Client Story


Solutioning Outside the Box

How Captain Planet is finding creative ways to store their data with Sales Cloud and NPSP

The mission of the Captain Planet Foundation (Captain Planet) is to give the next generation of environmental stewards an active understanding and love for the natural world in which they live. [Their] unique program of funding and supporting hands-on environmental projects is designed to encourage innovative initiatives that inspire and empower children and youth around the world as they work individually and collectively creating environmental solutions in their homes, schools and communities. (LinkedIn)

As a non-profit, grants and grant-writing are integral to Captain Planet’s operations. They were collecting a lot of data but were finding that they lacked the ability to pull that data from their database in any usable form, making the task of reporting on grants tedious and time consuming. With a great attitude and a limited budget, Captain Planet turned to Traction on Demand to help them find a creative solution using Salesforce.

Project Challenges

Captain Planet had large amounts of atypical data types that wouldn’t be found in the database of an average business (data such as “number of planted vegetables”). This made it difficult to organize and fit within the structure out-of-the-box business software. Captain Planet had been leveraging Raiser’s Edge as a data repository for its customizable structure. While the customization options enabled Captain Planet to successfully enter their data, they were bending the platform beyond the point of usefulness. The database had become bloated with data that was unstructured and ultimately unusable. Captain Planet couldn’t report on this data, meaning that it was essentially stranded within Raiser’s Edge. The data was not stored in a structure that would allow for easy access or discovery. Captain Planet couldn’t use their data for grant-writing either. As grants and grant-writing comprise an important part of Captain Planet’s business-model, these grant applications needed to very clearly outline Captain Planet’s outcomes and deliverables, and their platform wasn’t giving them that data.

Project Solutions

To give Captain Planet the functionality of constituent and donor management, Traction implemented the Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP). With the inherent scalability of NPSP, Captain Planet gained boosted tools in the present as well as a framework for future expansion with their Salesforce instance.

The project team needed to find a way to migrate all of Captain Planet’s data from Raiser’s Edge into the structure of “out-of-the-box” Salesforce. To keep the project within budget, Traction avoided the manipulation of Captain Planet’s data and data types, instead looking creatively to find pathways into Salesforce for their non-traditional data. As they were migrating the multi-layered data from Raiser’s Edge into Salesforce’s more structured relationships, Traction was looking at which “out-of-the-box” objects would be most similar in process in order to map Captain Planet’s data in a way that was structured intuitively.

Traction leveraged custom declarative work when appropriate. Custom objects were created where appropriate pathways did not exist in Salesforce. Most importantly for Captain Planet, Traction built out reports and dashboards, leveraging some creativity to ensure that the visualized data was usable for Captain Planet.

Project Results

The project provided Captain Planet with the tools they needed to use their data. Previously, it had held little purpose, confined as it was within Raiser’s Edge. Now, Captain Planet has access to the simply structured database within Salesforce, enabling them to enter and store data more easily, as well as to access it. Grant writing is easier and Captain Planet understands their organization better. Captain Planet’s data is now usable, particularly in the context of grant applications. Generated reports and dashboards offer insights into their organization that Captain Planet had been unable to leverage in the past. Captain Planet has a platform that will support growth and is better suited to their industry. NPSP gives Captain Planet better visibility and management of their donors and volunteers. User adoption improved from 15% with Raiser’s Edge to 90% with Salesforce. Because Salesforce is so much easier to use, users feel confident creating and run reports themselves, as well as entering data and tracking and managing grants and campaigns.

“As the database manager for Raisers Edge, I alone imported and extracted everything. I sorted through all the duplication created in queries, cleaned it up so users could understand it and shared the final results with our Board members, funders and staff. Now, all by themselves, users can create and run reports, update supporter and donor information, track grant opportunities in the pipeline, manage large campaigns and follow grantees as they progress through our programs. In fact, user adoption has grown from 15% in Raisers Edge to over 90% in Salesforce.

“Can you imagine the time that has freed up for me? Time that I can now spend supporting our mission – to give the next generation of environmental stewards an active understanding and love for the natural world in which they live.” – Kathy Lively, Grants Manager at Captain Planet Foundation

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