With this week’s second inauguration of President Obama, and the announcement of the new Organizing for Action nonprofit, the world has seen first-hand that the future of advocacy is data, data, and data. As the President begins his second term, we’re likely to see the debate over important social issues of our time become even more competitive than before. Now is the time for organizations to gear up for the next wave of advocacy.
Earlier today, we covered how the Obama campaign successfully utilized it’s strong database tools to run important A/B communication testing to determine message effectiveness. While it’s going to be rare for an advocacy group to have the war chest of funds that the presidential campaigns had this year, there’s a powerful database tool that we believe is about to see a significant uptick in the advocacy world in 2013: Salesforce.com.
The question: how can your advocacy group get started using Salesforce, and even the open source Nonprofit Starter Pack (NPSP), to build a successful campaign database and platform?
Here’s three ideas you can implement right away to start using Salesforce for your advocacy work.
Every organization needs the lifeblood of financial funding running through it to keep up operations. Using Salesforce and the NPSP is an easy first step for organizations to manage their fundraising efforts. With the ability to track payments, both as credit card and checks, advocacy groups to can ensure they have an audit trail for all their incoming funds.
Using the Campaigns object in Salesforce, and maybe with the help of a few custom fields. an organization can create a petition tracking system. Pairing your Salesforce org with a form building tool (we prefer our Soapbox Engage service!), you can start collecting message of support from your constituents. If you have the right Web tools, you can even display the signatures of your petition campaign on your website, without needing to buy the contacts information of your supporters from a third party. Finally, simply build a report that enables you easily send the petitioners’ contact information to their intended targets.
May 2014 update: In November 2013, we released Soapbox Petitions, a powerful, mobile-friendly online petitions tool integrating with Salesforce.
Out of the box, Salesforce doesn’t make it easy to send mass email, which can definitely put a crimp in the style of any online organizer’s outbound communication campaign. So, as a first step, you’ll want to find the right mass marketing service to integrate with or work natively within Salesforce. I’ve covered the topic of choosing the right mass email tool for Salesforce on the Salesforce Foundation’s blog last week, so you’ll have plenty of direction to get you started there. If you’re looking for a tool that’s native to Salesforce, we’d definitely recommend checking out our Soapbox Mailer service, which is both easy to use and affordable for even the smallest budgets.
This is just the tip of the iceberg of how advocacy groups can use Salesforce. In 2013, we at PICnet are excited to roll out new advocacy features within our Soapbox Engage service, and we’re always interested in hearing how others would like to use Salesforce to meet their advocacy needs. What are some of the functionalities you see missing in Salesforce that could make it better for your advocacy group?