How Nonprofits Can Leverage Pardot for Fundraising

If you work for a nonprofit using Salesforce and Pardot it can be a little tricky to determine the best way to send marketing emails from Pardot. I’ve worked with a number of nonprofits who needed this guidance, and I hope to share my experience in this post. I’ve seen nonprofit marketing automation primarily focus around events and donor management/fundraising. Of course, you don’t want to just communicate with your audience when you are fundraising or planning events.

Nonprofit Marketing Strategy

Recently, I had an experience where I received a piece of mail from a nonprofit I supported a few years ago. I hadn’t heard from them in ages, but the first contact point was a piece of mail with a short summary of the work they were doing and a solicitation form with an envelope. I understand the crunch many nonprofits go through with federal and state budget cuts, but a spray and pray fundraising approach is not the most effective long-term fundraising strategy. It doesn’t work in corporate marketing, and definitely doesn’t work when fundraising for a nonprofit.

One of the ways to do this is by communicating the impact in the areas that you serve and progress your nonprofit against your mission statement. You could even host a free event connecting your donors with the constituents that your initiative benefits, geography permitting. The key here is to map out your donor journey.

It is critical to maintain touch points and build relationships with your donors, and understand the ways in which donors prefer to interact with your nonprofit. Some may prefer many touch points and a connection, while others may prefer a hands off approach. It’s critical that you track that for each donor or stakeholder and tailor your interactions accordingly. In my experience I have found that most donors prefer to be in the loop, or at least invited to engage with your nonprofit—even if they don’t actually do so.

Using Pardot for Nonprofit Marketing

If you already use the Salesforce platform to track you donors you may not know where to start with Pardot. First you need to get all of your donor information into Pardot. To accomplish this you need to know how you are currently storing your donor information in Salesforce. The current recommended Salesforce data model for nonprofits is the household data model provided by the Non-Profit Starter Pack (NPSP 3.0).

As you can see in the diagram above the household data model leverages the Contacts object. This is great because Pardot automatically pulls in Contacts and creates Prospect records out of them. Each Contact record is linked to primary Household Account record. In addition, a Contact can be affiliated with other types of Accounts such as religious organizations, Business Accounts, and so forth. One of those affiliations must be marked as primary. You can learn more about affiliations in Household data model here. This data model enables you to track donations from the individual, family, and organization level (say someone donates to your nonprofit as an officer of their company).

Because the Household Account is the primary Account record for a Contact Pardot brings this information in automatically. However it is not of a lot of use. Typically, when segmenting lists in you want to do so by targeting a certain type of religious organization, school, or company. Therefore it is critical to bring this affiliation data into Pardot. To accomplish this you need to ensure you have custom object support in Pardot. Pardot Accounts with Ultimate Edition already have custom objects enabled. Any other accounts need to add it as a paid à la carte feature.

Once you have this feature you can now create lists to feed custom drip programs based on those core segmentation attributes such as attribution type (ex. religious, business, higher-ed), sub-type (ex. Jewish synagogue, tech company, community college). You can also track causes the organization cares about and surface this via a formula field on the affiliation object, and then use it when building lists in Pardot. This will enable you to easily build lists, for example, of tech companies who care about women’s pay equality, which would then feed drip programs with relevant women’s pay equality content. You can suppress against individual communication preferences, such as donor engagement level, so that each donor gets the right message with the right frequency.

Happy marketing!

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