Jeff Skoll established the Skoll Foundation in 1999 to drive large-scale change by investing in, connecting, and celebrating social entrepreneurs and the innovators who help them solve the world’s most pressing problems. Social entrepreneurs are society’s change agents—creators of innovations that disrupt the status quo and transform our world for the better. By identifying the people and programs already bringing positive change around the world, the Foundation empowers them to extend their reach, deepen their impact, and fundamentally improve society.
Beyond investments and partnerships, it also operates programs that foster strategic partnerships and networks such as the Skoll World Forum, the premier international platform on social entrepreneurship. To build public awareness of social entrepreneurship and innovative solutions, the Skoll Foundation partners with leading film and broadcast organizations such as PBS and the Sundance Institute, as well as with publishers like HarperOne, to tell compelling stories of impact.
INADEQUATE AND DECENTRALIZED SYSTEMS
Given the mission of the Foundation, capturing information about its grantees, partners, and Skoll World Forum delegates has always been a priority. For several years this information was stored in multiple locations and across various systems, including a disparate grants management system, emails, and network drives. Often information would not be available anywhere other than in a staff member’s memory. As a result, staff couldn’t easily access information on grants or quickly observe the various means of engagement with members of the Skoll network. Reporting on the overall level of engagement with a grantee was cumbersome.
Exponent Partners built the Skoll Foundation’s Salesforce® solution in phases, starting with customizing the fundamental CRM system in order to manage comprehensive information about the Foundation’s grantees, conversations with its network, and delegate curation for the Skoll World Forum. As the Foundation’s needs evolved, Exponent Partners built additional Skoll Award referral and nomination functionality and implemented foundationConnect for grants management. Other key additions were FormAssembly for event applications and RSVPs, SpringCM integration for document management, FinancialForce, Single Sign-On, and Chatter Desktop.
WORKFLOW EFFICIENCY AND INCREASED CAPACITY
With the help of these solutions, Skoll has been able to adopt Salesforce as its primary database for managing relationships with its network. The efficiency gain of having a centralized database where everyone has access to the same information has been notable. Staff members are able to more effectively utilize their resources and repurpose data for multiple uses across the Foundation. Additionally, Skoll’s customized instance of foundationConnect has streamlined its grants management process and made it possible to go completely “paperless.”
TRANSPARENCY OF ORGANIZATIONAL INFORMATION
With the implementation of Salesforce and Salesforce-based foundationConnect, Skoll staff members now have a comprehensive view of their network, including Skoll-sponsored event attendance, referral history, grant history, and meeting notes. The customized solution for capturing conversations and meetings enables staff members to be aware—in real time—of progress, challenges, and opportunities presented by its network. This transparency facilitates a collaborative and integrated environment where staff members can leverage resources to drive the mission of the Foundation.
PLATFORM FOR GROWTH
Exponent Partners’ Salesforce solution has allowed the Skoll Foundation to build iteratively and address needs as they arise. Over the last five years, Exponent Partners has partnered with the Foundation to adapt and scale its solution to support evolving requirements. They have also taken the time to train the Foundation administrators, empowering them with the skills to be more self-reliant.