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Dreamforce 2023 Recap: Salesforce Leans in to AI + Data Cloud as the Future of Nonprofit Success

Dreamforce 2023 Recap: Salesforce Leans in to AI + Data Cloud as the Future of Nonprofit Success

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At 8 p.m. ET on Wednesday 9/13, the second full day of Dreamforce, I was sitting in front of my computer curious and a little anxious. I was using my usual evening streaming service catch up hour to tune into the live Salesforce+ broadcast of Dreamforce session, Empowering Nonprofits in Times of Change with Data + AI + CRM + Trust

As a former boots-on-the-ground nonprofit employee and current consultant primarily working with nonprofit clients, I am acutely aware of the ever-increasing demands on nonprofits. I understand and empathize with the daunting task nonprofits face to tell their story and convey their impact in novel ways and through a multichannel approach. 

I also am acutely aware that nonprofits are frequently hindered by low ROI on donor dollars due to the immense staff effort needed to cultivate donations. I was especially eager to hear what Salesforce has to say about the future of nonprofits on their platform and how they might help solve some of these big issues for the sector.

graphic from empowering nonprofits in times of change dreamforce session

A Year of Change for Nonprofits on Salesforce

This has been a year of big changes for nonprofits and Salesforce. A few headlines were the sunset of Elevate and the rollout of the new Nonprofit Cloud platform

This session added a few more items to the list of highlights, namely the announcement of Einstein, Salesforce’s proprietary AI, for Nonprofit Cloud*. This promises to allow nonprofits to tap into predictive and generative AI to go further and dive deeper with their donor data, with their programmatic metrics and outcomes, and with their tenacious and often time-strapped staff. 

Having the ability to leverage data more robustly than ever before is further extended by the offerings of Data Cloud — Salesforce’s data management and harmonization tool. At the core of Salesforce’s Einstein for Nonprofit Cloud + Data Cloud message, they vow to help you do more with less.

* Currently, the Einstein AI features advertised in the session Empowering Nonprofits in Times of Change with Data + AI + CRM + Trust are only available as a part of the Nonprofit Cloud curated solution package.

Einstein for Nonprofit Cloud + Data Cloud Promise to Make Annual Reports Easier and Better than Ever

I am going to use the example of building an annual report (a thought that may give former or current nonprofit employees shudders of anxiety) to illustrate the key promises of Einstein for Nonprofit Cloud + Data Cloud. 

First let’s start with a short overview of what an annual report is from a nonprofit standpoint. An annual report usually serves as a physically manifested summation of the prior year for a nonprofit. They typically contain programmatic impact data (frequently with fancy charts), thank yous and recognitions of various groups from the highest dollar donors to volunteers, financial data for the year, and a call to action. They are intended to be compelling, illustrate transparency, and highlight mission, vision and outcomes. They are also an absolute BEAST to create.

Here are some of the ways Einstein for Nonprofit Cloud + Data Cloud can help nonprofits complete the daunting task of creating an annual report:

Compiling Programmatic Data and Communicating Meaning

Einstein for Nonprofit Cloud offers the ability to summarize programmatic data over a specific amount of time with consideration to the intended audience. In the case of an annual report this would look like a summary of your programmatic data for the prior year, intended for an external audience. 

Einstein for Nonprofit Cloud also allows you to choose if this summary should be long form (more detailed) or short form (less detailed) increasing flexibility to help you meet the needs of your specific annual report requirements with less manual work.

Segmenting and Standardizing People Data for Acknowledgement Lists

Data Cloud shines in its potential ability to solve the problem of disjointed data for Nonprofits. We all know the pain of manually sleuthing through and deduplicating your database and external systems of that one historical volunteer record for one of your major donors who is also an event attendee and auction lot buyer. This hypothetical generous philanthropist could have upwards of 4 records in your Salesforce CRM and connected systems! Data Cloud to the rescue! 

Through the power of the unified profile you can see all of that disorganized and disconnected data in one place. This is especially helpful in the annual report example as it allows you to be absolutely sure you are thanking and acknowledging your kind supporters for ALL the ways they support, financial contributions, event support, volunteerism through a single 360 view.

Crafting a Compelling Donation Appeal

Admit it or not, a key function of an annual report is to compel folks to donate. Einstein for Nonprofit Cloud + Data Cloud have your back in your daunting donor segmentation and compelling storytelling efforts. 

Through use of the 360 Constituent view made possible by Data Cloud, you can use Einstein for Nonprofit Cloud to segment your donors and its predictive AI capabilities to draw conclusions based on historical data. 

You could put together a segment of those donors identified as having high propensity to give, high affinity for your organization and high capacity and really hit them in the feels with your call to action. Generative AI can then help you craft an irresistible donation appeal and from there the dollars are sure to roll in to support your important work.

Einstein for Nonprofit Cloud + Data Cloud: Getting Nonprofits Closer to their Core Missions

Overall, I am cautiously optimistic that, together, Einstein for Nonprofit Cloud + Data Cloud have the potential to improve the way nonprofits communicate with their donors and the public. By automating time-consuming tasks and providing insights that were previously unavailable, or extremely time or resource-intensive to procure, these tools can help nonprofits focus on their core mission of making a difference in the world. 

I encourage nonprofit leadership to explore and invest in these powerful tools. I think they can help support and extend the capabilities and impact of a nonprofit’s greatest strength, its team.

Need help navigating these new announcements and ever growing suite of Salesforce products? Sercante is here to guide you through and help you achieve your nonprofit’s mission by leveraging the power of the Salesforce platform. Reach out!

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  • Abbey is a CRM Strategist with Sercante. She is a Certified Salesforce Admin with the aim to conquer the world of certifications as she grows in her career. Abbey comes from a nonprofit background with deep experience in the complete business cycle of financial planning & analysis AND Salesforce strategy. Now, she seeks to increase CRM utility and usefulness for a broad swath of clients through innovative and tailored solutions. When not working, you can find her acquiring more yarn for knitting, or seeking out the best food and drink on offer in whatever locale she happens to be in. She also invests in her community and maintains her connection to the nonprofit world through volunteer work. Her goal is to facilitate mission progression through key system support and improvements and drive user adoption and happiness.

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