Playworks is a national nonprofit organization that supports learning by providing safe, healthy and inclusive play and physical activity to low-income schools at recess and throughout the entire school day. The organization operates its direct service program in more than 300 schools in 23 US cities, and serves more than 130,000 elementary school students every day. Playworks Training also provides training and technical support for schools and youth organizations that wish to train their own adults to manage a healthy and inclusive playground.
TRACKED DATA IN EXCEL SPREADSHEETS
“We were tracking data on three different programs and thousands of people in Excel,” said Kyle DeRoos, Salesforce Administrator at Playworks. “These data silos left us unable to access program information in a universal way.”
FACED LABOR-INTENSIVE PROCESSES TO REPORT ON AND ANALYZE DATA
“There was a huge amount of work and many hours involved in trying to get our data and organize it in a way that was useful and accurate,” explained Kyle. This labor-intensive process translated to lost revenue because prospective donors were not targeted effectively.
NEEDED INFRASTRUCTURE TO SCALE PROGRAMS AND TRACK OUTCOMES
The system Playworks used for programmatic data collection struggled to handle large volumes of data and had poor reporting capabilities. “We were preparing to add 10 more cities,” stated Jennette Claassen, Director of Evaluation at Playworks. “We needed a way to easily combine and manage program data from new and existing schools in different cities, so that we could track individual and aggregate outcomes.”
Short on resources and concerned about migrating 10 years of data into Salesforce, Playworks turned to Exponent Partners in 2006. “We wanted to work with a company that had experience working with nonprofits and had expertise implementing and configuring Salesforce,” said Kyle. “We were interested in a firm that could apply industry best practices, so we wouldn’t have to figure out the system using trial and error.” Since then, Exponent Partners has completed several engagements that have spanned the initial data transfer and support for annual appeals to sophisticated program data tracking. “Exponent Partners has efficiently customized the Salesforce platform to meet our needs and processes. We would never be in this place without their help.”
REDUCED TIME REQUIRED TO MANAGE REPORTS
Staff used to wait up to two weeks for a third-party to make changes to a report; such changes are now managed internally in minutes. It no longer takes staff four weeks to extract data and update a mailing list for an appeal. Exponent Partners reduced this manual process to one click in Salesforce.
IMPROVED DATA INTEGRITY
According to Kyle, “The processes that Exponent Partners have designed and implemented enable us to enter information cleanly and extract the data we need in a useful format.”
INCREASED FUNDRAISING RESULTS
The results of Playworks’ year-end appeal have increased from $60,000 in 2006 to $100,000 in 2008 and $225,000 in 2011. “Our fundraising success is tied directly to the ease with which we can manipulate data, target donors, and manage relationships using Salesforce,” explained Kyle.
IMPROVED ABILITY TO USE OUTCOMES TO MAKE DECISIONS
“Being able to see program data in realtime enables us to understand how students are doing,” explains Jennette. “With student outcomes readily available, we can make decisions based on actual data by city, and compare it to benchmarks. We can also aggregate data across cities in 50 percent less time than it took before we had program tracking in Salesforce.”
REDUCED COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH HIRING NEW STAFF
“Instead of engaging a third-party firm to help us hire 100 people annually, we now have applicants come to us directly from the web,” said Kyle. “Our recruitment manager tracks all interviews and applicant information in Salesforce.” Playworks also uses Salesforce to track the cost of each job posting, effectiveness of hiring staff, and best practices of interviewers.