- Unified ecosystem
- No limitations on marketing automation tools
- Open API and integration with Salesforce
- Primarily intended for donors
- No relational database connectors or other native integrations
- Visual editors very basic
Salsa Labs is a Baltimore-based software company offering a powerful donor management software-as-a-service (SaaS) suite to nonprofits and advocacy groups. Its clean, easy to learn, and robust. Nevertheless, as with any platform, it has its limitations. Every component of the suite should be considered before an organization deploys it for day-to-day use.
What is it?
On paper, Salsa is a donor management software suite for nonprofit organizations. The platform is a CRM and marketing automation ecosystem built around donor management, user access, and scalability. Other donor-focused CRMs include the nonprofit editions of Salesforce and Pipedrive, among a series of similar platforms.
Ease of use
Salsa Labs is incredibly easy to learn. Though we were only offered a guided demo, we were impressed with the aesthetic elements of the user dashboards in each platform. For example, the Salsa CRM emulated a proprietary design but functioned as a traditional, run of the mill CRM software. This proprietary design was easy to navigate, and the data visualizations and metrics were easy to understand. We also had similar accolades for Salsa’s Engage platform.
Marketing automation and advocacy metrics
Engage is Salsa’s marketing automation platform, similar to the in-platform marketing automation tools offered by enterprise providers like Oracle, Salesforce, or Blackbaud’s Raiser’s Edge NXT system. Raiser’s Edge is the closest software comparison, further evidenced by the fact that Salsa and Blackbaud are direct market competitors.
The marketing automation software is multi-channel focused. For example, Salsa Engage has a built-in WYSIWYG drag-and-drop visual editor framework for HTML emails and various types of embeddable landing pages. Though the visual editors are present and offer an intuitive addition to the donor-focused CRM, they are very basic. Mailchimp visual editors are similar, but we believe the software is intended to alleviate user experience and offer an eased user session. Salsa’s marketing automation software includes other multi-genre messaging approaches like calling, social media, and SMS features. All of these features can further be automated and programmed around segmented targets, geographics, biographics, and general demographics.
All interactions with marketing products initiated from the Engage platform can be tracked in-platform on a metrics dashboard. These metrics are referred to “advocacy metrics” and serve as the necessary numbers to track potential supporters, conversions, and others.
Salesforce, API, and integrations
Salsa CRM and the Engage platforms can all integrate with Salesforce via the only native external integration offered to users. There is an open API for developers who wish to create custom integrations with other software; however, this could be an issue for clients that may not have the necessary stack development experience. We advise that if an organization wishes to deploy the Salsa ecosystem and take advantage of the open API documentation, they need to have the talent on staff or reach out to the company’s support for further guidance.
We also didn’t like that there were no relational database connections, citing the same setback of lack of integrations. During our demo, our point of contact stated that users would have to house their data within Salesforce to access data warehousing software integrations such as MySQL, the various Amazon data solutions, and others. Despite the focus on being a donor affairs interface, there are no integrations with popular finance management software like Quickbooks.
Salsa users are offered a high-quality support regime from the company. Client users can access DIY-troubleshooting, and support materials from the Salsa Labs help site and knowledge base. Clients are also given a customer success representative serving as an account executive of sorts and a live tech support team. Other requests can be sent via the in-platform chat and feedback modules. Based on our user satisfaction research, the support regime is by far one of the high points. The data migration and onboarding processes are streamlined and simplified for users that may be tech illiterate to some degree.
Salsa Labs prices its products based on the needs and scale of a particular client. During our interactions with our point of contact at Salsa, we were quoted at $849 per month when advocacy and Engage iterations of the software are included. This rate was also based on 50,000 contacts in the internal Salsa database and includes extensive marketing actions and user accounts. Virtually every aspect of the Salsa ecosystem is customized to the needs of the client.
What we think
Salsa Labs has produced a scalable solution for any nonprofit organization that engages in advocacy and other organizational evangelization. For us, the high points were seen in the advocacy applications of the Salsa ecosystem, including a series of trackable advocacy metrics and industry-standard marketing automation. Organizations that are bargain hunting should look elsewhere. Despite the customized and scalable pricing, Salsa could be costly for low-budget initiatives.
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