Increasing donor impact through personalized guidance
At a glance
Together with Vanguard Charitable, a leading grantmaker and donor-advised fund, we created a “Platform of the Future” to make the end-to-end philanthropic experience for grantors more accessible and personalized.
We helped them migrate to Salesforce Financial Services Cloud to implement marketing automation, enhance customer relationship management, deploy an enterprise integration tool, and establish the groundwork for an improved donor experience.
Wealth & asset management
Key Technologies / Platforms
Meeting shifting donor expectations with evolving experiences
Vanguard Charitable (VC) and its donors have positively influenced the world since 1997, donating more than $16 billion to charities with donor-advised funds (DAFs).
The organization’s leaders seek innovative ways to enhance the donor experience, to encourage more sustained and increased giving—and, therefore, more impact. In 2020, they focused on better understanding each donor’s philanthropic journey so they could offer the more personalized guidance donors increasingly expect. However, their legacy technology stack couldn’t provide the necessary visibility—or scale to meet other organizational growth needs.
“We have a wealth of information from our 25 years as one of the top grantmakers to help us be predictive and bring guidance to our donors. But we were looking to bring that to the next level by leveraging more external data to better understand each donor’s journey,” says Carol Dow, Vanguard Charitable’s chief information officer (CIO). “Updating our technology was an integral part of that.”
Building the Platform of the Future
Dow and her team concluded that Salesforce was the ideal platform to trace donors’ journeys, engage them, and improve their digital experience. Having conducted thorough research on Salesforce, the team knew the elements they required were available but may require a high degree of customization.
“We’re a nonprofit, and we have an investment side to us,” Dow said. “So there was some question around the best option for us.”
To support the implementation, VC enlisted Slalom’s assistance for its Salesforce digital transformation.
“We wanted a consultant who would be a partner, not a vendor, and we got it with Slalom,” Dow says. “They bring to the table the Salesforce knowledge to help us understand what we needed to build the Platform of the Future.”
FSC or NPSP for a nonprofit with a tilt toward financial services?
The Slalom team organized a set of workshops to gain a comprehensive understanding of VC’s needs. Dow and Slalom concluded that either the Salesforce Financial Services Cloud (FSC) or the Salesforce NPSP (Nonprofit Success Pack) would be a suitable CRM.
NPSP helps organizations build and nurture relationships with supporters, members, funders, and volunteers. But it doesn’t handle the financial aspects that Vanguard Charitable needs.
FSC, on the other hand, provides an integrated platform for a financial organization’s high-touch relationships with its investors. But it was not designed for donor-advised fund management or granting.
After careful consideration, the team selected FSC, on top of which they could build the nonprofit or granting components.
“Financial Services Cloud has a lot of the household and relationship features we needed, and it provides the flexibility to expand our use of Salesforce as we work toward our business goals of providing more guidance and having strong relationship management with our donors and grantee organizations,” says Diane Pomenti, Vanguard Charitable’s head of Strategic Technology Services.
Dow and her team mapped VC’s business cases to FSC and built other components, such as illiquid complex asset donations and succession plans, on top of this model. “It’s 90% native Salesforce,” says David Deitch, Slalom’s senior director in the Global Salesforce Practice for Financial Services. “We’re treating them as a for-profit with a nonprofit model. So they’re getting the best of both worlds.”
Extending Salesforce throughout the technology stack
Now that Dow and her team knew the path forward, they began implementing Salesforce with a minimum viable product (MVP) approach. It deployed FSC and Pardot for marketing automation and connected these systems for lead capturing and opportunity management to help attract new donors.
In spring 2022, VC leaders launched Boomi to integrate the multiple systems that will be part of the Platform of the Future, migrated all their donor information and DAF data from the legacy system into Salesforce, and implemented Salesforce Shield for encryption and enhanced security measures. This allowed the organization to keep track of all donor interactions such as cases, opportunities, and tasks in one place.
In 2023, VC’s latest expansion involved implementing Experience Cloud to help enhance the donor experience by enabling donors to better define their values and aspirations and, in the future, receive curated granting advice in return.
A true partnership to improve the donor experience
With part of the Platform of the Future in place, Vanguard Charitable can provide guidance and connections based on each donor’s philanthropic journey. This, along with a more streamlined giving process, will contribute to increased granting and a more significant impact by Vanguard Charitable and its donors. And that’s what it’s all about.
“I’ve never worked with individuals who truly care as much as they do. It’s in their DNA,” Deitch says. “At the end of the day, they care about the people they’re serving, and they are willing to do whatever it takes to make it the best experience possible.”
Dow and Pomenti credit Slalom as a valuable partner in this transformation. “I don’t think this was something that we would’ve gone forward with independently. Slalom has been a very good partner for us,” Dow says.
Vanguard Charitable’s digital evolution is ongoing and will likely never be complete. As it transforms to meet future initiatives, Vanguard Charitable is positioned to grow and scale to tackle the biggest challenges its donors face.
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