Enter Centric: A Team of Volunteers with Deep Salesforce Experience
Working with Apparo, a nonprofit that matches IT professionals with agencies needing their skills, volunteers from Centric Consulting’s Charlotte team implemented the Salesforce CRM at CAMG. The Centric team included a solution architect, a Salesforce administrator and business analyst, and a project manager with extensive Salesforce experience.
The team’s first task was to install under the Salesforce Power of Us Program. Power of Us provides discounted Salesforce technology to eligible educational institutions and nonprofit organizations to help them fulfill their missions. For CAMG, it gave the organization access to 10 production licenses for Salesforce’s Sales and Service Clouds, access to the Nonprofit Success Pack from the Salesforce AppExchange, and a sandbox.
The team then turned to CAMG’s processes. Through multiple workshops, the Centric volunteers mapped out the organization’s client intake, approval and assistance-award processes. Analyzing the organization’s reporting requirements allowed the team to build a data model supporting all their reporting needs. Next, they set up custom objects, fields, relationships, record types, page layouts, and app home pages.
With these elements in place, the team was ready to use Salesforce Experience Cloud to build a site that could receive applications from prospective Gastonia clients. Experience Cloud provided tools like templates, drag-and-drop components, and custom themes, allowing Centric volunteers to develop custom screen flows for the application process.
Now that CAMG has integrated its data with Salesforce, the organization has a fully searchable database that allows it to create application records, match them to existing accounts, and create accounts and contacts when needed. The result: a 360-degree view of client households. By refining the matching logic within the Salesforce tools, CAMG now has better insight into their clients to ensure that only qualified applicants get the assistance they need from Gastonia’s limited resources.
While the software implementation is now complete, one of the Centric volunteers, Senior Manager Jennifer Elliott, remains involved as CAMG continues to explore its system and refine its processes. Elliott currently works with the organization to automate notifications, send list emails, expand the types of metrics tracked, further customize their tools, troubleshoot problems, and more.
The Results: More Applications Processed In Less Time and With More Insights
Since implementing Salesforce, CAMG increased the number of applications they processed by 138 percent between July 2022 and July 2023, all while increasing convenience for those they serve. Because applications are now automated, potential clients can apply online rather than traveling to CAMG during office hours.
Meanwhile, the new software makes it easier for CAMG staff and volunteers to track the status of those applications, reducing overpayment on requests and decreasing staff time by 780 hours per year. In fact, when a CAMG employee went on leave for seven months, Salesforce allowed the organization to keep up with the higher volume of applications without adding additional staff hours.
Another significant benefit of CAMG’s new, custom application process is that it does not require Social Security numbers. That makes it easier and safer for the organization to serve immigrants who do not have a number. Securing a social security number can take at least two weeks, which can be challenging without a permanent address or other way to receive it. These delays can be life-threatening for clients facing an immediate crisis.
In addition, because Salesforce dashboards now integrate with QuickBooks, CAMG has better insight into its budget. Staff can better plan expenses and forecast and monitor restricted accounts, all of which help the organization complete grant applications and other processes needed to secure additional funding.
Nonprofit organizations are often burdened with out-of-date systems that make it harder to fulfill their missions. Salesforce’s Power of Us is one option available to nonprofits to help them get the tools they need without the cost of a full Salesforce implementation.
However, organizations still need resources dedicated to mapping their processes, organizing data, and discussing use cases to get the most out of the Salesforce platform. Organizations must also be mindful of what they don’t need, given the wide variety of options available. Nevertheless, modern CRM tools and nonprofits make great partners in meeting the needs of our most vulnerable populations.