Welcome to part three of our four-part series with our fictitious nonprofit Coalition Against Homelessness (CAH). CAH is a combination of the issues we have seen in hundreds of organizations over the last 20 years, and helps us generalize and illustrate problems we have faced. In the previous post we saw how CAH implemented Email-to-Case to improve their support of external constituents. Now they are ready for the next phase: expanding their use of Salesforce Cases even further so that they can encourage and support increased growth of their constituent base.
Currently, CAH has two main programs support teams: a crisis center for individuals dealing with homelessness, and a community outreach team made up largely by volunteers who host awareness events. The volume for both program areas is difficult to manage because CAH relies solely on a toll-free phone line and a general email inbox to manage all of these requests. The crisis center staff is overwhelmed, and the case backlog is causing constituents to become frustrated and angry. Additionally, volunteer support has declined because the application process is poorly managed and it is difficult to keep track of volunteer preferences and availability.
In a detailed discovery and strategic planning process with leadership and department staff, CAH identified several areas that would help them better manage these areas and allow expansion of the programs:
To get started, CAH thoroughly examined their existing processes and planned a detailed strategy that would not only address the immediate issues, but would tie in with the overarching goals and needs of the organization. As in the previous posts, it’s important to note that the overall planning and strategic effort took place before any systems or tools were selected. They took the required time to consider the engagement experience from the perspective of participants, staff, volunteers, and the constituents they serve, and developed a clear flow of how requests and applications would progress through the system. It was essential that each step of these processes be clearly defined in order to identify the most effective solution to these intertwined problems.
After comparing the requirements of all stakeholders, and combining them within the scope of the larger effort, the most effective solution for CAH was implementing Salesforce’s Web-to-Case functionality. This native feature allows them to create custom intake forms that capture and route targeted requests based on definable criteria. CAH would be able to take control of both the crisis center and volunteer processes and streamline them for more efficient management and delivery of their services and mission.
Below is a detailed breakdown of what the Web-to-Case process at CAH looks like:
In this fictional solution, Web-to-Case allowed CAH to leverage the same technology to solve what may have been addressed in completely independent ways if not viewed in a holistic context. We’ve often seen solutions executed per issue, per department that would have been much more effectively addressed if considered concurrently. To achieve this solution for both the crisis center and volunteer program, the key functionality items required include:
By utilizing the same technology tools for both, CAH’s solutions are more supportable, efficient and effective for the organization. Remember, it’s essential to approach technology issues from a perspective that takes into account department and organization strategy and goals.
It’s important to note that all the discovery and strategic planning efforts did not happen independently, but at the same time so that the complete strategy was planned and evaluated as a whole. While individual fixes and adjustments can be effective and necessary in the short term, taking a holistic view of the strategy across teams and departments can reveal elegant solutions that improve the effectiveness of the entire organization.Read the next post
We hope that the story of our fictional organization CAH provides you with strategies to help you approach your organization’s challenges. In the final post in this series we’ll look at what CAH could do to expand their support services using Salesforce’s Service Cloud. If you have any questions on the information above, please contact us. We are happy to share case studies from existing client projects that outline specific solutions.