Nonprofit Use Cases for Chatter [Tech Tips]

Using Salesforce's Chatter in a Nonprofit

Salesforce.com’s Chatter product was released back in 2010 to much fanfare. Among nonprofits, its use has been mixed. Some were quick to embrace it, while others haven’t seen the value to their organization. For very small nonprofits with fewer than 10 staff members, for example, it might be hard to come up with reasons that you need to have another collaboration tool. You may already use Google Chat, feel like email works fine for you, or all work in the same office and can holler across the room.

But there are some good reasons to consider using Chatter. For those of you who don’t know, Chatter is meant to be a collaboration tool inside of your Salesforce.com instance. With it, you can “follow” records, people, and groups. How many times have major gift officers asked to be notified whenever something changes about their major donor? Chatter allows major gift officers to follow a record and receive updates automatically. When following people at your organization, if they post something interesting that they are working on, you can chime in with your own thoughts and expertise. Finally, when following a group, you can easily share information about a specific topic, such as a particular event or workshop you are planning. There becomes no need for an email chain that cc’s dozens of people.

Here’s the best part: Chatter allows you to invite anyone at your organization to join, even if they don’t normally have a Salesforce.com license. Not only that, but you can invite people outside of your organization, such as volunteers, board members, or clients.

Amber over at Cloud4Good had a great post to get people thinking about use cases for nonprofits. Having worked with many nonprofits of all sizes, I’ve got a few to add to the list.

Use Case 1 – Easier Collaboration

You work at a geographically distributed organization, either across a state, the country, or the world. Staff members may be working on similar project types in their region (such as walk events in many cities). Chatter would allow these users to collaborate more easily about common questions, celebrate successes, and share what works for fundraising or for program/service delivery.

Use Case 2 – Better Support

Your organization supports people with a specific disease or condition. You’d like to allow support groups to go beyond being in-person. Support group leaders would like to share best practices or help get new leaders started. Chatter allows these people to share their ideas. Staff members can see what the most common issues are and build resources to support those volunteers and provide them with better service.

Use Case 3 – Real-time Notification

In your development office, it is hard to keep everyone on the same page about grants and major gifts. You’d like to have multiple people work on these opportunities and share information about what is going on and how to approach the donor. Right now you have a weekly meeting where you all go over “the spreadsheet” together. You’d like to be alerted to changes to the record and receive notice when it has been received. The meetings and spreadsheets will be eliminated with Chatter, as anyone can easily see what the status is and discuss next steps. Having Chatter desktop installed or using the Chatter mobile app would allow users to get Chatter notifications where they are, without having to login to Salesforce.com.

These are just some ideas to get you started, especially if you think Chatter isn’t for you.

Have other use cases or success stories? Reply in the comments section below!

About

The Connected Cause is a place for experts in the nonprofit online space to share perspective, offer guidance and promote best practices for using today’s technology effectively. Our goal is to provide a comprehensive source of collaborative thought leadership for the nonprofit industry.

9 comments

  1. Chatter can also be useful for management to connect with staff. Often times, the management team is involved in exciting projects and deals and would like to share the good news with staff. Chatter is a great way to do this.

  2. Chatter can also be useful for management to connect with staff. Often times, the management team is involved in exciting projects and deals and would like to share the good news with staff. Chatter is a great way to do this.

  3. Anita Sakhuja

    Chatter groups also provide good place to share employee/team achievements and praise and motivate employees.

  4. Anita Sakhuja

    Chatter groups also provide good place to share employee/team achievements and praise and motivate employees.

  5. Susie Saxten

    I find Chatter most helpful for that “Real-Time Notification” use case. Basically, any time you find yourself wanting to email a coworker with a link to a Salesforce record (“Hey, could you please add your notes from Friday’s meeting with John Doe to the activity I created?”), you might be better off using Chatter.It really cuts down on email and saves the conversation trail in one, easy to find place.

  6. Susie Saxten

    I find Chatter most helpful for that “Real-Time Notification” use case. Basically, any time you find yourself wanting to email a coworker with a link to a Salesforce record (“Hey, could you please add your notes from Friday’s meeting with John Doe to the activity I created?”), you might be better off using Chatter.It really cuts down on email and saves the conversation trail in one, easy to find place.

  7. Though I initially questioned how Chatter could be useful, I have been converted to a true believer! Here at Heller Consulting we have used this tool in database migration projects with our non-profit clients, collaborating with the project team on a variety of things such as requirements and project issues.

    Chatter can be extremely useful for these types of large initiatives in addition to the day to day benefits that Mary mentioned.

  8. Audra Smith-Wilke

    Even for people in the same city, I like to use it for simple Q&A. Lots of folks ask questions and get answers by email, but the answers also get lost over time and eventually need to be repeated. Using a Chatter Group gives you an easy place to keep track of these things without much administrative overhead, and keeps people using Salesforce.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *