Focusing on the Issues that Matter | Traction on Demand | Salesforce Consulting and Implementation

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Focusing on the Issues that Matter

How the Forth Worth Drowning Coalition is saving time with Volunteers for Salesforce and the Non-Profit Success Pack

The Fort Worth Drowning Prevention Coalition (FWDPC) is a community nonprofit organization whose mission is to prevent fatal and non-fatal drownings in the Fort Worth area and beyond. (FWDPC Home Page)

FWDPC works tirelessly with limited resources to coordinate dozens of volunteers to teach children to be safe in the water. With just two very dedicated volunteers managing the organization, FWDPC doesn’t have the capacity for time consuming, yet essential, administrative tasks. Having already implemented a Salesforce instance, FWDPC turned to Traction to help them better manage their workload through the Volunteers for Salesforce (V4S) module.

Project Challenges

Inefficient and time consuming volunteer communications:
As FWDPC is managed by only two volunteers, the task of running the organization smoothly is a difficult one. A major aspect of their work is to coordinate with more than 100 volunteers by email or phone every three month season.

No centralized repository for volunteer communications:
With multiple instruction sessions held every season, FWDPC needs to fill three specific job types: water buddies, safety instructors and on-deck volunteers. Each session requires different numbers of each volunteer type and FWDPC kept track of this manually. Communication between FWDPC’s organizers and its volunteers previously took place by email or phone, resulting in long, bloated email threads and no centralized repository of communications.

Automating Volunteer Recruitment and Scheduling:
Scheduling and recruitment was recorded by hand, and even though FWDPC already had the Salesforce Non-Profit Success Pack (NPSP), they simply didn’t have the time or the support to dive deeper into its functionality. FWDPC had primarily been leveraging Salesforce to collect information for contacts, students and donors.

Project Solutions

Traction helped FWDPC set up and configure Volunteers for Salesforce, and ensure that administrative volunteers were trained appropriately to effectively leverage their Salesforce instance.

  • A volunteer signup form was built on FWDPC’s website, integrated with Salesforce so that volunteers could be subsequently screened, approved and informed of their approval with an automated email.
  • FWDPC’s scheduling capabilities received a significant boost: They can now indicate within Salesforce how many volunteers they need at a specific session, as well as what role those volunteers need to occupy (ie. 3 water buddies, 2 safety instructors, 4 on-deck volunteers).

Once the desired number of volunteers have been approved, the registration form will no longer process registrants into Salesforce, informing the end user that the required spots have been filled. Approved volunteers receive an automatic reminder from Salesforce two days before their shift. The email is customized to include FWDPC’s manual and a request to inform FWDPC as soon as possible if the volunteer is unable to attend the session.

Traction also built out reports for FWDPC’s homepage that visualize the number of unconfirmed (net new) volunteer signups as well as the number of hours completed by month for volunteers. This gives them visibility into the overall recruitment and scheduling processes as well as which volunteers have been the most dependable and prolific.

Traction provided training to FWDPC’s two organizers throughout the project, ensuring that they could leverage all of the functionality they needed. For example, the organizer who sent the majority of FWDPC’s emails was taught to leverage Salesforce’s mass email tool.

Project Results

The FWDPC administrative volunteers now have the ability to scale their Salesforce knowledge and operations in the future.

The Fort Worth Drowning Prevention Coalition’s Salesforce instance had previously held only limited value to them, mostly as a database for contact information. Engagement with Traction has given them a significant boost in value, reducing the workload of the two dedicated volunteers managing the organization and ultimately allowing them to focus on training and program growth.

FWDPC now knows more about the platform and can leverage it in new ways, sending mass emails and gaining new insights into their processes. With much better volunteer management, their overall administrative load has been significantly reduced. Fewer emails need to be sent, with many of them now automated. The increased visibility into volunteer scheduling means FWDPC can feel assured that scheduled sessions will have volunteers there to run them.

All of this serves FWDPC’s main goal of improving the water safety of more children in the Fort Worth area.

“First off, you need to know that FWDPC is 100% volunteer driven. As such, we have limited resources and time. We had spun our wheels for a couple of months during the implementation and data transfer phases of our CRM project. Time was getting away from us and frustration was building. Fortunately, we had a small amount of funds set aside in our budget for capacity building so we decided to engage the help of a consultant. I reached out to Traction on Demand specifically to help with the volunteer engagement piece of our project. Remember, I said we were 100% volunteer driven…so getting this piece right on the front end was critical to delivering our program this summer. That is what Sam and Michael brought to the table. Knowing that someone understood Salesforce, the volunteer app, nonprofits in general, and took the time to understand our unique needs and resource limitations was manna from heaven. Michael was a terrific resource who creatively sought solutions to meet our individual requirements in a timely and responsive manner. Never once did I have to break out into a cold sweat wondering if the ramifications of setting up a particular workflow incorrectly was going to wreak havoc down the line and cost our organization time and money. Now that we have completed our summer programming and have entered into the planning phase for next year, we can’t wait to re-engage with Traction. There is so much more to do and know!” – Pam Cannell, Executive Director at Forth Worth Drowning Prevention Coalition

Insights from Traction’s Michael Beaty on working with small organizations: “Never assume that because it’s something that seems basic to you it’s not a game-changer for them.”

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