What Nonprofits Need to Know About Data Flow
Getting a clear picture of how your nonprofit organization interacts with its participants is vital to the success of your peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns and events. To get that full and complete picture, it’s important to understand how your peer-to-peer fundraising software platform shares data with your constituent relationship management (CRM) system, donor database and/or database of record. This data integration is what allows you to see a complete view of interactions with your participants.
Peer-to-Peer Fundraising and Salesforce CRM
There’s a wealth of participant, donor and event metadata being captured in today's more sophisticated peer-to-peer platforms. Many of these platforms integrate with the popular CRM solution Salesforce and the Nonprofit Success Pack.
Choosing the right peer-to-peer fundraising platform for your organization and using it with Salesforce, you can see the entire engagement lifecycle of your constituents. If you’re using or considering using Salesforce CRM, there are several things you should think through when it comes to peer-to-peer fundraising platform integrations. In this article, we’ll take a look at one important factor: data flow.
How Does the Data Flow?
A major consideration when selecting software solutions to support your organization is how the data flows between the different solutions (peer-to-peer, email, events, advocacy, etc.) and your CRM system, or database of record. It is imperative to have up-to-date information in your CRM system, so your staff members can see a true and complete picture of every constituent’s profile and connection with your organization.
In many cases, data flow between your peer-to-peer tool and CRM system has multiple aspects to consider. For example, some peer-to-peer systems have robust email tools built into their platforms, while others rely on external email platforms for email content beyond basic auto-responder messages.
If your organization is using a third-party email tool, then data must also exchange between your peer-to-peer system and the email tool to allow for conditionalized and personalized email content. The path the data takes may be directly from the peer-to-peer platform to the third-party email tool, or it may go via your CRM system first.
To understand how data flows between any given peer-to-peer fundraising tool and Salesforce, it’s helpful to visualize how data is organized in Salesforce. Work with the vendors of the peer-to-peer platforms you’re considering to better understand how data is named and organized in Salesforce and to verify which objects and fields in the peer-to-peer platform interact with Salesforce.
In addition to knowing what data will flow between systems, it’s important to consider in what direction data will flow — from the peer-to-peer platform to Salesforce, the reverse or both — and how often the data will flow. The direction of data flow will determine where you need to enter offline transactions to ensure your peer-to-peer platform’s progress meters and your internal reporting are accurate.
Some important questions to think about:
- Data flow — In what direction does data flow (peer-to-peer platform to Salesforce, Salesforce to peer-to-peer platform, or bi-directional)?
- Frequency of sync — Does the synchronization happen in real time, on a regular schedule or based on a manual push?
- Offline transactions — Can offline transactions (registrations and/or donations) be entered in the platform and synchronized with Salesforce? If not, can they be entered in Salesforce and synchronized with the peer-to-peer platform, or does it require dual entry?
- Lightning-ready — Is the product compatible with Lightning, the component-based framework for Salesforce app development that allows for simplified processes and an optimized user interface?
- Sync cost — What are one-time and ongoing support integration costs?
Learn More About Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Platform Integrations With Salesforce
There are many peer-to-peer fundraising platforms that integrate with Salesforce and multiple things to consider when thinking about using one of these tools. Learn more about this topic in “The Nonprofit’s Guide to Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Platform Integrations with Salesforce.” The guide provides important considerations and background information to help you choose the right solutions for your nonprofit and take your peer-to-peer fundraising to new heights.
Mark founded Cathexis Partners in 2008 to help nonprofit organizations get the most from their existing technology tools, implement new technology to address gaps and find the best overall approach to using technology to support their missions. He previously served as director of IT consulting at a fundraising event production company focused on nonprofits.
Mark also serves on the editorial advisory board for NonProfit PRO, where he contributes monthly to his blog, “Nonprofit Tech Matters.”