It’s been just about a year to the day since I convinced C3’s Board of Directors adopt Salesforce.com as our main constituent database. No regrets. Sure, there are some glitches we’re still working around. But all in all, I think we’re miles ahead of where we would be with any other system…with more of our donors funds available for other projects.
This morning I attended the first meeting of the New York City Nonprofit Salesforce user group. I went to one regular Salesforce user group meeting in New York City last year and found it not a valuable use of my time. Me sitting there surrounded by IT/database folks of Fortune 500 companies with hundreds, if not thousands of users tracking sales and/or support issues. I gathered a kernel of information here and there, at best. Completely different vibe at today’s meeting. There were about 15-20 people around the table, including a few Salesforce Foundation employees. Every nonprofit was different in our missions, but we seemed to have a common desire to get the most out of our use of Salesforce without spending a fortune on consultants. Not quite the Salesforce Nonprofit Summit, but another clear example of Salesforce’s commitment to our sector. I’ve said this before, but Salesforce has never made me feel like a second class citizen because our organization gets their product donated. If anything, I feel more connected to the Salesforce community and support than I do to technology we pay for. Clearly Salesforce is building their Nonprofit channel to be something more than just a donation program for small organizations. Watch out Blackbaud.
Speak of which, last week we were talking with another organization about a project of theirs that we’d like to incorporate. She was saying that they do a lot of the data collection by hand because they use Raiser’s Edge and it would be difficult to customize their database to collect the kind of information this project requires. I quickly thought of our own Salesforce installation and what features I knew the product had and we weren’t using that would be perfect for this, and how many seconds it would take me to add the fields and reports needed to do what we wanted. I’m sure Raiser’s Edge could do it, too. But I guess this person had no idea how to implement it.
I’m really looking forward to my active participation with the group, and thanks to NPower NY for hosting the meeting. And thanks again to NPower NY for letting me use their cozy and quiet little room afterwards to take a conference call that I had no choice but to schedule immediately following the user group meeting.