Salsa CRM is a cloud-based donor management software that helps non-profits in all sectors track their relationships and fundraising efforts.
Their main selling point is the tool functions as a center for all activity, allowing you to track both online and offline campaigns.
Where some tools are made for a specific niche—think the church-centric Planning Center, we liked Salsa CRM for its ability to tailor the software to each non-profit category. Animal rights groups might have different needs than a group focused on eradicating malaria in third world countries, for example.
At a glance, Salsa CRM looks like it has it all. You’ll get a strong lineup of analytics and reporting features. There’s also contact management features, campaign tracking, A/B testing, volunteer and event managing, and more.
This all sounds great, but we’ll take a closer look to determine whether Salsa CRM can handle all of the myriad capabilities with ease. Or—if some happen to fall short of expectations.
What is Salsa CRM?
Salsa CRM is a cloud-based donor management platform that brings together several reporting features and datasets to help you improve your outreach efforts.
Salsa presents a powerful and intuitive solution to nonprofits of all sizes. The sheer volume of features impressed us right off the bat.
Salsa’s primary goal is to cover any type of marketing effort or relationship management need your organization may have. While it’s not entirely clear based on a quick look through the website, Salsa offers two tools made to work together.
There’s the Salsa CRM, as well as Salsa Engage, a social media tool. You’ll need to pay for both separately for the complete suite of features.
The platform helps nonprofits attract new donors and retain existing constituents. It also helps you track your relationship with supporters over time. Data collection tools allow you to learn more about your donors—uncovering information that allows you to personalize your email and direct mail messaging.
Streamline Donor Data
With all of your fundraising tools and donor information housed under one central app, you’ll be able to save time and automate a ton of admin tasks.
The makers of Salsa CRM say that the tool is bound to help users become more efficient and spend less time on paperwork. All communications records are included alongside datasets, too, so its easy to stay on top of all outreach efforts.
Personalized Outreach Process
As we mentioned, Salsa CRM collects donor information. It offers tracking by demographics, interests, income levels, and the likelihood of donating. You can group constituents together and create email series that cater to each group. So, you can talk to recurrent donors and volunteers using different language.
When you run an email campaign through Salsa, you’ll be able to create a series through this little chart. Create email courses like they’ve included in the example below. There, they’ve opted to send emails once a week to new subscribers. Each comes with a specific call to action—a welcome email, content promotion, a request for more data. Finally, the last email asks for a donation.
You don’t have to set up your campaigns like this. However, Salsa’s example highlights the importance of nurturing new members before asking them for money.
Optimize Your Donor Management Strategy
Salsa CRM allows you to optimize your fundraising effort through their selection of tools. This platform comes equipped with dashboard analytics and advanced reporting. With everything in one place, Salsa promises to help you gain more visibility into your donor relationships — on top of that, you’ll no longer need to create reports on Excel sheets to present to the board.
Salsa CRM comes equipped with a customizable dashboard. This area keeps track of all activities, consolidating key information to get you up to speed.
You can customize your board by adding a variety of widgets. These widgets include specific projects, money raised, or comparisons from one year to the next.
The donation tracking features allows you to track data based on custom fields, take notes, and make smarter decisions about each donor relationship.
Direct Mail Fundraising
The direct mail fundraising feature allows users to create professional-looking letters with the tool’s built-in word processing tool. They’ve also incorporated a mail merge tool that allows you to create labels and print them directly from the Salsa hub. While Word has this feature, as do other word processing platforms, it’s nice that they’ve added this feature into the CRM for extra convenience.
Salsa CRM promises better online fundraising by helping you use donor data to send the right message at the right time. Use a wide range of tools including email marketing and automation, social scheduling and publishing, online registration, and DIY fundraising events.
The goal is to reach out in as many possible ways, allowing you to connect with more people that care about your cause.
Salsa CRM knows that not all gifts come through digital channels. As such, you’ll still be able to use the platform to track your online efforts. Examples of offline efforts include direct mail campaigns, attaching meeting notes and event participation to donor records, and more. You can also accept online registrations from people in person, preauthorize credit cards and process auction bids online.
Rich Donor Profiles
Donor profiles are comprehensive and come with all of the details you’ll need to customize your outreach efforts and get more donations. Use profiles to keep track of customer interests, their relationships, demographics.
Salsa CRM comes with a deduplication feature, which removes duplicate profiles. This allows you to avoid marketing to the same person twice—thereby causing them to unsubscribe or get upset. You’ll also save money on direct mail by making sure no one gets 10 postcards delivered.
