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Salesforce for Nonprofits: Rebuilding Together Montgomery County

posted on January 25th, 2017by Andrew Lawlor

Aptaria tailored Salesforce’s Nonprofit Starter Pack to help a nonprofit organization manage home repair projects for vulnerable households.

Challenge: Difficulty tracking complex projects and running reports

Rebuilding Together Montgomery County (RTMC) repairs the homes of low-income people in Montgomery County, Maryland. Residents apply for assistance, then the organization evaluates the damage and allocates funds. Finally, RTMC sends contractors and/or volunteers to fix the problem—free of charge or at a reduced cost.

To accomplish its mission, RTMC coordinators must manage multiple relationships on every project. Initially, they used CiviCore to store information about repair projects. However, CiviCore made it difficult for staff to access important information.

Entering data into CiviCore was much easier than getting it out. RTMC workers could not set up reports on their own. They had to depend on CiviCore representatives to program custom features.

RTMC’s team decided they needed a better system. They chose Salesforce because of its flexible, user-friendly reporting. Salesforce.org also offers a generous discount for nonprofits.

After searching for a Salesforce nonprofit developer in their area, RTMC contacted Aptaria, since we have experience working with a variety of nonprofits to advance their missions.

Solution: Custom Salesforce system simplifies project tracking and reporting

First, our team at Aptaria did a full process review. We learned exactly what RTMC staff do and how they do it, so that we could create a system to support their projects. The organization manages individuals, households, relationships, and demographics—all forms of data that Salesforce is designed to handle well.

We decided that the Salesforce Nonprofit Starter Pack, with our modifications, could meet RTMC’s needs. This “starter pack” (recently relaunched as the Nonprofit Success Pack) is a combination of apps that RTMC downloaded from the AppExchange.

The power of the Salesforce Nonprofit Starter Pack lies in its options for customization. We altered the standard features of the starter pack to accomplish all of the following:

  • Smoothly oversee the entire project cycle, from application to approval to repairs. Staff can update a project’s status without re-entering basic information over and over.
  • Track a project in relation to the many people involved, such as homeowners (or renters), contractors, skilled and unskilled volunteers, and sponsors.
  • Accept grants and donations, including materials and skilled labor.
  • Coordinate events and national building days.

We migrated all of RTMC’s data from CiviCore into Salesforce. The organization’s managers can now analyze clean and converted information from past projects.

In addition to putting a cohesive system in place, we taught RTMC staff how to use all the functionality. Employees can get the most out of Salesforce, including features that might be difficult to navigate without training from experts.

As a result of the Salesforce system we set up, Rebuilding Together Montgomery County can rely on richer, better-labeled data—and accomplish more with that data. Whereas CiviCore made annual reporting labor-intensive and frustrating, Salesforce enables RTMC staff to run a year-end report with just a few clicks.

Today, Rebuilding Together Montgomery County can spend less time wrestling with a clunky database and more time directly assisting those in need. Their staff is currently using its new system to recruit volunteers to build homes for the homeless. With Aptaria’s Salesforce nonprofit customization, RTMC can efficiently serve its community by improving the safety of homes and the quality of life in low-income households.

How can we integrate Salesforce for your nonprofit organization? Contact us today.

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Andrew Lawlor is a leading authority and published author on cloud computing and CRM technology. He specializes in helping companies and government agencies fully integrate Salesforce and other cloud-based applications with enterprise software. Since founding Aptaria in 2002, Andrew has led integration and implementation projects for major clients including Citibank, Danone, Colliers International, American Red Cross, and ExxonMobil. Prior to Aptaria, he held IT management positions at Verizon and webMethods. Andrew holds an Electrical Engineering degree with honors from the University of Maryland at College Park and he studied computer science and electrical engineering at Columbia University's Graduate School. He is a Salesforce.com Certified Developer. Andrew lives in McLean, Virginia with his wife, daughter, and son. When not working he enjoys playing and watching basketball and playing poker.