For most nonprofits, their constituent relationship management (CRM) software serves as the foundation of their technology stack. Your nonprofit’s CRM houses important data like supporter information, donation records, and program results, so it’s vital that you use a CRM system that can scale with your organization’s needs. That’s where Salesforce comes in.

If you’ve considered Salesforce for your organization, you may have heard terms like Salesforce for Nonprofits, Nonprofit Cloud, and NPSP. Salesforce is one of the top CRM providers for nonprofits, but the array of products can be confusing if you don’t know where to start. To help you get a better understanding, this guide will break down:

Salesforce’s nonprofit products are complex, but any organization can reap the benefits with the right resources and technical support. Let’s dive in so you can discover if Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud is the right solution for you.

The Salesforce CRM

As you may already know, Salesforce isn’t just for nonprofits. Organizations, schools, and businesses across a variety of industries use the Salesforce CRM and its additional products for all of their data management needs. Salesforce offers solutions for sales, marketing, e-commerce, and more.

For nonprofits specifically, Salesforce currently offers two main products:

  • NPSP: The Salesforce Nonprofit Success Pack, commonly known as NPSP, is a managed package that essentially layers a variety of apps for nonprofits on top of the base Salesforce CRM. Until 2023, NPSP has been the standard nonprofit offering and is still used by thousands of organizations today.
  • Nonprofit Cloud: Introduced in March of 2023, the new Nonprofit Cloud isn’t a managed package—it’s one unified solution that’s built into the core of the Salesforce CRM, rather than layered on top of it. Nonprofit Cloud is its own base product, complete with native features from other industry clouds, and it was designed exclusively with nonprofits’ needs and goals in mind.

You may see both of these options referred to as Salesforce for Nonprofits, the general umbrella that all Salesforce products aimed at nonprofits fall under. This also includes popular add-ons like Marketing Cloud and Grants Management, which extend nonprofits’ Salesforce capabilities further.

Salesforce’s New Nonprofit Cloud

So why did Salesforce introduce a new product for nonprofits, and why would you implement Nonprofit Cloud instead of older, trusted offerings? According to Redpath Consulting Group, the new Nonprofit Cloud uniquely combines the best features of other industry clouds with nonprofit priorities into one unified solution to meet all your needs. This means that you’ll be able to leverage more features without customization.

Ultimately, you’ll want to do more research to decide which solution would be best for your organization, but this quick overview of what Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud has to offer should help you get started.

Key Features

With Nonprofit Cloud, you can access plenty of features and functionalities designed just for organizations like yours, including:

  • Donor management: Create robust donor profiles for each supporter so you can quickly access all the data your organization has about that person. Then, build a variety of donor segments to improve your outreach, communications, and relationship-building efforts.
  • Fundraising tools: Process online donations, track corporate sponsorships, and monitor the progress and success of your fundraising campaigns. Create and view robust reports from your fundraising dashboard, and streamline operational tasks so fundraising is easier for your team.
  • Program management: Track enrollment, attendance, participation, and outcomes for your nonprofit’s programs. Access reports in real-time and quickly view trends in program data from a centralized dashboard.

Don’t see a feature you want in the base product? There are plenty of native apps and integrations with other valuable nonprofit tools that you can add to your Salesforce instance. For example, say that you want to improve your communication strategy by texting donors important information, appeals, and updates. You can find a variety of text marketing apps in the Salesforce AppExchange and choose one that fits your needs.

Benefits for Nonprofits

The most impactful benefit of Nonprofit Cloud is housing all your organization’s data in one central location to get a 360-degree view of your donors. By seeing all the important information about a supporter in one place, you can get a better understanding of who each donor is and what interests them.

This understanding allows you to more easily find prospective major donors, create more personalized appeals, and ultimately improve your donor relationships to boost retention. According to eCardWidget’s donor retention guide, lack of personalized communication is one of the top reasons donors lapse, making the personalization features in Nonprofit Cloud all the more impactful.

Plus, while the Salesforce CRM is highly customizable (which some nonprofits love!), Nonprofit Cloud is tailor-made with all the most important features for nonprofits so you shouldn’t have to. This takes work off your team’s plate while providing options for the future if you do decide to customize the platform.

How to Get Started with Nonprofit Cloud

Sound like Nonprofit Cloud could be the right solution for you? To get started, you should first take time to think about your organization’s technology needs, goals, and budget. Make a list of priorities for what you want your nonprofit to accomplish with your new CRM, and discuss any budgetary considerations with your organization’s board and leadership.

Then, research potential Salesforce partners to work with. These technical experts can help you evaluate your options, determine if Nonprofit Cloud is the best fit, and even implement the CRM for you. As you research potential partners, pay special attention to:

  • Success stories and examples of their past work
  • Clouds they specialize in
  • Experience working with nonprofits
  • Nonprofit software expertise
  • Official Salesforce partner status

For the best results, don’t just look for any Salesforce partner who can help you implement a new CRM. Look for those who offer specialized nonprofit Salesforce consulting. Partners with hands-on experience working with nonprofits will be more familiar with nonprofit concerns and more qualified to help you meet your goals.

When implemented and used strategically, Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud can help your organization improve everything from daily operations to stewardship to outcomes reporting. If you have additional questions or need more information before deciding if Nonprofit Cloud could be for you, don’t hesitate to reach out to a consultant who can help.