Reporting and Analytics
Instead of spending time putting together low-tech spreadsheets, Salsa CRM stands to help you save time. The platform comes with ten pre-set report templates. You’ll get to see gift reports, donor details, and more.
The visual dashboard collects analytics, so you’ll see event signups and incoming donations when you log into your account.
We didn’t get to see much about Salsa CRM’s reports. The site doesn’t feature a whole lot of content on the home page. In fact, most of the key details are hidden within the site’s massive library of guides.
Unfortunately, we don’t have a definitive answer for how much this tool is supposed to cost. According to the Salsa website, pricing is offered on a quoted basis and will depend on size and volume.
Without a pricing grid, we also can’t see whether the platform comes with caps on the number of emails you can send or how many contacts you can store in your account. This makes it hard to size up the value. Many tools put caps on emails and other pieces of content, as well as contact information.
Your best bet is to call the company and schedule a demo.
Salsa CRM is a cloud-hosted solution. As such, you don’t need to download any bulky software. All you’ll need is an internet connection and a relatively new device.
While the program is built to work with PC and Mac alike, several users mentioned that there were some issues using Salsa on Apple products. The problems consisted primarily of lag times or bugs, nothing major. Still, Mac users may want to look elsewhere for a donor management program.
Some Other Salsa Issues
Unfortunately, we found that customers reported a few issues here and there. Data transfers were a big one. While Salsa comes with a deduplicate feature, several customers found that their data was a mess upon arrival.
On the constituent side, the user experience wasn’t great. We saw several mentions from nonprofit customers claiming their donors had issues with the donation pages and other features—which let’s face it, stands to hurt fundraising efforts.
Based on the donation page below, we could see some issues. It looks a bit outdated. In some cases, poorly designed checkout pages make customers feel less secure.
Unfortunately, you’ll need to submit a ticket for every problem you encounter. While they do provide a number for sales or to request a demo, actual customers aren’t treated with the same priority. This, of course, is a point of contention for many existing customers who experienced issues with the platform ranging from data transfer problems to questions about the features.
That said Salsa CRM does come with some resources there to educate non-profit staff. Here is a look at some of the content they’ve posted on the site.
Training and Coaching
According to the “Why Salsa” section on the site, one of the tool’s main selling points is that they’ll personally train your team. Salsa provides a dedicated client success team there to guide you through the setup and implementation of your new CRM.
Salsa Help Center
The Salsa help center comes with a guide for setting up every feature you can think of. From customizing your dashboard to setting up a report, this resource provides step-by-step written instructions, accompanied by instructional GIFs that show the process as you would see it on your own screen.
The Salsa Scholars portal is available to paid customers only. Here, you’re directed to a SkillJar site and can access the platform’s pool of tutorials. We’re not sure if it’s all video content, as we were unable to access the platform ourselves.
The best practices tab features several marketing-specific guides for non-profits. Here, you’ll find things like “A Quick Guide to Marketing Automation for Non-Profits.” Or you can learn how to run Facebook ads or host a digital fundraiser.
There is about a dozen of these guides and all cover some useful subject matter. In all, we were pretty impressed with Salsa’s content library. They’ve covered all the bases and seem invested in their clients’ success.
The blog covers similar subject matter as the Best Practices section, but these are shorter pieces with more actionable information. Again, its a nice lineup of digital marketing tips and tricks, as well as some info about event planning and donor outreach.
Would We Recommend Salsa CRM for Donor Management?
Salsa CRM is one of the best donor management software solutions we’ve encountered in a couple of ways. For one, the tool comes with so many features, almost an overwhelming amount. Second, Salsa CRM lets you tailor your account to your organization’s needs.
The website lists out the different types of non-profits and NGOs that can benefit from the platform—and how they differ from one another.
Finally, it’s an all-in-one platform is especially appealing. You’ll get a CRM, analytics, and a few marketing tools.
Still, we didn’t get a chance to see all of the Salsa CRM tools in action. Some features were completely left off of the front page and there was no sense of what comes with each package, how much it costs and so on.
Finally, the mentions of poor user experience and trouble with Apple products gave us some pause. We don’t know the exact circumstances here, but we didn’t love seeing these types of complaints.
Ultimately, these issues may have something to do with Salsa attempting too much at once. That said, if you’re looking for a CRM that brings analytics and direct marketing to the table, at least give Salsa a call.