SalesForce and Nonprofits

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Salesforce is a big, multifunction database in the cloud, used by a lot of giant enterprises. But the Salefsorce Foundation also wants nonprofits to use it, and so they offered a free "nonprofit starter pack", which configure the system in a way more useful for nonprofits, especially for fundraising. Example: basic salesforce assumes you are doing business to business, so requires a "business" record to exist before you can take money; for nonprofits, it's set up so you can accept a "donation" from a single person, not a business.

But then Salesforce bought a company called RoundCorner which had it's own, NON-free, competing Salesforce-based app for nonprofits called RoundCause. There was a lot of worry that Salesforce would stop supporting the free option and push nonprofits to buy RoundCause.

The nonprofit Salesforce community came together and did further development and support of Nonprofit Starter Kit, though. The software is open source, to the extent that anyone can develop it and submit proposed changes, but since it ultimately runs on the proprietary Salesforce platform, the Salesforce Foundation must accept and apply the changes.

The foundation noticed how much effort and attention was going on (there was a conference in Seattle, people flew in, was completely community organized, without the Foundation at all). Decided to put more support back to the Nonprofit Starter Kit, now have 4 full-time employees working on supporting it and working with the community.

Online community of 20,000+ nonprofit Salesforce practitioners, support each other in using, configuring, modifying it. Mostly useful for fundraising, some limited supporter management also. Best if the org is big enough to have someone working at least 1/2 time (full time better) as the Salesforce Administrator -- applying the frequent updates and changes to the system, solving problems, pulling data, making new changes (e.g. adding fields) that users realize they need once they project is underway.