Demystifying online petitions for the seasoned advocacy pro or the curious nonprofit newbie

Webinar: How Global Fund for Women engaged
more than 20,000 people for women and girls

Wednesday, May 6th
1:00 – 2:00 pm ET
Register to Attend!

Online petitions can be a great strategy to rally support for a cause and spark social change – all while building excitement for your mission, boosting donations, and dramatically growing your supporter list.

But where do you start and what do you need to succeed?

Get the answers to these questions and more as Laura Shapiro, Director of Digital Engagement for Global Fund for Women, dishes on what led to the success of IGNITE: Women Fueling Science and Technology, a campaign to create more equitable access to tech for women and girls worldwide that garnered more than 20,000 signers.

Global Fund petitions webinar

Webinar: How Global Fund for Women engaged
more than 20,000 people for women and girls

Wednesday, May 6th
1:00 – 2:00 pm ET
Register to Attend!


Soapbox Events available on AppExchange

Fresh on the heels of Soapbox Petitions being added to the AppExchange, we’re pleased as punch to share that Soapbox Events has joined it there as well!

Soapbox Events

Through clicks not code, Soapbox Events provides simple yet powerful online event management tools integrated with Salesforce. That combination makes it a rare bird. Just ask Justin Birdsong, Manager or Technology Product Development for the Cultural Data Project:

“Soapbox Events is a really, really excellent tool. I spent about 6 months researching different options and looked at everything from free bolt-ons to paid apps to full-scale customized consulting projects, and frankly, nothing really fit the mold unless we were prepared to spend tens of thousands.”

If you’re interested in learning more, check out our listing on the AppExchange or explore the full suite of Soapbox Engage online engagement tools.


Soapbox Petitions now available on AppExchange

We’re happy to announce that Soapbox Petitions is now available on the AppExchange!

Soapbox Petitions Read more »


Nonprofits Need Mobile, Part 1: Getting Serious ahead of “Mobilegeddon”

In late February, Google announced a significant change to its search algorithm. While it usually doesn’t talk much about how its crawlers review Web pages, this particular change was worthy of notice because it will affect essentially every website, including one run by your nonprofit. Starting April 21, Google’s search algorithm will have greater focus on “mobile friendliness” in determining page rank. In particular, when supporters look for you on their mobile devices, your page rank will be greatly affected by whether your site has a full level of optimization. That means less visitors and fewer people getting interested in your cause if your site isn’t optimized. Nonprofit content management tools with mobile device optimization in mind can help you manage this significant change to the way your supporters see you.

An impact event

Many online publications, including Entrepreneur Magazine, are already calling this “mobilegeddon.” There’s a good reason for that: While the two largest algorithm changes, Panda and Penguin, were significant, they didn’t have that much scope. They were usually targeting websites that were attempting to game the search engine to score page views based on faulty or malicious content. On the other hand, this update will impact every site on the searchable Web, including regular websites. More importantly, there has been an increase in mobile searches, garnering up to 60 percent of all searches according to comScore. That’s a lot of supporters looking to see your work. If you’re not thinking about mobile already, this should be the kick in the pants that gets you going.

Starting April 21, this little device is going to matter a lot more.Starting April 21, this little device is going to matter a lot more.

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How to make your cause compelling to millennials

This past week, the South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Festival hosted a panel on nonprofit organizations, called “Activism At Its Best.” In it, the main question was: What can organizations do to increase online engagement among potential supporters? This is an especially big question when it comes to the one demographic that everyone likes to talk about but nobody seems to grasp: millennials. You can’t just coast on your name anymore, especially because there are so many organizations out there that are trying to do what you’re doing. Instead, your cause is the focus, since their interest in you is often based on that alone. You have to reach out to them, rather than the other way around. Nonprofit CRM software can assist by giving you better ways to effectively communicate with them.

Go for the connection

When building up that connection, it’s important to have a strategy that invokes the cause as much as possible. At the SXSW panel, Hilary Gridley of noted that her organization’s template for drawing in supporters is defined as, “Know it. Plan it. Do it. Prove it.” This model of thinking taps into the ideal of actions taking a personal agenda, according to The Nonprofit Times. Similarly, you should have a strategy for your nonprofit’s mission that is built on people doing things for their own sake, not just for the greater good of the cause.

What are you doing to make your cause personal for millennials?What are you doing to make your cause personal for millennials?

Another way to interest millennials is direct communication and support. Young people, who have grown up on social media, feel a need to be more connected to the cause and people that influence their beliefs. Lori Painter of PETA turned her nonprofit’s site into a source that coaches people who are interested in supporting animal rights, but aren’t sure how to really do it. While you don’t need to overhaul your site and staffing to reflect how to help with your cause, you can be supportive by simply answering emails or social media posts.

