Salesforce.org’s Unite Partner Summit is now over, and in the settling dust we have the opportunity to reflect on the tremendous wealth of information shared there—and how our new knowledge can be merged into the work we do day-to-day.
At the summit we heard from industry leaders, like Salesforce.org’s own David Yip, who spoke on the little-explored potential for digital transformation in education (following the recent, pandemic-driven rise of hybrid learning formats), and Salesfix’s Jaqui Edwards, who discusses the universality of certain data sets and reporting needs in charity and advocacy organisations.
We were also privileged to share our own knowledge, gleaned from over a decade of our work with non-profits, on the centrality of data to success.
Hanzel Nillo, Head of Customer Engagement & Partnerships, also heads up the Salesforce practice here. One of the key points he wanted to discuss while speaking at the summit is how often the challenges that organisations may think are related to their CRM itself, or caused during the implementation process, are actually a case of bad data having a flow on effect. Data challenges are extraordinarily difficult to resolve without the correct expertise, and slapdash solutions can result in chaos, confusion or significant technical debt.
Yet organisations that do achieve good data quality in a good CRM system can increase process efficiency and funnel more of their resources into supporting their core functions, which is what every organisation ultimately wants. This is certainly true for many of our own clients. In once particular case, we achieved an 87% increase in team allocation to core needs and a 95% increase in process efficiency for an NGO who had been having significant difficulty with their data migration before reaching out to us.
Difficulties in migrating data often come about when there’s a failure to understand the data requirements and scope out the project comprehensively before beginning. The data should be fully explored and the project should be meticulously scoped so likely timelines and requisite resources are understood by all stakeholders. Having this information early in engagement provides a good starting point too, where otherwise we might feel overwhelmed by the amount of work ahead. In the case of the Australian Cancer Research Foundation, DCA Data Services successfully migrated approximately 4.8 million relational records into their new Salesforce NPSP environment, on time and in budget.
Of course, how a project is defined, scoped and planned out depends on the unique needs of the client. And they are unique, because every non-profit is a distinct, individual organisation. No two are identical, and that means their needs need to be understood and supported. In our lengthy experience, one size almost never fits all.
For example, in our work with the Children’s Cancer Institute Australia (CCIA) we profiled and significantly enriched their data in Salesforce so they could pivot their annual fundraiser to an online-only delivery during 2020’s strict lockdowns. With our help, CCIA broke the $1 million threshold for the first time!
Quite conversely, Scripture Union Australia identified direct mail as their primary successful channel, so it was our role to help them enhance their operational efficiencies for direct mail delivery. Using the National Change of Address data from Australia Post, DCA Data Services helped Scripture Union achieve a 5% uplift in data accuracy across their direct mail campaign.
The aim for the Austin Health Foundation was different again to both of the above—they wanted to use the robust capacity for automation that Salesforce provides to reduce manual overheads. We automated their data cleansing, validation and deduplication, giving them back hours every week to use for tasks that really do benefit from human oversight.
Regardless of what outcome an organisation is trying to achieve with their CRM, data-driven projects require good quality data for success—this is what gives rise to that old aphorism: “garbage in, garbage out.” If the data is bad, the results of using that data will also be bad.
If you’re a non-profit, philanthropy organisation or educational institution considering taking the plunge on a Salesforce.org project now or in the future, or a partner who works with such organisations, you can contact us here for a free and no-obligation chat about your options.