Clarity for FAD’s Nonprofit operations with Salesforce’s NPSP

Finnish Association of the Deaf (Kuurojen Liitto, FAD) is a national confederation of 36 member associations. FAD employs approximately 50 people. Their mission is to guarantee the realization of human rights and equal opportunities for deaf people. Their activities include e.g. support and advisory services, event organization, and other services for both community members and other stakeholders. But how to create clarity for Nonprofit operations with Salesforce?

Where did the development start for the Nonprofit organization?

FAD made the system procurement through a public tender, so the requirements had been carefully defined in advance by the customer and properly documented. After the project started, however, it was noticed in the requirements definitions that the preliminary definitions needed to be refined and clarified together to further serve the purpose of Salesforce®. You could always leave more time for the definitions and divide the sections into even smaller and more detailed steps, but the schedule frames often create their own challenges for this.

FAD’s need for system acquisition started with the need for a modern and efficient system solution for customer management and marketing automation. These have been developed especially for the changing overall needs of fundraising. At the same time, they wanted to connect the association’s other customer and order registers to Salesforce. All of which had previously been managed as their own individual entities.

They did not have much visibility with the overall picture and the donation potential was not utilized due to the siloed data. Numerous separate services and manual data processing in different processes were not efficient and did not serve the overall picture.

Ceili won the public tender based on scoring. That’s how FAD ended up using Salesforce’s NPSP and started cooperating with Ceili.

What does the Nonprofit organization do in practice with Salesforce?

The general goal of the project was to modernize the processes. When this was undertaken, a discussion had to be held first about which areas are reasonable and possible to automate and what this practically requires from both the customer and Ceili.

In addition to standard objects, such as Contact, Salesforce’s NPSP package includes various objects specifically intended for Nonprofit operations and fundraising purposes. For example, the needs of monthly donations have their own object, which a normal business company would not necessarily otherwise need.

Clarity for Nonprofit operations with Salesforce

Clarity for Nonprofit operations with Salesforce

The cooperation progressed from a technical point of view as follows:

  1. Salesforce NPSP® configuration and building a data model for the needs of the customer
  2. Implementation of Marketing Cloud Account Engagement® (marketing tool in Salesforce, previously known as Pardot)
  3. Integration of the financial management system, Netvisor (Netvisor is used for monthly donations and invoice management)
  4. Integration of Securycast, which runs telephone donations

These mentioned integrations have their own integration objects created. They act as interfaces to receive information from external sources such as web page forms or third-party services. Information is obtained directly from the systems needed to Salesforce.

FAD also sells magazine for their subscribers and enable the forwarding of the information of the member association and the merit badge application process to its stakeholders. These and the monthly donation website forms are integrated with Salesforce.

Donors, member associations and subscribers can also change their information directly through website forms. In Salesforce, the data is received for integration objects. There the contact information is automatically processed in Salesforce (by APEX and Flow) according to the defined conditions. Previously, contacts were processed and transferred from one place to another manually. For example, when FAD received a new magazine order, the order was recorded in the register and the order information was manually forwarded to the accounting office. Then they created the invoice manually in the system and forwarded it. This whole process is now fully automated, from ordering to invoicing.

A clear overall picture also requires clarity of data

For the automation to be possible and effective, data must be collected as systematically as possible. If the data is at the center of everything, automated processes will move forward in the right way and information is targeted and focused appropriately.

Salesforce is made up of different objects, where different types of information can be stored, modified, and combined with other information according to needs. For example, the monthly donation object includes information about who is the donor, how much has been donated and which donation has been realized.

Individuals, on the other hand, are treated as Contacts and organizations and households as Accounts. Contacts’ connections to each other and to different accounts can be easily managed with the standard features of Salesforce NPSP. If Salesforce’s NPSP does not allow for a more special need in Nonprofit operations, custom objects can be created for such need.

Clarity for Nonprofit operations with Salesforce – Donation processes

There are two types of payment transactions from their Salesforce:

  1. Monthly donations, from which an invoice is created based on the monthly donation and the related opportunity, which is sent to Netvisor and from there to the donor.
    1. These can have different cycles, such as monthly or quarterly.
    2. When the person has paid their donation, it comes as an account transaction in Salesforce, after which the donation is acknowledged as closed and the money received.
  2. Subscription agreements, which apply, for example, to subscriptions to the magazine.
    1. These are sent to the customer via Netvisor based on the information in Salesforce.

Invoices generated in Salesforce travel along the same integration pipeline from Salesforce to Netvisor. In Netvisor they are then assigned to their respective positions based on the invoice type.

In general, Salesforce’s NPSP package contains many different objects that can be used for different purposes. Not all objects in the package were used in the first phase of the this project. Only those that were seen as relevant to the customer. In this way, the system was made as clear as possible for the customer and only things that are actually used are visible.

The nonprofit organization manages its marketing with Account Engagement

Donor segmentation is important to make targeted marketing based on donation level or type, activity, commitment, or geographic location. Once the data has been systematically collected in Salesforce, it can also be used in Account Engagement (formerly Pardot) for marketing use.

A practical example could be fundraising campaigns that were previously mainly based on letter mail. Letter mail is also a good way of marketing, but it often needs to be accompanied by digital marketing and some automation to guarantee more efficient processes. With this in mind Salesforce’s marketing tool Account Engagement was implemented alongside with Salesforce NPSP.

Clarity for Nonprofit operations with Salesforce

When mapping the starting situation, it was quickly noticed that e-mail addresses have only been collected from a fraction of donors and other members of stakeholders. This means that enriching the data had to be the first step. Then it was important to move to the annual clock thinking in fundraising campaigning. Meaning FAD would do campaigning in a planned and systematic way, utilizing several different channels in different phases of the year.

In the past, communication had focused very strongly on the deaf community’s own members. Alongside a clearer fundraising marketing plan was needed. The plan was put into practice with the help of Account Engagement’s automations, lists, campaigns, fields, and connection to the NPSP.

GDPR issues are also very important in today’s marketing and sales. How is the anonymization of the data handled? How do we respond to the customer’s wishes regarding the processing of their own data? These have also been taken into account in both the NPSP side and the Account Engagement processes.

How would you describe the collaboration?

With integrations it is important that the other end of the interface is up to date. In this way, the solution is guaranteed to be functional and meet the customer’s standards. This requires good project management skills from the Salesforce partner. As information must be communicated between the customer, the third-party integration manager and Ceili’s team.

Ceili’s project manager Veli-Matti Räsänen is satisfied with the cooperation between Ceili and FAD:

“Cooperation with FAD has gone well. When you take the time to define your needs at the beginning, you can start from the right starting points. And you don’t have to change the plan so much during development. Nonprofit operations are always a little different from business operations of companies. So, it also includes its own interesting stages in the implementation of the system. FAD has been very involved in the definition, development and testing from the very beginning. This plays a significant role in a successful project.”

Ville Anttila, who was responsible for the project from FAD, describes the cooperation as follows:

“Veli-Matti worked well as a project manager and the communication between the teams worked flawlessly. There are always surprises, no matter how well you plan in advance. But solutions were always found. As a new Salesforce user, I am most excited about how flexible our data can now be processed and how information can be reported in different ways. It’s possible to “nerd out” if wanted to. In that sense, our previous system was very rigid compared to Salesforce.”

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