Salesforce does not necessarily sound like something most associations or charities should think of when they are considering a system to manage donors or members, but if you think that then maybe it is time to take another look.
Over the last decade Salesforce.com has grown to become possibly the biggest name in web-based business applications – in 2009 they had an income of over $US 1 billion.
By being open and innovative Salesforce.com has managed to create more than just a single application, it has created a whole environment for anyone to create their own software. At the heart of everything is a powerful CRM system that can be tailored to suit almost any business or not-for-profit organisation.
To make it more attractive, any not-for-profit organisation that meets the criteria should receive a free ten user licence. The full story is at www.salesforcefoundation.org/products/donation
So where’s the catch? To be honest there isn’t one.
Salesforce is a web-based/Software as a Service (SaaS) system, which means that software is not physically located. For many organisations this will be a benefit – backups, updates and security are all someone else’s problem.
With Salesforce data is easy to download, so some of those issues can be mitigated – as long as you have your data you can move somewhere else if you really needed to.
As a web-based company, Salesforce can be easily linked into other web-based systems and, new features and facilities are being added all the time.
Salesforce also has a support service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The other benefit of the company being so widely used is that Google will often have an answer to even the fiddliest of issues.
To see some examples of not-for-profits that have successfully implemented Salesforce look at the section for ‘Nonprofit, Education, & Public Sector’ on their website.
More information can be found at appiChar.
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