What is Salesforce Elevate and is it a good fit for me and my organization?
Most, if not all, nonprofits and educational institutions offer online giving as a way to participate and support their organizational goals. Historically, those who’ve used Salesforce CRM have had to turn to the AppExchange or custom integrations with external payment processors to bring their giving data into their systems.
With Salesforce’s release of Elevate, nonprofits and institutions now have the option to leverage a native product that supports the Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP) and integrates directly with their CRM data. But with a range of online giving types—one-time, recurring, peer-to-peer, event donations and more—which use cases can this new product support?
“Salesforce.org Elevate is a suite of integrated offerings for the nonprofit and education sectors that gives organizations a new way to convert visitors into committed advocates.”Salesforce.org
We’ve done a deep dive into the new offering, highlighting pros, cons, and everything in between, so you can decide if Elevate is right for you.
Take a peek inside Salesforce Elevate: The following video does a great job of quickly explaining the product, how it’s set up, and what it looks like.
What’s included in Salesforce Elevate?
- Fully integrated suite (Giving Pages and Payment Services): This is the full package. A one-stop-shop for all the services and tools you need to process online donations.
- Online giving types: One-time, Recurring
- Clouds supported: Nonprofit, Education
- Native Salesforce integration: No need to use a third-party service. No data to load, Salesforce is kept in sync.
- Market offered: US organizations only
- Payment processors supported: Authorize.net (Credit Card, ACH), iATS (Credit Card, ACH), Stripe (Credit Card only), WorldPay (Roadmap), Apple Pay/ Google Pay (anticipated in 2022)
- Very simple and intuitive user interface: It’s possible to build a live online donation form in minutes.
- Mobile friendly: This looks great on mobile devices right out of the box.
- Giving designations: Offers the ability for a donor to give to an admin-defined designation (GAU Allocation), donor selected or to no designation.
Opportunities for growth and enhancements
- Addition of a donor portal: Donors can donate online, but that’s about it. They aren’t able to update their demographic information, cancel recurring donations, update credit card information, or amounts. Salesforce is looking to offer this functionality in the future using Experience Cloud, but currently is not available.
- Refinements to giving amounts: Admins can set a base amount and Elevate’s native Ask Ladder multiplies this by 100%, 150%, 200%, 400%, 800%, and 1500%, rounding to the nearest $5 or $10 increment. Organizations have the option to create customized ask ladders, but this requires a bit of configuration and logic, rather than what many nonprofits may want: to simply key in each amount directly. Read more about personalizing an ask ladder here.
- Expansion of custom fields: Giving pages allow up to 25 custom fields (can be expanded if needed) and picklists with up to 64 values. Fields used for donation processing aren’t available in custom fields and are not yet supported on GAU allocation and opportunity contact roles. You can, however, add custom fields to objects used for donation processing such as the Payment and Opportunity using Advanced Mapping.
- Growth in UX flexibility: From a design perspective, you’re limited to what you can do. Buttons, fields, will all essentially be set (so you’ll easily be able to tell when a nonprofit is using Elevate). That said, you can adjust the color palette and positioning of it on your page and still, it looks pretty darn good. The Salesforce.org Payments API provides flexibility to allow application developers to focus on the user experience, while Elevate handles the payment processing and integration to Salesforce.
- Introduction of a user hierarchy: Elevate users are different from standard Salesforce users. There is only one level of hierarchy, admins only. There’s no view-only access for the backend.
- Payment processing via NPSP/Education Data Architecture (EDA): Though many organizations use payment processing that originates from online giving forms, most also look to process credit cards and ACH/EFT that are originally entered directly in NPSP or EDA, individually or—anticipated to be available in the roadmap for 2022—via batch Gift Entry. For now, what customers can process today are payments via Elevate using Gift Entry in NPSP.
- Enhancements to recurring donor management: For large and mid-size organizations with substantial sustainer programs, the ability to see progress in recurring charges is paramount. Elevate does not yet have the capability of viewing the status of a batch of recurring charges that are attempted through a payment processor, though once the response from the merchant is received, it’s visible on the related payment in NPSP.
What does it cost?
The licensing model has one tier currently available;
- Giving pages and payment processing
- Flat fee and per transaction
- $5k list price
- 5,000 transactions
- 1 payment gateway
The bottom line: So, is Salesforce Elevate for us?
As a relatively new offering from Salesforce, Elevate is still emerging as a product. That said, it offers a lot in its current state. Nonprofits and educational institutions that need straightforward online giving pages that offer one-time and recurring donations may find this is exactly what they’ve been asking for. More than that, Elevate continues to grow as a product, with a large roadmap of new features planned. For example, in the upcoming August 2021 release, customized ask amounts, the number of asks, description of asks, setting of the default ask amounts, and additionally, payment frequencies (weekly, quarterly, annually) will be released. The question becomes more: is Elevate right for us now?
Small and mid-size nonprofits that can support Elevate’s price point may find this to be the case. Larger and Enterprise nonprofits may be looking for features that are still on Salesforce’s roadmap and may also need to explore additional third-party apps for online features like peer-to-peer/DIY fundraising and online/event fundraising.
All that said, Elevate is certainly worth your organization’s time and consideration, as it’s supported by Salesforce, which is an investment in its future growth.