6 Overdue Salesforce Enhancements to Help Nonprofits Do a Little Better (Part 2 of 3)

This is the second of a three-part post. You can also start from the beginning or jump a head.

#4 Full Gmail & Google Calendar Support

Why: Stakeholder relationship management is a farce without managing conversations

A mysterious admin notification arrived last week. On September 15, Salesforce will be enabling some sort of Gmail integration in the form of a browser extension. Naturally, I followed the breadcrumbs, but was stopped short when I couldn’t get the “Administrator Package” to launch and needed to take a call. I did notice a RelateIQ URL reference in the Connected App, however. RelateIQ is one of the more interesting Salesforce acquisitions in recent times, and although I haven’t yet explored, it is marketed to deliver predictive intelligence and near-creepy intelligence in the marketing to sales flow.

I was fortunate to manage technology at a wonderful public media station that recognized the value of investing in digital and CRM technology, and we were very early Cirrus Insight users. I love it. We loved it. We had a license for everyone. Until its availability, I had probably Googled “Salesforce Gmail logging” a hundred times a week, in the hopes that a solution would arise to support those thousands of weekly communications with donors and the public that were so desperately needed in the CRM to tell the “whole story.”

No longer with that organization, I have heard that due to tough budgeting decisions, Cirrus Insight has been considered for cuts. This makes me so sad. Why? Because of what happens. Nonprofit staff use their email. They communicate with their email. They live in their email. With Google for Nonprofits, it’s free and fantastically easy to use and manage.

What isn’t easy, is logging an inbound email to the CRM. What do I do? Create a task? That doesn’t seem intuitive. Log a Call? Really? It’s not a call. Forward it to my Email-to-Salesforce address? Well, I suppose, but did it get there successfully? Did it match and hit the right Opportunity? I’ll check later, I’m late for something. But, no I really won’t.

Could Salesforce really, truly be delivering the integration capabilities I’ve been dreaming about since 2007? I can’t wait for the announcement!

#3 Additional data storage

Why: As our nonprofit user community grows more sophisticated, we outgrow this provision that hasn’t “kept up with inflation”

More than once, when I’ve held the “you’re out of data storage discussion,” I’ve had to shield my oh-so-innocent ears from the raw response. When you’re used to hearing about the cost of a Gigabyte in the Best Buy ad, Salesforce data storage costs do sound profane, so if you’re unfamiliar with what the costs really cover, I suppose such language may seem like an exercise in parity. Sure, it can be shocking.

Note, we’re talking about records here–not files.

There are good reasons for these costs. Salesforce hasn’t grown to this scale AND year-over-year improved the platform’s transaction processing performance without careful computer science and engineering feats. A “kilobyte” in Salesforce is actually only an averaged estimate that glosses over the complexity of storage and management so we can have a common metric to discuss.

If Salesforce allowed unlimited record storage or charged much less, everyone, myself included, would value it less. The other great feat is this social engineering. By using price controls over the utilization of records, we priortize. We know when we’re going to go over storage and can manage it, because we can control records most easily by count.

I can create a Contact with only a last name and then a Contact with several paragraphs in the Description field, and both are calculated at the same size. 2KB. Oh, but wait, I have a household Account, now we’re at 4KB. Don’t forget that vacation home address related record. 6KB. This is adding up quickly. But, these are standard feature behaviors of the latest major Nonprofit Starter Pack. If I import the old donor database, I could be out of space before I even start.

1GB for a 10 user org isn’t enough if we want to do much more than just donor relations, or if we use the CRM for much in the way of marketing/engagement. And for goodness sake–please don’t make admins consider removing donor history, or moving to an unintegrated warehouse.

The limit also counter-incentivizes many of the practices we work so hard to encourage, such as Campaign-association for all solicitation activities.

Check out Part 3…

Or see the other 6 Overdue Salesforce Enhancements to Help Nonprofits Do a Little Better:

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