Tractionites can be forgiven for doing a double take when they see Stephen Rathjen around the office. Although he’s a cloud technologist at Traction on Demand, he was once our client as the program director (and conductor, see above) at the Saint James Music Academy (SJMA), a nonprofit that provides classical music education to at-risk children and youth. But after seven years running the SJMA it was time for a change.
“For the size of the school, I felt I had done as much as I could. I wanted a new challenge, and I had developed Salesforce skills,” says Stephen about making the move to Traction. “But my only requirement in coming to work here was that I get to work on the nonprofit team. It’s great to be in a position now to help other nonprofits.”
It’s Salesforce Pro Bono Week
As Saleforce celebrates Pro Bono Week, we’re reflecting on our own community-building initiatives. This year, Traction for Good (T4G) passed the $1 million mark in service grants donated to nonprofits. “The greatest value T4G can provide to our community is to give what we’re good at, and that’s Salesforce expertise,” says Michelle Malpass, Director of Community Engagement. “We believe building capacity in the nonprofit sector through the use of technology will allow nonprofits to scale, be more efficient, raise more funds and, ultimately, impact more people in a positive way.”
Now being on the other side of the project, Stephen recently met with the current SJMA team to walk through the basics of Salesforce so they can better leverage their existing data. They also worked on integrating MailChimp into Salesforce in order to streamline their donation campaigns. Stephen says it’s exciting to see they’re still using the systems he and Traction on Demand built together. “Before that we were using Excel spreadsheets. I had to input data four times before I was finished with it!”
Giving What We’re Good At
While Traction for Good offers Salesforce service grants throughout the year, most of its pro bono work takes place during the annual Bandit Tour for Good. This year, the Traction Bandits provided 100 hours of free support over 13 projects in the span of a week. “Our pro bono engagement is for existing Salesforce customers who have identified a clear way we can support them. Whether its building reports, overcoming a road block they’re facing or conducting an audit, we look for teams eager to take on the challenges themselves with us providing support. We want to empower and enable them to take ownership of their org,” says Michelle.
Another group that Traction supported this week was Living Systems Counselling, a nonprofit that focuses on family relationships. Dave Galloway, EVP of Service Cloud Adoption, explains how their solution will help the nonprofit focus on fulfilling their mission instead of trying to make the technology work. “We were able to configure the org so they could reliably enter data, which will be used for reports to support grant applications. This is important since Living Systems does low fee services for low income families and they need funding to support this. With better data, granting agencies are more likely to provide funding. Improve their systems so they can run more effectively,” he says.
Everyone Has a Role
As companies continue to move towards community, Stephen wants every working individual to think about how they can help. “Let the businesses already engaging in this inspire you. You don’t have to assume that just because your company doesn’t do these things they can’t ever. Wherever you are in the organization, you can make a difference. Think creatively. How can you use the skills you already have to make a difference? Somewhere out there, there are nonprofits that could use those skills, it’s just about connecting the dots.”
Are you with a nonprofit that could use some support? Apply for a service grant and let us know how we can help.