Case Study: Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency

Highlights

- Provided unified access to critical donor and constituent information
- Automated event donation and interest form collection on website
- Increased client and staff engagement with SMS Magic texting app

"Salesforce is a one stop-shop to know what has been done and even to plan future actions. This system allows us to fully track relationships, assign actions, and ensure our individual giving plan is working or is in progress. It seems the system is almost able to do everything imaginable within reason." – Lindsay Nickles, Communications Manager at Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency

Client Description

Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency is a social service agency which provides services to low-income individuals throughout Wayne County. Their diverse programs include homeless and housing, education, and basic needs and services such as emergency utility and water assistance. They are one of nearly 1000 community action agencies across the nation and the largest in Michigan. They have been in existence since 1971.

Some highlights of their impact in one year include: nearly $500,000 in direct client assistance, over 6,000 enrolled in Medicaid, 65% of financial coaching clients increased their net worth, emergency utility assistance provided to 392 homes, 929 youth enrolled in after-school programming, and 5,600 inter-agency referrals made. They place a high value on community input and consistent evaluation. Every three years they conduct a community needs assessment in order to evaluate and improve program and service effectiveness, with direct input from citizens. Their board includes three parts: elected officials, everyday business professionals and low-income individuals that they serve.

Challenges

Ineffective reporting
When Lindsay Nickles, Communications Manager, first came to Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency (Wayne Metro), they were using a cumbersome legacy database that had no dashboard functionality and created reporting headaches.

Work bottlenecks
With their previous donor database, staff couldn’t all log in at the same time. When they did log in, accessing their data was slow, and this led to incomplete tracking. “The system was taking too much time and was too simplistic for us,” Lindsay said.

Platform limitations
“We’re very forward-thinking in using technology to engage with our clients and staff,” Lindsay said. “We wanted a system that enabled us to be out in the field more, to allow us to know our status with community members, advocates, decision makers, and funders, and to raise more money.”

Solution

Wayne Metro chose a solution on the Salesforce platform not only for its ability to serve their present needs, but also future ones, like program management and the addition of a call center. They selected Exponent Partners’ QuickStart service, which included implementation of a donor and constituent management solution using the Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP). The QuickStart is a common way for nonprofits to get started with Salesforce, and features a two-week accelerated implementation with training and fundraising data migration. Exponent Partners helped develop the original QuickStart with Salesforce.org.

Wayne Metro also chose a QuickConsult service to make cost-effective additions to their Salesforce solution. During the QuickConsult service, Exponent Partners performed additional data migration and integrated several of Wayne Metro’s website interest forms with the app FormAssembly. Exponent Partners also installed the SMS Magic app which allows Wayne Metro to text and track their human services clients using Salesforce.

“We had excellent service from Exponent Partners! They made the transition to Salesforce easy and not too stressful. Even with their help, it’s a lot of work to get Salesforce going the way it needs to be, but in the end it’s worth it every dollar,” Lindsay said.

Results

Better results measurement
“The greatest value to our system is having organized, logical access to all our information,” said Lindsay. “Different dashboards are critical too, as development wants to see different data than communications.” Wayne Metro now finds it easier to report on donors, such as by month or by contribution amount. They can also more swiftly do monthly reconciliation with finance and respond to audits.

Improved efficiency and access
“Everyone can log in at the same time to see the information they need,” said Lindsay. “And our donor tracking is a lot better. Salesforce allows for a full view of a donor or relationship. Instead of relying on constant staff communication to know what staff member is talking to what member at a foundation or corporation, we can just log into Salesforce to see phone calls, emails and even asks. It’s a one stop-shop to know what has been done and even to plan future actions. This system allows us to fully track relationships, assign actions, and ensure our individual giving plan is working or is in progress. It seems the system is almost almost able to do everything imaginable within reason.” Donations from Wayne Metro’s events page are now entered automatically into Salesforce. They are also beginning to track grants for the first time.

FormAssembly enables Wayne Metro to collect sponsorship request forms on their website and populates the form data in Salesforce, saving time on event- and grant-related requests. They also collect volunteer forms, program interest forms and others using the app, which saves them manual uploads and emails back and forth.

Increased engagement
Wayne Metro uses SMS Magic to increase client and staff engagement. They send client SMS updates and reminders for their programs as well as staff alerts, and have seen a 90% text open rate. “One of our guiding principles is to continuously become more efficient and adaptive,” Lindsay said. “Salesforce allows us to serve more people and make a bigger impact in the community through better tracking, engagement like texting, and many other efficiencies.”