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Driving constituent centricity with CDP and Interaction Studio for nonprofits

September 27, 2021By

Today, constituent expectations have never been higher. The exceptional digital experiences they encounter on a daily basis from for-profit brands such as Amazon, Netflix, and Starbucks are now expected across the board—even from nonprofits.

Constituents are seeking experiences that are seamless, relevant, contextual, and in real-time. With more nonprofits than ever before competing for supporters in the same space or supporting similar causes, nonprofits are increasingly prioritizing the constituent experience as a way to cut through the noise and differentiate their organizations from those of their peers.

So how can you create meaningful experiences that attract and retain long-term support for your cause?

Transforming constituent engagement with CDP and Interaction Studio for nonprofits

Today, leading nonprofits are transforming the constituent experience by making sure they meet their constituents’ expectations for how they want to be engaged. To do so, they’re investing in strategies that ensure their constituents are:

  1. Known: regardless of the device or channel they’re engaging on
  2. Recognized and remembered: by making sure engagements are personalized, connected across all touchpoints and departments, and in context to their relationship and giving history
  3. Making an impact: by providing constituents with powerful data that spotlights the contributions and impact they’ve made

The key to achieving this? Building a 360-degree view of your constituents with help from Salesforce CDP and Interaction Studio for nonprofits.


Yep, the tech industry loves their acronyms. So what exactly is a CDP, and how does it differ from other common systems like a CRM or MDM system. Let’s start with some definitions:

CRM: Customer relationship management systems focus on managing your organization’s relationships and interactions with constituents. A CRM system helps front-line teams manage how they connect and interact with constituents. CRM systems help you stay connected to constituents, streamline processes, and improve profitability. If you’re already up and running on the Salesforce platform, your Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, and Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP) is your complete constituent relationship management (CRM) solution.

MDM: Master Data Management solutions play a role in larger companies. They are often seen when a company has multiple systems capturing and maintaining data like customer or product data. In the case of customer data, MDM solutions are focused on building a “golden” customer record, aimed at keeping customer data clean and consistent across these systems.

CDP: Customer Data Platform. Like MDM solutions, CDP solutions are focused on bringing customer data together from multiple systems. However, CDP solutions are focused on combining constituents and behavior to support targeted marketing: They enable cross-system customer matching and also combine associated behavioral data to enable intelligent segmentation, targeting, and personalization.

DMP: Data Management Platform, solutions are generally applied for digital ad targeting. These tools focus on second and third-party data, including broader behavioral or demographic data available from third-party providers. This data is then used to generate highly targeted digital audiences. These tools rely heavily on third-party cookies to identify behavioral data. Recent changes in this space announced by Apple and Google have severely restricted the use of third-party cookies. This is expected to significantly reduce the effectiveness of these tools. This is one reason CDPs are becoming more important.

Interaction Studio: Supports Real-Time Interaction Management. This allows nonprofits to deliver relevant and engaging constituent experiences in real-time based on constituents’ interactions with your website, CRM, and event management tools. You’ll be able to combine in-depth constituent insights with AI to deliver personalized, cross-channel experiences at any point in their constituent journey.

CDP for nonprofits

So now that we know the basics, how can nonprofits make the most of CDP? If you have multiple systems capturing either constituent data or behavioral data that is important for segmentation and targeting, a CDP should be considered. Some of the features a CDP provides include:

  • Build a single view of constituents: With Salesforce CDP, you’ll be able to combine customer and behavioral data from multiple systems (including multiple Salesforce instances) and match constituents across systems using a variety of approaches (name, email, phone, address etc). This tool helps you to quickly consolidate cross-system constituent information to help you gain a more comprehensive understanding of your constituents.
  • Enrich constituent data: Enhance this understanding by loading additional activities such as donations, event attendance, web browsing activity, and email/direct mail engagement into this consolidated view. You can also enrich constituent data by leveraging tools such as Merkle Merkury to incorporate additional profiling insights like income, gender, and selected interests.
  • Enable intelligent self-serve segmentation: Once the CDP has combined cross-system insights for constituents, the true power of the CDP can be unleashed. Salesforce CDP provides powerful segmentation tools that enable your marketing teams with in-depth constituent engagement activity. They can accurately segment and target audiences across a variety of channels including email, web, mobile, digital ads, and direct mail.
  • Send insights to NPSP: All information collected in Salesforce CDP can be seamlessly integrated into NPSP, helping you present a comprehensive 360-degree view of your constituents to front-line teams. The CDP also provides a great alternative for storing large volume activity that you may not want to store in NPSP. Examples include historical donations and web browsing activity. This history can be archived to CDP to ensure your teams can see all the relevant details about a constituent without cluttering your CRM.

Interaction Studio for nonprofits

Interaction Studio enables you to take constituent personalization to the next level. This tool is focused on delivering real-time engagement to your constituents.

  • Listen to your constituents across any channel: Interaction Studio provides a great toolset to enable you to listen and categorize constituent activity across your website, mobile apps, and other frontline systems.
  • Identify constituents and accounts across your channels: With Interaction Studio, you’ll be able to match anonymous and known constituents to named profiles, tailor constituent identity-matching policies, and build more accurate constituent records. This includes effective ways to link constituent activity across all devices to ensure your insights stay relevant.
  • Lead with data-driven insights: Use real-time segmentation and AI to deliver relevant recommendations and experiences that inspire constituents to take action.
  • Effectively engage with constituents: Guide and nurture your constituents by triggering relevant interactions in real-time when and where they prefer. Whether that’s via web personalization, email, paid advertising, or by informing your frontline teams about important actions.

CDP and Interaction Studio: better together

CDP and interaction studio for nonprofits

While both of these solutions can help provide the “expected experience” for constituents, the real magic lies in a combination of the two.

By pairing Interaction Studio’s real-time listening, engagement, and AI-driven recommendations with Salesforce CDP’s advanced matching, segmentation, and cross-system insights you’ll be able to more effectively engage with your constituents—whenever, wherever, and however they prefer.

Case study: Be The Match

We recently sat down with our friends from Be The Match to walk through how they’re leveraging Marketing Cloud to deliver next-level engagement.

Karen Barnaby, MHA, Senior Manager, Member Engagement & Experience at Be The Match, walked us through some challenges they were facing before implementing their Marketing Cloud solution. They included:

  1. Data management: As a large and maturing organization, their data was spread across many business units and verticals. Keeping this data clean and organized, with minimal duplicates was a huge challenge.
  2. Nurturing constituents: Donors typically join the registry as college students, but often aren’t called upon to donate for years. Keeping constituents engaged throughout their long lifecycle as a donor was vital in furthering Be The Match’s mission.
  3. Segmenting audiences: To build trust, increase engagement, and shorten the decision-making time, Be The Match needed a way to accurately segment constituents across their database.

Since implementing Marketing Cloud, Be The Match has transitioned from a “one size fits all” marketing approach to a core data model that allows their teams to accurately segment their audience and build personalized journeys. The result? Timely, engaging, and relevant experiences for each and every constituent.

Marketing with purpose

Hear from Be The Match, Salesforce, and Traction on Demand to learn how CDP and Interaction Studio can empower your organization by combining data from multiple sources to build a 360-view.

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