Following on from yesterday's blog post about Zoho, I've been working with Salesforce today, and thought I'd put up a quick post about its suitability for a frontline charity.
Salesforce, like Zoho, offers a free "way in" for charities - the first 10 licenses are free. However, unlike Zoho, the free version you get access to is just the same as the paid-for version, so I have to say that for a free CRM, Salesforce has the edge here. I've found that many charities have something of a fear of Salesforce, because it feels like a big corporation. We have an inherent mistrust (especially here in the UK) of big, faceless corporate entities. However, if you can find someone to steer you through the process of implementing it - like me! - then there's no reason that you can't get the best out of it.
Even with the Non Profit Success Pack enabled, which is intended to give you a head start on configuring Salesforce for a charity, the system appears quite sales-based, but it's possible to turn off the sections about "Leads", "Accounts" and so on if you want to.
The flexibility of Salesforce is where I was immediately impressed. For example, here's the standard "Deceased" field (bit of a bleak example to pick, but never mind), along with its help text.
Suppose that field doesn't quite do what you want - you need to distinguish between clients who are deceased, and clients who are deceased but you're still working with the family/estate. With a few minutes' work, I was able to implement this version:
This nicely illustrates the strength and also the danger of Salesforce. It's so customisable, you need to think through all the issues before you implement it - it's not going to be an easy-out-of-the-box system.
I'll be looking at Salesforce and Zoho more in future blog posts and a video series. Get in touch if you've got any particular questions.
Are you thinking of implementing Salesforce? I can help! Please get in touch for a chat.