Learn How Nonprofits Use Salesforce

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Describe common use cases for how nonprofits use Salesforce solutions.
  • Discuss nonprofit use cases.

Driving Impact with Salesforce

Just like commercial companies, nonprofit organizations are a mix of big and small. They’re diverse in their missions and operations, and they’re located all over the world. But ultimately, all nonprofits have one thing in common: a mission to make the world a better place.

But changing the world isn’t easy.  Nonprofits work to solve some of the toughest global, social, and local problems we face.  More and more organizations are using Salesforce to drive key operations, including Program Management, Fundraising, and Constituent Engagement.

Program Management

Nonprofits deliver on their mission through their programs, which can be as diverse as managing a homeless shelter, providing job training, operating a health clinic, hosting art exhibits, matching struggling students with tutors, organizing beach cleanups—the list goes on.  

In many instances, nonprofits rely on spreadsheets and manual workflows, approvals, and reporting that can create information silos and slow the critical work of program delivery, but with Nonprofit Cloud, organizations manage all this within Salesforce to gain a full view of their work, their constituents, and their impact.

A woman volunteering to serve food to a person experiencing homelessness.

For example, let’s say there’s an organization serving people experiencing homelessness that operates multiple shelters while providing food assistance, mental health services, and job training. The organization tracks a lot of sensitive information about their clients, including education level, employment history, mental health history, and medications. 

Salesforce is a great solution for capturing, tracking, and sharing pertinent information about clients between departments. Access to sensitive data can be limited to authorized users. Leadership can see how many clients they serve, which services are used most, and the progress that clients are making toward their individual goals (e.g. finish education, get a job, treat addiction).

With Salesforce, the organization can also monitor how many shelter beds are available in real-time, so no one is turned away when there’s an available bed. There are countless ways Salesforce can help nonprofits deliver on their missions more effectively and efficiently. 


Most nonprofits also engage in some type of fundraising because they’re not able to charge clients for the services they provide. Environmental groups can’t bill Mother Earth for their advocacy activities! Likewise, people experiencing homelessness generally can’t afford to pay for their stay at a shelter. Instead, nonprofits raise money in the form of donations from individuals, companies, and foundations to pay for their operations. Let’s look at a real-life example of a nonprofit that uses Salesforce for fundraising. 

Adim Adim (“Step by “Step”) is a nonprofit based in Turkey. They organize charity runs as a way to get more Turkish citizens involved in charitable giving. Historically, only about 10 percent of charitable giving has come from individual donors, and they’re trying to change that. 

Two runners wearing Adim Adim shirts run down a road with their hands clasped above their heads in a victorious gesture.

Like many nonprofits before them, Adim Adim started out using spreadsheets to manage their data. They quickly found themselves having to track and update 65,000 rows of data in spreadsheets and Pivot tables. This made scaling their mission virtually impossible.

So, Adim Adim implemented Nonprofit Cloud to centralize data about runners, donors, and their nonprofit partners. Plus, they built an app on Salesforce to accept donations online and give real-time visibility on donations as they come in. The app also provides leaderboards, badges, and awards to keep runners motivated as they train and fundraise.

With Salesforce, Adim Adim increased the number of charity runners by 212%, the number of donors by 183%, and the total funds raised by 127% in 2016. Since then, they’ve grown their runners and donations by an average of 30% per year. 

Constituent Engagement

In the course of managing their programs and raising money to pay for operations, nonprofits engage with a wide variety of stakeholders. These include the clients they serve through their programs and the individual, corporate, and foundation donors that help pay for their programs. 

For nonprofits, engagement includes many different tactics designed to move a prospect or constituent to action. An organization might use direct mail to solicit donations, an email newsletter to recruit volunteers, and social media to start a conversation about a pertinent issue. 

Young man wearing a graduation cap and gown hugging woman also wearing a cap and gown.

Let’s imagine there’s an organization dedicated to raising money to provide scholarships for low-income students who need help paying for college. They offer scholarships to students studying a variety of fields, including computer science. 

With Salesforce, the organization can use data to segment its donors in meaningful ways. For example, they might run a report in Salesforce that reveals a large segment of their donors works in technology. These donors might be interested in funding scholarships for computer science and other technology-related fields. In their next fundraising email campaign, they could personalize the email content to this group to include an opportunity to donate to a scholarship fund for computer science majors. 

As you can see, Salesforce is a powerful tool for helping nonprofits to manage their programs, fundraise to pay for their services, and engage key constituents. 


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