What it takes to implement Salesforce for NGO?

When I spoke with SeyitBek on his Salesforce Chef podcast, I told him that I started my Salesforce career in the non-profit world and grow from there. Also a lot of people when they are looking how to start in this ecosystem are recommended to do implementatio for NGO, as the feeling is, that the requirements are pretty simple. And then there is a lot of people with the non-profit experience who warns agains it, because when you do mistake on such implementation, that organisation doesn’t have money to repair it.

The stakes are just too high to try untested skills on a nonprofit’s or a school’s org. Please, only volunteer your current Salesforce expertise.

Lucy Mazalon, Salesforce Ben

What does it take to implement Salesforce for non-profit in Czech Republic?


I would say this is where we start with every single organisation – their donors and donations. It looks simple at first, but it also means integration with banks and on-line donor portals, maybe things like direct debits.

If you want to replicate it, the actual configuration is simple, but you need to develop a lot of custom integrations. If I count correctly we (at CRM pro neziskovky) support around 10 local banks plus Darujme, our biggest on-line donor portal.

It also includes confirmations of gifts, which are needed in Czech Republic on yearly basis.

And slowly but surely it goes towards automation – thank you letters, birthday emails, name days, you name it. Very often we get stuck here – not because it is hard to do, but because they can get complicated. When, to whom, from which email, what if they don’t want our newsletter, what if …


This year the Gmail/Outlook integration get more popular, especially with organisations doing the corporate fundraising. They are aware that they should share the info and that maybe the forwarding of emails is not the way to go.


From fundraising you slowly touch the marketing part. Because you need to show the fundraiser that they are now able to segment the donors, that it can work automatically and dynamically – so far they mark each of them manually and were happy to change it every then and now, but the system can do it for them.

This means reporting, campaign management, show them that they can calculate ROI, that they can segment more and play with different call to actions.

This usually doesn’t mean you need to be marketer or that you will do Marketing Cloud/Pardot or connect with social networks, usually we are not that far.

Grant Management

There are typically three types of fundraiser – individual, corporate and grant. Individual is the typical one I covered above, we don’t usually care much about corporate fundraisers for some reason, but we care about grants a lot.

List of grants which might be open, those they applied for, won or lost, which needs the report how it was used and all the paper work around.

The part they most like about grants is, that the system can notify them when something has to be done.


The next big topic are volunteers. They have all their contacts in Salesforce so it makes sense to have volunteers there as well. Some organisations even go that far that they record what tasks they gave them, rate them, monitor utilisation and such thing.

Usually our first debate – and „mistake“ I see a lot – is, that volunteers are some other „sort of people“, meaning they can be record type of contact in Salesforce or different object all together. And I always say NO, your volunteer most likely is your donor at the same time.

What is nice when you can link volunteers with grants – exactly my experience from one organisation where they had volunteers management in place and added grants and realised they can use grants to reward the volunteers and that they have all the details in the system and can report it automatically without any manual work.

Project Management

Not often we get here. It is great to see all the PM apps on AppExchange and it is usually on the wish list, but most organisations are not that structured to really use it or they already use Asana or Trello and are more than happy there.


It is getting to be normal. I already covered the integrations with banks, but here it is more about marketing automation (read MailChimp or SmartEmailing), some use Slack and feel it might be interesting to integrate.

How much work is it?

First of all – this is a marathon and people usually don’t foresee this. The typical implementation takes a few months. Not because it is that hard or that complex, but because the non-profits struggle with capacity. Our typical counterpart is the fundraiser who still need to get the money for the organisation and on top of that they are responsible for Salesforce implementation.

Quite often we can see that this is the first time people get their hands on such technology, which allow them things they never dreamt of, so the trainings are a bit challenging as well. I mean it looks simple to use but even those a few objects we typically implement – account, contact, campaign, activity and opportunity – are hard to grasp and fully understand.

And when we get to reporting and how we can filter data and play with different charts, that’s usually tought time, because they didn’t think about filtering and slicing the data they have.

All in all be prepared to spend a week of work over next 6 months if you are super quick and pushy, more likely it will take a year. At the same time we are able to do it in 24 hours as well.

Non-profit versus profit implementation

This is my favorite. I got my experience in the non-profit word and when I went through my first interview not many people appreciated it. Like – that’s not real experience.

After all those years I can say that most non-profits have better system in place than most normal companies. They do know how much their typical donor donate, when they donated last time, how much, how often.

Typical business company track all their opportunities but very little care about history, statistics, forecast and such thing. Which is quite surprising.

Business companies have more money for all those integrations, backup solutions, document generation but at the same time wants to save the money as well. So I would say in terms of 3rd parties apps the normal companies usually use about the same number of them as typical non-profit.

Trainings are being quicker for business companies. They are not that afraid of throwing their people and let them swim, at the same time it might mean they are not getting that big values. I would also say that typical NGOs will ask for help with reports for first a few months, which is not the case with companies.

I already covered the speed of the implementation. The typical implementation is about the same in complexity of the result (and I compare here NGO implementation run by one person to corporate implementation with 20+ people on the project) – the end result will be about the same, but the closure of the NGO project will be typically way later, there probably isn’t that strong push to get the ROI back as soon as possible.

I didn’t cover all the differences for sure, but these are the main observations I can put together after all those years. And I would be super interested in seeing how it compares to NGOs around the world. Maybe I’ll find out at the NonProfit Dreamin event which is being scheduled for the beginning of the next year!

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