How this nonprofit increased donations after switching to Salesforce

This blog was originally published by on March 23, 2022

PFLAG is the first and largest national chapter-based organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) people, their parents and families, and allies. PFLAG works to empower individuals to be proud of their identity. We uphold our vision by providing peer-to-peer support, educating people on the issues that are important to the community, and advocating for inclusive policies and laws. The PFLAG network consists of more than 400 chapters, which crosses nearly all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

I’m really proud of the work our organization does, but our old system was holding us back from really maximizing our potential — and our hundreds of chapters across the country. That’s the “why” behind our recent transition to Salesforce. Read about what pushed us to make this change, the challenges with our old system, and what we’re hoping to achieve with a digital transformation.

There were three main pain points we had with our previous system that pushed us to make the move to Salesforce.

  1. Gender Flexible Forms and Fields: We needed a broad range of fields to accommodate members’ diverse gender identities and we couldn’t have that on our forms with our old platform. This is such a very specific example, but it’s one that has a big impact for us and our community. The fact that we could not change this field previously was an indication of how little control we had. In addition to this hurdle, we also had a non-mobile friendly website with an outdated visual design that affected both user experience and our search engine optimization (SEO).
  2. Siloed Data: The fundraising database was not integrated with the website, leading to siloed data and a lack of intelligence about stakeholder engagement. This prohibited us from building important relationships with our community, including our donors and volunteers.
  3. Integration: We were looking for a CRM that could integrate more easily with the suite of tools we used for fundraising, email marketing, events, and advocacy work. We were focused on finding a solution that would work for us now, but also one that would adapt to our evolving needs in the future.

After conversations with several CRM providers, we decided to go with Salesforce. We found a system and an organization with the kind of innovation and detail that matched what we were looking for. In the next sections, read more about how we worked to bring our Salesforce implementation to life with Fionta, and the results that followed.

Salesforce implementation

Our team partnered with Fíonta, a partner, for our Salesforce implementation. Cindy Lackow, a senior Salesforce consultant with Fíonta, pinpointed four existing issues that needed to be addressed with the new system.

  1. Direct mail fundraising was relatively accurate in PFLAG’s legacy fundraising system, but membership updates were coming in through a clunky external tool that was hard to manage.
  2. Chapter rosters were updated largely via spreadsheet submissions and paper forms from volunteers in the field who preferred pen and paper because the existing digital tools were so clunky.
  3. Advocacy lists had to be manually compiled from the legacy systems and manually loaded into the marketing tool.
  4. Corporate fundraising rarely made it into the system, and when it did, the pledge status almost never agreed with finance. Board members and their contacts were often connected to both chapters and corporate donors, but those opportunities were obscured or staff were rowing in opposite directions.

Results following implementation

After onboarding to Salesforce, the changes were pretty immediate and the results were exciting. Here’s where we saw the most immediate improvements.

A Better Website: A visually appealing and responsive website, which was built on the open-source Drupal Content Management System (CMS), allowed us to better serve all of our audiences. Meanwhile, the multiple content types and dynamic feeds made it easier for our staff to manage everything internally.

Increased Donations: Integration with Salesforce powered our online donations, as well as the critical “Find a Chapter” functionality on our website. As a result, this increased traffic offered our PFLAG staff better insight into ROI on fundraising efforts and user engagement — something that will provide tremendous long-term value.

Chapter self-service: We implemented Salesforce Experience Cloud, which gave us a digital experience platform for our staff and their users. This allowed Experience Cloud to empower member and chapter self-service, with appropriate visibility for our staff and other key users.

With Salesforce, PFLAG was able to use technology to become a more efficient and effective nonprofit organization. They were able to get a clear view of their performance, revise and strategize based on real time data, and move forward with a stronger vision.

Learn more about Salesforce for Nonprofits