“Even if you don’t have full time staff, just take the time to respond and listen, that’s the way to build relationships,” Painter said.

Provide a more direct way to give

Just as much as your organization develop a more personalized agenda among supporters, donors should be treated in a similar manner. According to Network for Good’s Millennial Donor Playbook, you should determine if you’re doing enough for your organization to create a connection with potential donors. Millennials can be an impulsive bunch, acting in the moment. Playing to that aspect through pictures and video can help push these people to contribute to your cause in some way.

More importantly, you should be able to give these millennials the means to explain themselves when they act on the cause. This includes explaining where exactly their donations went in a way that is transparent and succinct. For example, after the contribution is made, send the donor a video that shows your organization conducting a mission backed by monetary gifts. After seeing who benefits from donations, millennials can share the cause with others, making your more compelling to people everywhere.


3 ways Salesforce can fundamentally transform your nonprofit operation

As a nonprofit, why would you need a “sales” database and a customer relationship management software solution? CRM software, such as Salesforce, and integrated technologies can help you not just run your organization more quickly and effectively, but also help you grow and sustain relationships.

Simplify your operation – and make your life easier – by consolidating processes

Tal Frankfurt, founder and CEO of Cloud for Good, shared a personal anecdote with Beth Kanter, author of Beth’s Blog: How Nonprofits Can Use Social Media, that captures what nonprofit life may look like for many in the sector: As a nonprofit resource manager, he inherited a hodgepodge of project management and data-management tools, ranging from Excel to Constant Contact.

The result? A vast, unruly donor database that gave the organization very little actionable insight into their constituent relationships. Sounds like quite the headache.

Using the Salesforce Foundation’s philanthropic model (allowing a number of free Salesforce licenses), Frankfurt was able to not only consolidate data using Salesforce, but track every donor interaction as well – giving them an “institutional memory,” enabling personal communication with a diverse range of constituents.

Instead of spending time maintaining parallel databases and interacting with multiple interfaces, Salesforce empowered stakeholders to spend more time nurturing relationships. By no stretch of the imagination, Frankfurt’s organization doubled its donation-related income within the first year.

Crowdfund your own campaign without the scary cost

Groundwork Opportunities (GO), a nonprofit charity that invests in health care, education and environmental ideas, seeks out leaders in neglected communities around the globe and provides them the support they need to bring their ideas to life.

According to Bart Skorupa, GO’s executive director, crowdfunding platforms were originally used to raise funds online, which was OK – at least at first.

During one of their first projects, as outlined in a Salesforce Foundation e-book, GO raised $12,000 for a biogas plant in Uganda. The drawback? Crowdfunding platforms charge fees – and depending on how much money you raise, those fees could be significant. Very significant.

By using <a  data-cke-saved-href=By using Salesforce, nonprofits become stronger and more focused.

“So suddenly we owed $850 for the privilege of using the platform,” Skorupa cited. “We thought at that point, how hard would it be to build our own crowdfunding platform?”

GO learned that, utilizing Salesforce‘s campaign feature, it didn’t need to use crowdfunding to receive donations. Instead, the nonprofit could run its own crowdfunded campaign directly from its site – without fees – by connecting the site with the CRM via a simple data bridge. That meant more of the money raised would go toward the causes it was intended for instead of supporting a third-party crowdfunding platform. Sounds like a win to us.

There are many integration tools available to nonprofits to streamline and automate Salesforce operations. Some solutions involve complex coding challenges that nonprofits may not be suited to tackle or have the budget for which to pay. Luckily, platforms like Soapbox Engage exist so you can easily create and build online engagement tools that integrate with Salesforce at a nonprofit-friendly price.

Ignite cultural shifts across your organization

Another successful tale of Salesforce CRM adoption comes from Hopeworks ‘N Camden, a nonprofit that introduces technological solutions and training to at-risk youth living in Camden, New Jersey.

According to Hopeworks N’ Camden Executive Director Rev. Jeff Puthoff, the No. 1 benefit of switching to a Salesforce CRM is the meaningful engagement it makes possible with constituents, as cited in the Salesforce Foundation e-book.

Before, Puthoff said his staff used an Excel spreadsheet, which was time-consuming to update. Nor could it track specific information. Puthoff explained this disorganization made it difficult to locate information, much less use it effectively.

Not anymore.

Now much of the organization’s operation is automated, pushing volunteers to new levels of engagement. Surprisingly, however, something else began happening, too.

Using Salesforce’s Chatter feature, employees began to communicate much more effectively with one another, increasing collaboration and sharing.

“Chatter is ultimately a cultural change,” Puthoff said. “It’s about understanding data, and defining opportunities, and grasping the importance of transparency and power structures. It’s a new kind of stream, much different from email, and learning how to use it can take some time…Culturally, as an organization, we need to understand that we have relationships with each of our volunteers, our donors, our trainees, and those relationships need to be managed with care. Salesforce and Chatter are helping us do that.”

