In February of 2021, Independent Women’s Forum (IWF), a leading women’s organization, signed a two-year agreement with Salsa Labs for its Salsa CRM, customer relationship management tool, and Sarah Engage platforms, communication and engagement tool.
IWF did a lot of research before choosing Salsa Labs, interviewing various companies to make sure they had the right partner—especially one with exceptionally high standards for privacy and data management. They wanted to make sure it would be viable and wouldn’t be subject to cancel culture. They were assured that Salsa Labs was a good fit and even introduced them to other policy-focused organizations they’d worked with in the past. They held upwards of 10-15 pre-signing calls as part of their evaluation phase and talked with various representatives from Engage to ensure the product would function in a way the organization was looking for.
Feeling confident, IWF signed.
It turns out that confidence was misplaced. While still in the implementation phase, which was thorough with workbooks and various trainings, IWF discovered through other sources that Salsa Labs had been acquired by another company—one that had very specific political leanings that went against IWF’s ideology and policy approach. And the company hadn’t communicated any of this with them. It had been two months since the acquisition was announced.
Concerned, they reached out to their point of contact at Salsa Labs. The response was not what they were hoping for. They confirmed their acquisition by EveryAction and said that IWF did not fit under EveryAction’s acceptable use policy, stating:
“With this change, there are a small handful of clients who will not have their contracts renewed as they fall outside the (acceptable use policy). I do want to be straightforward with you that IWF falls into this category.”
Despite the fact that they had barely started the process to onboard the new partner and get the system fully set up, connected, and tested, they were told the contract would not be renewed when it expired in May 2023, offering to extend the contract for three months past that if IWF needed more time to find another provider.
What they did not offer was any information on what IWF had done that was against their policies or offer them the chance to void the contract, as it would not make sense to undertake all of the work to onboard, prepare, and launch a client to only keep it for two years and then be forced off.
With this information and unexpected response, IWF began exporting and backing up their data from the platform and scrubbing all IP warmup emails in an attempt to secure data and inquired with their legal team on next steps.
Despite being canceled and not utilizing the platform in any way, shape, or form since, IWF received an invoice for the second year of non-service eight months later. After some back and forth, it was determined that IWF would not have to pay the outstanding invoice.
In the “goodbye” email, Salsa Labs wrote: We’re sorry to see you end your relationship with Salsa Labs. Thank you, and we hope we can work together in the future.”