Salesforce: It’s for foundations too

Nonprofits exist to lift people up and help solve the most difficult problems facing our communities. But to do that, they need the right tools. Foundations in particular face a distinct set of challenges that require multifaceted business management systems to achieve success. Thankfully, Salesforce has the capability to do just that. Here’s a look at what makes foundations so unique and how Salesforce can be a powerful tool in furthering their vital work.

Foundations have unique needs

Foundations aren’t like other nonprofits. While most nonprofits are focused on bringing in donations, foundations also pay money out in the form of grants. This creates distinct needs in terms of financial management. But that’s not the only difference. Some of the unique needs of grantmaking organizations include:

  • Grant application and review processes
  • Tracking both incoming and outgoing funds
  • Audit and reporting requirements
  • Maintaining ongoing relationships with grantees

To accomplish these objectives, foundation directors need to develop sound business processes and strategies. But these challenges get even more complex when you delve deeper into the world of community foundations.

Community foundations

Community foundations are public charities that serve a defined geography with the goal of providing tools and resources to meet the needs of people in that area. Community foundations often operate multiple funds under one umbrella, each with their own distinct operational, reporting and audit requirements. Community funds also deliver programs like economic development, early childhood education and other community development initiatives.

Because foundations operate differently than other nonprofits, they also require unique tools and strategies to effectively support their mission.

Delivering effective solutions

Southwest Initiative Foundation Redpath knows what foundations need to succeed and has implemented solutions for many grantmaking organizations. For example, Redpath worked with the Southwest Initiative Foundation (SWIF), a regional foundation that manages 28 community foundations along with more than 120 donor advised, school, agency and other funds, with total net assets of $83.4 million.

SWIF needed to track the money they were managing, the disbursements against the funds, money coming in through gifts, and assess and manage a loan program. But their outdated software and databases didn’t integrate with their accounting systems and required manual data management that handcuffed their internal team.

Redpath helped SWIF modernize their business processes by creating a Path to Success that involved implementing an integrated CRM system. This provided a 360-degree view of their constituency such as loans, funds, grants, donations, transactions and reports. The new system also saved hours of time across the organization by maintaining all data in a single source of truth. By standardizing their business and streamlining internal processes, Redpath was able to transform SWIF as an organization. The foundation is now more agile and has the tools it needs to more effectively deliver on its core mission.

Salesforce tips for foundations

Successfully leveraging Salesforce to accomplish your foundation’s goals is made easier by adhering to a few key best practices:

Keep it simple

Use standard objects that come out of the box with Salesforce. If you see a need beyond those capabilities, leverage applications and tools already built from the app exchange. If you think you need a specific tool, chances are someone has already built it, and many of the app exchange items are free.

Connect with the Salesforce grantmaking community

As most nonprofits know, we are all stronger when we work together. That’s why it’s important to connect with the Salesforce grantmaking community. These groups are an invaluable resource of information and provide a forum for nonprofit leaders to discuss foundations’ common set of needs within Salesforce. Some of the best community resources include:

Connect with Redpath

Simply put, Redpath has the experience and expertise to solve your foundation’s unique challenges so you can spend less time on business processes and more time serving your community. By leveraging our knowledge and skill, you can streamline your organization and be more efficient in delivering the resources and support your community needs to thrive.

To see more success stories about how all types of nonprofits have improved operations with Salesforce, download our Guide to Nonprofits in the Cloud.

Nonprofits in the Cloud - Redpath

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