Non-profits are quickly realising they need to get savvier with data if they are going to reduce administration and overheads associated with monitoring and reporting their impact management.

Automating data collection, centralising data management and analysing data real-time are just some of the quick wins that clients have found when using Salesforce for impact management.

Heather Black, MD of Economic Change CIC, a Salesforce consultancy partner, recently interviewed their client Ashley Community Housing (ACH) to find out how Salesforce has helped them to improve their approach to impact management. ACH is a leading provider of resettlement services for refugee and newly arrived communities in the UK.



How Has Salesforce Improved Your Approach To Impact Management?


Before we moved over to Salesforce we used to use a combination of paper files and individual spreadsheets to store information about our service users. One of the biggest challenges we face then was trying to make an evaluation of our services. In summer 2015, for example, it took us over 3 months to consolidate data to be able to ascertain how many people we had worked with since we began in 2008. Prior to Salesforce we were also unable to show our staff their collective impact and data in real time.

Now that we have rolled out Salesforce, we now have instant access to data about our services and can draw conclusions quicker about our day-to-day performance. We have also gained the ability to perform different types of analysis, allowing us to pick out new trends and opportunities. An example of that is the data that we have now available about the training needs of our service users. Our training and support teams work closely with our service users on a day-to-day basis in order to assist them to achieve them greater independence. Before we used Salesforce these teams were unable to share information, due to the barriers in the process. Now that both are using Salesforce to record their work with our clients, they can tailor courses to our client needs better and work more holistically with them.


Why Did You Choose Salesforce?


Prior to procuring Salesforce, we were exploring a number of different systems to overcome the challenges we were facing. We discovered that there were a number of Customer Relationship Management applications available on the market which could be bought straight off the shelf. Many of them were targeting business like ours who were doing client-facing support and training intervention. The problems that we found with some of the applications we evaluated were that they were expensive and sometimes too specialised. Salesforce offered us a reasonably-priced service that allows us to continue to expand and offers us the flexibility to modify our system as we grow.


What Help Did You Get On Board?


Economic Change CIC helped build us a Salesforce Instance for our organization. We were assigned a highly-qualified Project Manager who had experience working on similar projects, who carried out a thorough analysis of our working processes and our client journeys. The result of that has been the creation of a number of dedicated applications in our Salesforce Instance that has increased our efficiency, particularly in client and housing management services. It was very reassuring to work with Economic Change on this project, it allowed us to create tangible outputs within the scope of the grant we received to carry out this work.


What Have Been The Organisational Benefits To ACH?

Salesforce is now used widely across the business, creating a rigorous management system that allows us to track our key performance indicators and monitor the progression of our tenants and learners through our courses and programme of support.

Support – From the very first contact, tenant journeys are tracked and stored, from their initial expression of interest to the support they receive.

Training – From the very first contact, learner journeys are tracked and stored, from their initial expression of interest to the training courses they take and their success rate.

This allows us to report accurate data on key outputs and outcomes, such as the number of tenants currently in housing, number of learners on courses, number of people on waiting lists, number of hours of 1:1 support worker appointments, number of successful move-ons, number of family reunions and number of tenants entering full-time work.

Tenancy Management (Housing Management) – We have a complete centralised record of all our tenants across the three regions. This has allowed us to manage their tenancies much better and improve our rent income management.

Property Management – The ability to store information that allows us to manage our properties better, particularly maintenance needs.


What Is Your Top Tip For Other Charities Implementing Salesforce? 


Identify the right people to support the implementation of Salesforce within your organisation.

Ideally you want to identify people who are passionate about new technology and have had some exposure to possibly CRM systems like Salesforce. They should also show interest in supporting change within the business.

It is a substantial change which will take place once it is rolled out, so you need to have champions who will advocate and rally their colleagues to engage and adopt this change. It’s also important to invest in training staff to use Salesforce.



Economic Change and ACH will be speaking at Salesforce World Tour – London on the 17th May, come and join us or listen via the live stream!


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