Employing Chatter, Puthoff and his team organized a “reduce the murder rate” campaign. By sharing information and data across the organization, the nonprofit was able to successfully campaign an effort to combat the city’s murder rate.

Be it consolidating data, making data more actionable and flexible to the needs of your nonprofit or igniting a shift toward a more socially engaged organizational culture, Salesforce is a powerful ally when it comes to nonprofit management. And everyone needs allies.


2 free Salesforce apps for the nonprofit accidental techie

It can be challenging to handle all the tech roles for your nonprofit. This is especially the case if you were given the role just because you happen to know your way around a computer. You likely want access to a few programs that will make it easier for you to manage your constituent and volunteer data. A reliable nonprofit CRM can help you with the most important tasks, such as managing donations and events, and with Salesforce as that CRM, you have at your disposal a great many apps that can make your job even easier. Here are two free apps that can aid with some of the tasks that come with running the technical side of your organization.

When working multiple tech roles, free nonprofit apps always help.When working multiple tech roles, free nonprofit apps help.

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Presence Social Impact appears as latest Soapbox Engage Partner

Presence Social Impact logoWe’re proud to welcome Presence Social Impact as the latest Soapbox Engage Salesforce Partner.

Presence is a dream team of Salesforce consulting rock stars serving nonprofits and socially responsible businesses. Here’s a quick work from them on what gets them up in the morning:

Presence Social Impact is focused on building solutions and software tools for nonprofit and B Corp clients. We believe all organizations should have access to great technology — especially those working on some of the world’s toughest problems: poverty, education, equality, and the environment.

Well, fancy that! WE believe that, too! And we’re happy to team up with Presence to work to make that a reality.

If your firm is interested in becoming a certified Soapbox Engage Partner, check out the Soapbox Engage Partner program details and submit your application today!


4 tips for energizing your volunteers through email

Large nonprofits often have passionate volunteers who are eager to help out. There are a lot of different ways to engage and inspire those volunteers. With more young volunteers looking to their mobile devices for information, it may seem like social media is the key to success. However, good old email can be enough to get people going, assuming you follow some best practices. Nonprofit CRM software can help make this happen through automating many important processes.

The right email messaging will keep your volunteers engaged.The right email messaging will keep your volunteers engaged.

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2 innovative ways to leverage the power of cause awareness days

If you work for a charity or nonprofit, chances are, there's a day in the calendar year that's dedicated to your organization's cause. According to NP Tech for Good, 64 known cause awareness days take place throughout the year. With two months worth of causes, it's a lot of recognition to go through. That's not even including some of the awareness months out there. The cause days are so frequent that some causes share the same day. Consider our personal favorite, World Penguin Day, which shares April 25 with World Malaria Day. Okay, it's not the best, but we'll take it.

So how do you play up your cause over the course of that day? Preparation helps, but here are a couple specific ways of going about it.

Embrace the hashtag and push the cause through social media

Over the past few years, social media is making a strong impact on how nonprofits engage with members, donors and other constituents. About 47 percent of people polled by nonprofit firm Avectra said that they found out about a cause through social media and other online channels. Social networks amazing results, according to communications firm Weggener Edstrom: 55 percent of people who engaged with a cause on social media undertook further action in the form of giving a donation or volunteering. There's meaning to that #WorldPenguinDay hashtag, after all.

But how do you leverage the hashtag? The best way is through storytelling. That's your strong point, after all: When you speak about a cause, you're spinning a yarn about something that has gone wrong and you want to fix. By telling a story, you get people interested in what you have to say and, more importantly, what you do. A powerful tale will stir the right emotions – feelings of joy, sorrow or anger – that will spur people to action. It's so effective that 56 percent of people who read a story on social media will be inspired to do more and take some form of action, according to the Weggener Edstrom survey.

Bring out the cause champions to preach the news

While using an awareness day can raise your profile significantly, you need cheerleaders who aren't from your organization to spread the word, too. Consider the Ice Bucket Challenge in 2014: Families of ALS victims were the ones who started the viral phenomenon, with the ALS Foundation only joining in later.

These cause champions – people who support and preach the mission to others - are the ones getting the word out on your behalf, and not because they're a part of your organization and feel obligated. They do it because they truly believe in the cause. Combining social media with these champions can transform them into bullhorns for your cause.

Engaging with cause champions can help you in many ways. And you can help them better spread the word. If they have an event planned, you can use it as a springboard to make your day a more engaging one for constituents and visitors. Either way, these people will help you both directly and indirectly in getting people interested in your cause before, during and after its awareness day.