As a Solution Engineer at Omatic for nearly five years, I’ve talked to hundreds of nonprofits about their goals and objectives, the challenges they face, and opportunities to streamline their processes and drive greater impact. In recent years, I’ve worked most closely with Salesforce.org customers and have gained a deep understanding of their unique challenges. Whether your organization is new to Salesforce, or a veteran, my goal through this blog is to share what I’ve learned and provide a solution for common Salesforce integration pain points.
Introduction: APIs and Integration
Salesforce NPSP is a robust solution with extensive fundraising, program management, and marketing features for nonprofits. Additionally, Salesforce’s open application programming interface (API) library allows customers and third-party providers to connect other applications to the CRM. However this comes with both risks and rewards.
- Reward: Integration across an organization’s Salesforce NPSP database and its other applications – such as tools for event management or online donations – is necessary to provide a comprehensive view of supporter activity and engagement. APIs enable this integration.
- Risk: “Integration” doesn’t mean the same thing for all third-party solutions, which can lead to both confusion and to negative downstream impacts on an organization’s data.
Through conferences, webinars and 1:1 meetings, I’ve conducted hundreds of software demos. I’ve found a few key features I’d consider game changers for the intelligent integration nonprofits really need to gain a complete picture of their supporters. When demoed, these features elicit excitement from organizations who have felt the pain points of inadequate integration. And they spark questions from organizations who want to learn more. Let’s take a look!
#1: Comprehensive Duplicate Criteria
When integrating data, does your organization have comprehensive options in determining how to match to existing contacts in Salesforce NPSP?
Unfortunately, many native integration tools only match based on primary email address. However, there are several situations where supporters’ email addresses could vary. An obvious example is business vs. personal email addresses. While a supporter would likely use personal email to make an online donation, buy a ticket to a gala, or purchase a membership, he/she may use business email more often for other activities, such as gifts made through a corporate/matching gift program or an event registration that is part of a corporate team.
If email is the only criteria used to match existing contacts, duplicate data can quickly become a problem. Duplicate data is actually the #1 paint point I hear from nonprofits. Duplicates unnecessarily expand a database, which can frustrate an organization’s database administrator. But the downstream impacts can be even more detrimental. Consider a development team that is not able to get a complete view of supporter activity, or the supporter who is discouraged by communication that doesn’t acknowledge his/her history with an organization.
Just check out these views of how Omatic Cloud flags potential duplicates for review. Omatic Cloud identifies records that have potential matches based on name, address, email, etc. Then, you can determine if you’d like to create a new record, or merge the data with an existing record – and if so, what information you’d like to retain.
2: Flexible Field Mapping
Does your integration tool provide the flexibility to determine where data are mapped?
When it comes to directing data from the source to the destination, many native tools have hard-coded field mapping. This means data goes where the vendor has determined it should go, which may not be where you need it.
In addition, hard-coded field mapping does not account for an organization’s unique needs, such as use of custom. Common ways I’ve seen nonprofits use custom objects include capturing volunteer data, email subscription preferences, wealth ratings, or products purchased from an e-store. Hard-coded field mapping opens the door to negative downstream impacts, such as the need for manual clean-up, or overwriting data.
This image showcases the flexibility you have with Omatic Cloud. You’ll notice the Salesforce NPSP destination fields on the left, with the ability to choose your corresponding source field in the middle column.
#3: Ability to clean-up data en route
How does your integration tool handle data differences?
We’ve already discussed duplicate criteria, but duplicate records are not the only example of data issues that can result from integrating data. An intelligent integration solution should allow you to clean-up and standardize data before it is committed to Salesforce NPSP. Let’s consider a few common examples:
- Are names, or other fields, properly cased? Think Geoff vs. GEOFF vs. geoff.
- Can you determine the format for fields like date, time, or telephone number?
- Does your data file strip off the leading zero in zip codes? Can your integration tool add it back in?
While these may seem like small details, they could have large repercussions when the data is used by an organization’s fundraising/development team. For example, an improperly cased name within an email could appear impersonal. A gift request or acknowledgement sent with the wrong postal code wouldn’t reach the supporter.
Look how simple it is to address these inconsistencies with Omatic Cloud. In two quick steps, you can complete what would otherwise take hours of manual work to update (if the inconsistencies were even found). Step 1: Make your selection; step 2: Click apply.
Conclusion: Maintain Control of your Salesforce.org Integrations with Omatic Cloud
The common thread that runs through all these features is control. With Omatic Cloud, you maintain control over your data. Many native integration tools make the decisions for you, no matter the downstream impacts.
If you’d like to learn more about Omatic Cloud and how it can save you time, enhance data quality, and drive outcomes for your organization, please check out our on-demand webinar: Bridge the Gaps with Omatic: Integrate Your Fundraising Technology with Salesforce NPSP. Skip ahead to the 15:45-mark if you’d like to watch the features described above in action! Or sign-up below for a personalized demo at your convenience.
Geoff Sharbrough is a Senior Sales Enablement Engineer at Omatic Software. Geoff worked as a Senior Analyst and then a Technical Account Manager in Customer Support at Blackbaud for over 10 years before joining Omatic. In his free time, he enjoys surfing, woodworking, and obstacle course racing. He graduated with honors from Kennesaw State University’s Michael J. Coles College of Business with a Bachelor of Business Administration with a focus on Marketing.