My non-profit organization currently uses Salesforce mostly to keep track of all kinds of data about our "customers." However, at the moment all of this data is having to be filled out and updated manually by our employees, which takes up an extraordinary amount of time. To facilitate this process, we need to be able to have external users who can log in, update their own contact info, etc., but using Communities simply is not an option for us, as it would cost us $2400/year (and that's with the non-profit discount).

At first I thought we could automate the creation of users using the contact info we already have in the database, but I'm pretty sure we would only be able to create "Chatter" users, who would have access to nothing except for a discussion forum (which isn't really helpful).

Is there another, cheaper way of doing this without using Communities? Maybe an inexpensive authentication service outside of Salesforce that can still integrate with Salesforce somehow? I'm a little lost here, and I'd really appreciate any advice out there. Thank you.

1 Answer 1


You could use the Request Update emails (https://help.salesforce.com/HTViewHelpDoc?id=contacts_update.htm&language=en_US) this feature sends an email to a contact/account and they can update the information for you.

The other option is to use Heroku Connect or the SalesForce API and build up your own system to allow customers to edit their details and have the 'results' synced to SalesForce - this would require a lot of development work though.

What details do you specifically want people to update?

  • Thank you for your response. That link looks like it will be very helpful for what we want to accomplish right now. Actually though, the reason why I mentioned the need for login capability is because we're looking to expand a little further beyond just updating contact info. Specifically, my organization is a youth orchestra, and a couple of the things we're looking to integrate with Salesforce are attendance records (for rehearsals and concerts), and also tuition payment, which as you can imagine, is user-specific and needs to be secure.
    – Robert
    Jun 8, 2015 at 16:55
  • Do you have any good resources for getting started with Heroku Connect or the Salesforce API? I am an amateur developer with some coding experience, so I might be able to make use of those, though it would certainly be helpful to have some guidance.
    – Robert
    Jun 8, 2015 at 16:56
  • @Robert - Have you read the PHP toolkit? developer.salesforce.com/page/PHP_Toolkit and there are some samples too developer.salesforce.com/page/PHP_Toolkit_20.0_Samples. Jun 9, 2015 at 9:25

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