An Overview of Salesforce Data Cloud for Nonprofits - Heller Consulting

An Overview of Salesforce Data Cloud for Nonprofits

As a nonprofit professional, you know that data can be a tricky thing. While it’s critically important for your fundraising, marketing, and other activities, it’s often housed in multiple systems across an organization – making it difficult to gain a complete view of it.

That’s what Salesforce Data Cloud aims to address.

What is Salesforce Data Cloud?

Data Cloud is a data platform. It unifies your nonprofit’s data so that departments across your organization have a single, complete view of your data. Data Cloud creates this holistic view of your constituent data by turning your volumes of disconnected data into one trusted data model that’s easy to access and understand. It allows you to collect data from multiple systems – even non-Salesforce systems – and then model it in a way that makes sense for your organization.

Data Cloud can be used with Salesforce Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP) or the new Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud. Keep in mind, though, that it is not included with those solutions and must be purchased separately. Also, NPSP and Nonprofit Cloud use different data models, so it’s important to look into the implications of using Data Cloud with your nonprofit’s specific technology stack.

How can nonprofits use Salesforce Data Cloud?

Salesforce has built multiple connections into Data Cloud that allow you to unify data from many common systems, including customer relationship management (CRM), marketing, fundraising, peer-to-peer fundraising, and other systems. You can also create custom connections using APIs.

Once you have configured Data Cloud to generate a set of unified profiles based on rules that you define, you can segment those profiles and make them available to various systems to do things like:

  • Personalize marketing and fundraising campaigns
  • Activate tailored constituent journeys
  • Drive process automations
  • Power data analytics
  • Support accurate artificial intelligence (AI)

How does Salesforce Data Cloud work?

A typical Data Cloud project involves the following steps:

  • Connect – Set up your data sources so that Data Cloud knows which systems to link to. These might include anything from your CRM system to your marketing and fundraising systems to your mobile apps.
  • Harmonize – This step involves mapping your various data fields to the data model within Data Cloud. With this step, Data Cloud includes a tool that makes it easy to see the data that’s being brought into the system.
  • Unify – Here is where you set up the matching rules that determine how records will combine into unified profiles. In addition, you can configure reconciliation rules to control how Data Cloud will handle scenarios when records for the same contact in different systems do not match exactly.
  • Analyze and predict – In this step, you digest your data and create audience segments to use, for example, with your marketing or fundraising activities.
  • Act – With this final step, you take some action with your segmented unified profiles. For example, you might send an audience to Salesforce Marketing Cloud or another marketing tool for a targeted marketing campaign.

It’s important to note that the data pulled into Data Cloud is stored outside of Salesforce, so you will not be at risk of using up all of your Salesforce data storage capacity.

Learn more about Salesforce Data Cloud

Salesforce has provided multiple ways to learn more about Data Cloud. They provide a free version of Data Cloud that you can experiment with to see how it works. Salesforce also offers multiple training resources, including Unlock Your Data with Data Cloud.

Our team at Heller Consulting is here to help, too. We stay current on the latest offerings from Salesforce and are ready to help you determine what mix of Salesforce solutions might be the right fit for your needs. If they are the right fit, we can also help you to develop a business case and roadmap as well as implement and support the solutions. Contact us today to learn more and get started.

About the Author

Adam Kaye
Adam has been supporting nonprofit clients and leading technical teams for more than a decade. At Heller, Adam taps into his robust technical background and strong communication skills to guide his clients through digital challenges and enables them to make the most of digital technology. A veteran of the... Read More

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