Spinal Research

June 11, 2024
About Spinal Research

Spinal Research is the UK’s leading medical charity focused on the repair and restoration of the spinal cord. The organization’s small team of 14 covers research, fundraising, finance, marketing, and everything in between. Over the past 40 years, this nonprofit’s research has led to major insights, creating the possibility of delivering meaningful therapies and ultimately finding a cure.


Spinal Research’s system setup urgently needed improvement. Income processing wasn’t automated, there were no integrations, and the donation page on the website wasn’t properly linked or branded. The organization wasn’t in control of its data, and a lack of overview made it difficult to efficiently obtain the right information. Given its ambition to focus on core activities and realize growth, Spinal Research set itself the goal to minimize admin work and maximize automation.


Salesforce’s Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP) offered the solution Spinal Research was looking for. Besides being highly customizable and favorably priced, Salesforce works smoothly and is easy to manage. When the organization learned about native Salesforce solution FinDock, it seemed like the perfect payment management solution. FinDock’s experience in the UK and knowledge of the nonprofit sector — as demonstrated by the Gift Aid Management module and FinDock’s Direct Debit (which supports BACS), among other things — instilled trust. Spinal Research opted for the powerful combination of Salesforce and FinDock.

NCT's logo
Benefits of FinDock for Spinal Research
Time savings

70-80 hours

a month
Cost savings


in the first 5 years
“Salesforce and FinDock allow us to implement end-to-end automation”

Processes have become less complex — and, therefore, easier to manage. “We no longer rely on external parties to do anything for us,” says Dale, who used the available resources to figure out how Salesforce and FinDock work. “The architecture of the two systems makes sense, and I can tell FinDock is a native Salesforce solution. I’ve never used it separately — only as part of the Salesforce CRM. Everything ties together nicely, allowing us to implement end-to-end automation.”

To illustrate what this looks like, Dale provides an example: “When someone registers for the London Marathon, we provide a link to the Giving Page. Once they pay the registration fee, they’re immediately added to the campaign. That means we can instantly see who will definitely be on our London Marathon Team. We also have people indicate their preferences by simply ticking a few boxes, after which they’re automatically added to the right mailing lists. There’s no manual tasks required. It’s very easy!”

“It was easy to set up the flow for our annual network meeting”

For an annual network meeting, Spinal Research recently set up a flow that has fully automated the registration process.

“At our annual network meeting, scientists and critical investigators from across the globe gather to share their current research findings. It’s a closed event, so we used Salesforce Account Engagement to send out the event registration email to a specific list of people. It leads them to a landing page that contains a link to the registration form we created. Once they complete this form, all information is stored in Salesforce, and they’re added to the event campaign. They automatically receive an email with our bank details and a link to the Giving Page. The latter is meant for those who want to pay by credit card. After they’ve made the payment, their member status is changed from ‘Registered’ to ‘Paid’ in Salesforce.”

Dale is very happy with the result: “It was easy to set up the flow, which works really well!”

“Getting our systems sorted out has been the bedrock foundation for achieving growth”

Since Spinal Research diversifies its fundraising opportunities, Salesforce’s modular nature comes in handy. For example, event fundraising (through the London Marathon, the Great North Run, and the Berlin Marathon, among other events) has spurred Dale to look into event management as a module.

Of course, Spinal Research also uses Salesforce and FinDock to facilitate regular giving.

“We’ve got big aspirations as an organization. We want to increase our fundraising over the next few years. With our old systems, that would have been impossible. But I fully believe we can do it now. Getting our systems sorted out has been the bedrock foundation for achieving growth.”

“With FinDock, all data is in one place”

In summary, Dale believes that the combination of Salesforce and FinDock plays a key role in the organization’s future. Now that Spinal Research has reduced the admin load, it’s moving in an upwards spiral. “We finally have time to investigate how to use payment data to create a 360-degree customer view,” says Dale. “Starting automated donor journeys is on our roadmap.”

That is, of course, possible because Spinal Research manages its payment and donor data in Salesforce. Dale explains, “Had we directly connected with PSPs, we would’ve managed data in lots of different systems. We’d be going back and forth between those PSPs and Salesforce, trying to figure out how it all comes together. With FinDock, all data is in one place!”