offer your time. A lot of charities organize events where anyone’s help is highly appreciated. Trust me, for many charity organizations someone’s time is more valuable than his or her money. Another way to help is for a company to give away some of their products of services for free. We can all agree doing one of these actions is good. But what if you wish to be great?

Salesforce is not only famous for their number one CRM platform. They are also known for something they call the 1-1-1 model. Each year the company donates 1% of their equity and 1% of their product to charity. Furthermore, Salesforce’s employees spend 1% of their employee time assisting nonprofit organizations. “Giving back” is not something one guy in an expensive suit at the finance department does by cramming numbers into a computer. Salesforce built philanthropy into their business model and it involves everybody. The company’s founder, Marc Benioff, once said “The business of business is not business. The business of business is improving the state of the world”.

This all sounds terrific. Yet, so does an application stating “high paying job”. “Show me the numbers!”, I hear you thinking. Prepare to be dazzled, because in the past 18 years Salesforce has granted more than 168 billion dollar to charity. Over 32.000 nonprofits are using Salesforce for free. Finally, employees spent 2.3 billion hours helping nonprofit organizations worldwide. In a sense, we could say that buying Salesforce licenses is a way of “giving back”.

Salesforce's pledge 1% modell

Source: http://www.salesforce.org/pledge-1/

The icing on the cake

So, what can a nonprofit organization expect from Salesforce? I would like to say they get the all the functionalities the Salesforce platform has to offer. And, on top of that, they can enjoy the same features companies like Facebook or General Electric pay hundreds of dollars for. Unfortunately, this would be lying. A nonprofit receives all these, and more!

When a regular company buys Salesforce licenses, it typically costs that company 150 EUR per user per month (chances are you already discovered high quality goods are not free … or are they?). Meanwhile, a nonprofit can apply for 10 free user licenses. After approval, the organization not only gets access to their own environment. They receive a special package called the NonProfit Success Pack as well.

What is the NonProfit Success Pack?

The NonProfit Success Pack is a collection of added functionality, designed for nonprofit organisations. It includes functionalities for managing households and organisations. You can, for instance:

  • Create new households effortlessly;
  • Split them up (e.g. when the children go their own way);
  • Define relationships between the household members or between a household member and an organisation;
  • And much more…

The NonProfit Success pack can even help with event organization. With Salesforce, nonprofit organizations are able to search for contacts that meet specific volunteering criteria. For example, they can ask for a list of contacts who are available during the weekends and are willing to help with serving food and drinks. Users can then email these contacts and ask them if they would like to subscribe to a specific shift on the shift calendar. This feature lists all shifts for an event and can be made available on the organization’s website.

One last feature I’d like to mention is donation management. Since nonprofit organizations don’t make profit, they have to live off something else. Besides the money coming from events, nonprofits mainly rely on donations made by people or other organizations. These donations come in different forms: one-time donations, recurring donations and even big donations spread over a couple of months. The NonProfit Success Pack allows to register these types in a clear and simple way.

If free users licenses and amazing extra functionality wasn’t already enough, Salesforce has one more present to hand over. Thanks to Power of Us Hub, users from different nonprofit organizations have the means to interact with each other. This online community allows users to ask questions, share resources and so much more.

Let’s take out our calculators: 10 free user licenses + NonProfit Success Pack + Power of Us Hub = best deal ever!


This article focuses on what Salesforce can do for nonprofit organizations. Even so, I hope it’s clear that every type business can enjoy the possibilities it offers. Recall that Salesforce is a platform. Thus, its functionality isn’t limited to what is available at the time you buy licenses. Anything that isn’t available, you can build one way or another.

Also, when a nonprofit (or any other company) buys Salesforce licenses, they not only get a great software solution. These companies become part of a community called the Power of Us. Here, they can ask questions, look for documentation and find training material. Moreover, they can engage with other nonprofit organisations and connect with their employees.

Finally, I want to emphasize once more that for Salesforce, as a company, philanthropy is crucial. It is not a side activity, it is part of Salesforce’s business model. The company does not only give away a lot of money. It also gives away a lot of its products for free. Moreover every employee spends a couple of days per year helping nonprofits worldwide. To say the least, Salesforce is a special company with a mission to improve the state of the world.

The world is a special place filled with wonders. The time is now to join the Salesforce community and improve the state of the world with Salesforce. Get in touch for your Salesforce package by clicking here.

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