Fortunately, nonprofits are full of doers.  People who are willing to get it done. Folks who are accustomed to figuring things out. Staff that know how to do more with less.  Despite that drive and resourcefulness “bringing it in house” doesn’t always make sense.  Salesforce is one of the most powerful technology solutions available today and through the Salesforce Foundation, qualified non-profits can receive 10 donated subscriptions for Salesforce.  Surely someone on your staff can likely solicit the donated licenses, do some customization of Salesforce and work on your data import, but does that make the most sense?

Salesforce provides ample documentation to support an implementation.  A recent internet search for “Salesforce implementation” produced 1,150,000 results.  There is no shortage of information available if your staff has time and interest to plan and oversee the implementation, but should you? 

Salesforce’s own research identified the following Key Challenges organizations face.  The first two key challenges apply mainly to organizations who are just starting out on Salesforce.  They are:

#1: We didn’t know what we were getting into in terms of time, budget, or complexity.

#2: We didn’t know how or where to start.

The other key challenges happen throughout the Salesforce “life-cycle”.  Those are:

#3: Data migration and ongoing data management.

#4: Training or adoption for staff or leadership.

Even though Salesforce appears easy to set up and customize, proper planning is critical to a successful implementation.  Countless nonprofits have secured the donated Salesforce licenses but never bothered deploying the CRM due to either one of the aforementioned challenges or countless others that may arise.   

Use this checklist to see if your non-profit is equipped and ready for a successful Salesforce implementation on your own:

  • Do you have someone qualified to determine the requirements for your organization and end-users?
  • Do you have dedicated staff to oversee the planning and implementation?
  • Who will determine how best to customize fields, page layouts and reports in Salesforce?
  • Is your data clean and reliable so that it’s easily imported into Salesforce?
  • Do you have staff with the know how to create the reports you need?
  • Does your staff have time to explore thousands of apps available to expand Salesforce’s functionality in the App Exchange?
  • Do you have training staff ready to learn how to use Salesforce so they can train new users and drive adoption?

If you answered no or I don’t know to any of these questions, you might consider partnering with a consultant group like MMG to guide you through your Salesforce Implementation.  Organizations that partner with a Salesforce expert report quicker implementations, more impactful configuration, better training and greater user adoption.  In fact, many of our clients report cost savings, too.

It’s not that you can’t perform a Salesforce implementation, it’s deciding if it is the best use of your time and resources.  Nonprofits are doing important work.  Salesforce (and all technology) should help you do your work better, not distract you from it.