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Now that you’ve decided to migrate your institution’s Advancement office from The Raiser’s Edge to Salesforce, it’s time to start planning the actual migration. We’ve compiled a few tips to help you plan for a successful transition to Salesforce based on our experience with over 1,500 Salesforce implementations.

Timing

While every Salesforce implementation is a little bit different, if you’re migrating from a well-known system like The Raiser’s Edge, plan for a 6-9 month project. There’s some wiggle room in this estimate based on the size and scope of your organization, the quality (or cleanliness) of your data and the level of internal IT support you have, but we’ve rarely seen projects that require less than 6 months on the calendar.

Beyond the specific project timeline, make sure you include time to find and select the right implementation partner and get any contracts approved through your budgeting and contracting cycles.

Consider your annual fundraising calendar. Are there specific times of the year or events that are your heavy season or have critical deadlines? If so, you’ll want to plan around those times. You don’t want to ask your team to learn a new system during the busiest time of year.  

Finally, consider the timing of your existing license renewal with Blackbaud or any other partners. In order to plan around the needs of your team and your institution, we recommend that most institutions start talking to Salesforce and looking for an implementation partner a year prior to any upcoming license renewal. 

Start Thinking About Your Data - NOW

The most common and costly mistakes that your advancement team can make when moving to a new system is to overlook the data migration. 

One of the primary benefits of using Salesforce to manage your advancement efforts is having a unified view of all the people and organizations connected to your institution. The heart of this “unified view” is the data you have about your donors including their background, interests, relationship with your institution, any appeals you’ve made and obviously, their donation history. 

As you use Salesforce, you build a store of useful donor data, but you already have a treasure trove of donor data in your existing systems. If you invest in a comprehensive data migration, that information will be useful in Salesforce from Day 1.  

Data migration is more than just an import. A good Salesforce data migration will actually transform the data created in your old system so that it matches the way that Salesforce organizes data. The goal is to have all your data (regardless of its origin) look like it was created in Salesforce. 

We’ve created a handy data checklist to help you prepare for your data migration.

If you’re planning to move your advancement team to Salesforce from The Raiser’s Edge (or any other system), KELL Partners can help.  We are a Salesforce Platinum Partner and have completed over 1,500 Salesforce implementations, including 75 specifically from The Raiser’s Edge. We can help you scope your project, migrate your data, set up your new system and train your team.  Contact us today!