May 12, 2017, 4:32 p.m. in Case Studies by Maureen McGregor
Combining Two Platforms for a Confluence of Data
Sabin Vaccine Institute is a nonprofit based in Washington, D.C., that has been working to make vaccines more accessible around the world since 1993. To manage data and engage with their community of more than 50,000 stakeholders, Sabin relies on two robust software platforms: Salesforce.com and Engaging Networks.
Sabin’s Communications and Development teams manage their fundraising, advocacy, email marketing and Peer-to-Peer fundraising campaigns using sophisticated tools built into the Engaging Networks platform. Meanwhile, Sabin’s Finance team has been managing grants, contracts, and donations in Salesforce.com. For years, these two systems operated well enough, separately. But gradually Sabin began to face major challenges in accessing and reconciling data across the organization.
Sabin’s team was wasting five hours every week uploading and downloading files between the two databases and reconciling donations.
A few years back this already clunky process quickly became untenable, after a campaign video went viral and racked up a whopping half a million views in a matter of weeks. Online donations started pouring into the organization. Downloading and reconciling the data and then uploading it to Salesforce manually was getting too cumbersome for the small development team to handle. What they really needed was a way to report quickly and accurately on weekly and monthly fundraising totals, while maintaining a comprehensive donation database and conveying information daily to the Finance team.
Sabin’s team decided to take advantage of a free and highly flexible Engaging Networks connection tool to set up a 2-way automatic Salesforce/Engaging Networks data sync. This would enable each team to stay in their comfort zone, but to view all of their data in one place. They formed a project team that included representatives from Engaging Networks, Sabin and Square Blue (an Atlanta-based consulting firm) to implement the new “push-pull” data integration.
Sabin’s team members were the first to admit that their fundraising data structures were pretty complex. Sabin collected donations for multiple campaigns (with their own websites), using multiple currencies, and Sabin needed to track all donations on a campaign-by-campaign basis. In addition to multiple donation forms, the team also worked to integrate Engaging Networks’ peer to peer fundraising tool with Salesforce. Fortunately, the project team was able to set up a data integration to allow complex campaign tracking while creating plenty of other reporting capabilities, too.
“The Engaging Networks - Salesforce data sync handles all of our crazy, complicated variables, – so I imagine it will be a piece of cake for most nonprofits to use, with more straightforward data.” – Kathryn McGrath, Sabin Vaccine Institute
Today, Sabin enjoys an effective and robust integration between their Salesforce database and the powerful Engaging Networks platform. Instead of uploading and downloading spreadsheets all day, Sabin’s team members spend their time thinking up new ways to grow their email list, cultivate their donors and deepen engagement with all of their supporters, including using new marketing automation tools to set up welcome series and other email campaigns that vary according to user behavior.
NOTE: Salesforce is one of several major CRM donor databases that nonprofits can integrate with Engaging Networks. Raiser’s Edge and ROI Solutions are two other popular databases used by many Engaging Networks clients. The flexible Engaging Networks application programming interface (API) is likewise being used (as of this writing) to create several more data syncs with additional donor databases.