One of the greatest challenges for charities is maintaining the relationship with their donors. It is an up-hill struggle to get folk to part with their names and addresses. Then there is all the challenge of dealing with the actual donations. Who are your largest donors? Who should be chased to increase their donation?
It is all a challenge and often people try to solve it with spreadsheets, typically Microsoft Excel.
This is fine while just one person is looking after all the data, but once you have more staff it becomes a nightmare. People have their own lists of donors. Which one has the correct address? Donors get annoyed when they have to repeatedly ring to get their address details updated (because their address is on several spreadsheets and they do not all get updated on the first call). Eventually they give up! Another donor lost.
That is where a solution such as Salesforce can help. Don’t let the name put you off – Salesforce provides lots of (free) customisation to set it up for use by charities. This customisation can be further refined to meet your own requirements. There is no installation on the users’ computers (as long as they have a web browser, such as Internet Explorer or Safari, and an internet connection). They can use Apple computers, Windows or Linux – all of the grunt work is done in the Salesforce data centres. This is even better news for you – you can use older computers without fear — you do not need the latest, speediest one. If the computer dies, all your data is safe with Salesforce. All your staff can have access to your data at the same time, without fear of conflicts or over-writing data.
How much does all this cost. Well, if you are a small charity, the cost may be zero. For larger charities, there is a significant discount on the commercial price.
You get access to a state-of-the-art product, customised to charities for free (subject to an approval process).
The product is not only used by charities but by multi-national companies so, unlike other products, it is continually being improved using the revenue from those large companies. Other products aimed at charities only have the R & D budget from the sales to charities. Salesforce provides three updates a year included in the price. These are installed automatically, at weekends, and typically cause up-to five minutes of downtime. I would like to bet that your current system is not that easy to maintain and that it has a lot more downtime than that!