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“Of all of the candidate solutions we looked at, Salesforce was the most agile, sophisticated, and fastest developing technology, state-of-the-art, and ahead of other products.” - Alex Kindinger, Head of IT, CBM International

CBM Partners with Salesforce to Manage All Aspects of Donor Management and Communication

Living with a disability is a daily challenge for millions of people, even those fortunate enough to live in the world’s most prosperous countries. For those in the poorest countries– in parts of Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean – without basic infrastructure, those struggles are multiplied many times over.

Around the world, one in seven of us –or more than one billion people– has a disability, of which 80% live in countries whose citizens are categorised as having low or middle incomes. For those living with a disability in these countries, accessing education or finding employment can be especially difficult.

With a disability, a lack of public services and support, and no steady income, who will help these people? In 2020 –for more than ten million disabled children and adults, in 48 countries –the answer was CBM International.

Formerly known as Christoffel-Blindenmission, or Christian Blind Mission, CBM is one of Germany’s longest established and most respected development organisations. It improves the quality of life for people in the poorest countries by addressing poverty, both as a cause and a consequence of disability, working in partnership with like-minded organisations and individuals to create an inclusive society for all.

Every year, thousands of Germans donate generously to CBM, to fund its programmes and to support its goals and its philosophy. In 2020, CBM received €280 million, 90% of which was used to support 460 projects working with 331 partner organisations– with the balance covering essential running costs.

Managing relationships with its many donors, communicating with them about how their donations are being used, and raising awareness and increasing the overall level of funding or gifts in kind – such as medicines or medical equipment – are key activities at CBM’s Bensheim office in central Germany. To achieve these goals, it partners with Salesforce.

Managing relationships with donors

For nonprofit organisations like CBM, a primary objective is ensuring that the majority of its donations go directly into the vital, often life-changing services that it and its partners deliver. With this in mind, investments in IT and administration are very carefully considered, to ensure that value for money is maximised.

But with its legacy CRM system no longer supported, CBM’s Head of IT, Alex Kindinger was looking for the best possible technology platform to manage all aspects of donor management and communication.

“We wanted a partner that would spark new ideas, one that we could benefit from expertise and experience in other markets, that was constantly improving and launching new features and functionality. Of all of the candidate solutions we looked at, Salesforce was the most agile, sophisticated, and fastest developing technology, state-of-the-art, ahead of other products, so we decided to partner with the company,” said Kindinger.

At the heart of CBM’s selection was the Salesforce Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP), in which the market-leading Salesforce CRM platform is reimagined, specifically to meet the unique needs of nonprofits. 

NPSP provides a 360-degree view into all of CBM’s relationships with stakeholders, including individual, business, and governmental donors, staff, volunteers, partners, and all those involved in delivering successful programmes.

Flexible, extendable, and customisable, NPSP is used to manage all aspects of the fundraising and donation cycle, handling cash, gifts in kind, and legacies, and is fully integrated with CBM’s accounts package, streamlining the organisation’s processes and administration.

CBM embraces digital tools to grow their supporter community

CBM manages a database of two million donors. Historically, most donations come through CBM’s extensive direct mail campaigns, aided by telemarketing, door-to-door collecting, and partnership building with other NGOs and German federal and state governments.  Online sources account for a very small proportion of giving.

CBM donors are very loyal, with many making regular contributions over many years. Most donors are older, and so a key priority for CBM is to raise awareness more broadly and to widen its appeal to younger generations of Germans.

CBM is also committed to staying in touch with its existing donor community, with clear and regular messages, enhancing relationships with them in order to maintain and potentially grow their levels of support.

“Digital tools are going to be increasingly important for us and this is why we are using Salesforce,” said Head of Donor Relationship Management, Heidrun Schoenborn. “But it’s going to take time, step by step, because Germans are quite conservative, they like the traditional ways of giving, and they are cautious about online activity. However, we can see that Marketing Cloud, for example, has the potential to transform the way we operate.”

Making use of the extensive Salesforce ecosystem, CBM is already seeing a positive impact with FinDock, the 100% native Salesforce AppExchange solution that handles all aspects of payment management. FinDock is integrated with NPSP, anchoring all fundraising and payment management activities in one place and enabling CBM to handle multiple donor preferences.

“With FinDock, we have a lot more flexibility in identifying the donor, and updates are simple and can be done by our own IT colleagues. We’ve been able to automate our donations processes, which are now much smoother, and deliver significant efficiency gains,” said Kindinger.

The donation, and what it is for, is automatically recorded in Salesforce, which then triggers all the follow up actions such as production and dispatch of individual thank you letters, reflecting the donor’s specific contribution, further building the relationship between the donor and CBM.

“The results of these efficiencies is that we are shifting our attention onto our donors, using that extra time to talk to them and understand more about their interest in us, instead of on administration,” said Schoenborn.

“This is such important and valuable work. We can see what their interests have been in the past and discuss other opportunities for them to support us, offering things to them that match their areas of interest.”

Thank you’s with a personal touch

CBM takes great care to produce highly individualised thank you letters following each donation, reflecting exactly the level of support and what the donation is to be used for. These are important to build relationships with donors, but historically have required significant time and resources to achieve the quality and accuracy to which CBM aspires.

Now, CBM is using OpenText Extended ECM, fully integrated with NPSP, to access donor data and then automate and streamline this enormous task. CBM’s welcome packages and thank you letters are now all generated through OpenText, as is another key document – the donation certificate – that allows contributors to reduce their annual tax bill by declaring their charitable giving.

“It was important for us to make this easier,” said Kindinger. “Previously we only had one person who really understood all of the complexity that went into these letters, which was a major risk. Now instead of hundreds of different letters we have about 25, with lots of content options within each.

“This means that more people are able to generate these letters, to a higher quality, much more quickly and we have reduced the risk of just one person knowing how to do such an important piece of work.”

Stable and always available

Meanwhile, Salesforce’s Premier Support Plan is helping to ensure that CBM is making the most of their solution and troubleshooting occasional problems – fortunately, a rare event, as 99% of issues can be resolved quickly by Kindinger and his internal team.

CBM has also integrated Salesforce NPSP with FundraisingBox, a secure and trusted German digital fundraising platform, to provide additional online routes to donate. It also added Salesforce Shield for enhanced protection, monitoring, and retention of critical data stored in Salesforce, to meet European government data compliance laws.

While CBM is already tracking the return on investment of its various fundraising campaigns by assessing cost and income data residing in Salesforce, Schoenborn is looking forward to embracing Marketing Cloud as the next stage of CBM’s Salesforce journey. “Currently our email marketing system is completely separate from our donor database, so we need to integrate the two in Salesforce.”

“Marketing Cloud will help us to understand the data and build more personalised donor journeys, to trigger and automate our activities – mailings, email, calls – to have the flexibility to change channels and, ultimately, to integrate all of our online and offline activities.”

“Salesforce has worked consistently well since the launch,” explained Kindinger. “It’s very stable and always available, which is impressive. Now we only have a handful of tickets from users per week, and these are mainly not about problems, but requests for assistance.”

Concluded Schoenborn: “We are much more efficient now, we spend less time on manual tasks, and we know that there is so much potential for us within Salesforce. Everything that we are ever likely to need is contained within Salesforce, we don’t need any other solutions. It’s great to know that we have a system that can grow with us – we have an exciting future together.”

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