Pardot for nonprofits

by Julia Khon
Salesforce CRM is a powerful platform that helps nonprofits to consolidate stakeholder data and activities in one central place. Salesforce CRM is the digital heart and soul of operations of an organization with various insightful intelligence. However, having rich CRM data is only one part of the equation. Using the data to craft relevant, personalized, automated communication with stakeholders is a different story. Pardot is the marketing automation solution that does just that – it allows marketers to use CRM data and engage stakeholders on a whole new level.

Pardot is not just an email and mass email marketing tool; it is a marketing automation platform with powerful features. This solution is powerful and delivers concrete results and it is priced accordingly. The list price of Pardot is 9k per year but unlike mass emails, Pardot has a significant ROI.

*Pardot was recently renamed to Marketing Cloud Account Engagement (MCAE)

CRM and Pardot Together

Mass emails vs Marketing Automation

Top Reasons For Nonprofits to Use Pardot

  • Build on Salesforce
    • Reliable integration = independence for clients
    • Take advantage of real-time Salesforce CRM data
  • Efficiency
    • Marketing automation replaces many traditionally manual tasks
  • Customization and automation
    • Personalized journeys ensure that donors are contacted at the right time.
    • Automated lists and audiences based on established criteria.
  • Intelligence
    • Understand and measure the effectiveness of your marketing content and communication.
    • Engagement analysis of each donor

Key Functionalities

There are many powerful functionalities in Pardot. Here are my favourites.

Engagement Studio

Pardot Engagement Studio is an intuitive marketing automation tool that is a more complete version of an email drip program. Engagement Studio allows you to send follow-up emails, create a logic-based outreach campaign, and test scenarios to see how a recipient might navigate the journey.

Example 1: New Donor Welcome and Anniversary Celebration
Goal: Stewardship and Revenue GenerationDynamic Lists


Dynamic lists (also known as “smart” lists) continually refresh in the background, checking which contacts match defined criteria and removing contacts that no longer match it.

For example, you can set up your suppression list (people who should not receive your particular marketing email) as a dynamic list with criteria that if you emailed them already this week (this month) twice, exclude them from a particular communication. Since this list is dynamic, it will update as you send out communications, so you never have to worry about fatiguing recipients.

Regular, ad-hoc static lists are also available in Pardot. 


Personalization and segmentation are essential to get people’s attention and generate action. With Salesforce as a CRM and Pardot as a marketing automation solution, your communications deliver tangible results.

Return on Pardot investment can be broken down into 3 categories:

1. Additional revenue from current fundraising campaigns

2. Additional revenue from new strategies such as donor anniversary campaign or a lapsed donor re-engagement journey

3. Time efficiencies from staff who no longer needs to manipulate CRM data to create mailing lists.

Depending on your fundraising “base”, even a few thought-through engagement strategies can generate from a 1% to 10% increase in revenue.



  • Pardot uses CRM data to drive engagement
  • Key features:Engagement Studio, Dynamic lists, forms and landing pages


  • Implementation requires an expert
  • Marketing staff to prepare communications content
  • Mastering Pardot takes time (but not as nearly as much as Salesforce)

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