Doing Good with Good Data: Transforming Human Services
By: Susan Tobes, Vice President, Business Development, Exponent Partners
Good data can make a big difference and a big difference can be made with good data.
This statement is especially true for human services agencies, where data is the lifeblood of the nonprofit. Data on clients. Data on programs. Data on productivity. Data on outcomes. Data to secure funding. Without the right technology in place, data can be a challenge. Just ask California Human Development.
California Human Development (CHD) is a nonprofit that serves people of low income in 31 Northern California counties. With approximately 160 employees in twenty offices, CHD helps 25,000 people each year through the organization’s five long-term programs, and its recently established One Stop Wildfire Relief and Resources program responding to the devastating North Bay Fires.
For many years, CHD relied on Excel spreadsheets and paper case files to manage their work with clients. Not surprisingly, staff couldn’t easily aggregate data and create reports. Too much time was spent pulling together data from multiple sources and preparing reports. This challenge was compounded by data silos across multiple locations, which also led to a lack of visibility into performance.
Fast-forward to 2017, when CHD implemented Exponent Case Management (ECM). Built on the Salesforce platform, ECM supports several of CHD’s core programs, capturing the organization’s unique data and results across all aspects of case management.
According to Anita Maldonado PhD, Chief Executive Officer at CHD, “ECM helps us capture, analyze, and act on empirical data. The data informs the way that we provide excellent services and helps to secure resources to further our mission.”
So, what is CHD doing with all this data? Well, they’re using it to make even more of a difference in the lives of those who need it most.
Data to Manage Programs
ECM enables CHD’s staff to spend more time focusing on clients, since less time is required to complete certain tasks or prepare reports. The automation of specific tasks has given CHD’s Immigration program staff the ability to communicate proactively with DACA clients who need reminders of their anniversary to renew. No longer required to assemble reports or travel as frequently between offices to share information, staff can concentrate on delivering direct services, meeting more clients, doing more outreach, and increasing the number of cases they handle. Access to data has empowered staff and boosted productivity.
Data to Earn Funding
CHD used ECM to launch CHD’s “One Stop Wildfire Relief and Resources” program, which was went live following the Northern California Fires in 2017. Data around needs assessments, volume of clients, and projected needs over time related to assisting immigrants affected by the fires led CHD to secure a $5 million grant from the state.
“ECM enabled us to start tracking our clients, build our numbers, and tell our story in a way that resulted in significant funding that has allowed the program to grow to what it is now,” according to Kai Harris, Director of Programs at CHD.
Data to Increase Impact
The impact of Salesforce and ECM on CHD has been significant. The data collected helps the organization to identify trends and then shift resources, and refine or develop new strategies accordingly. Management can now use the valuable data to direct where the organization goes programmatically with a view towards maximizing impact.
Transforming Human Services
One of the most effective ways to truly transform a human services agency is to implement the right technology—ECM in CHD’s case.
ECM helps case workers collect data naturally while they work and makes it possible for human services organizations to connect their day-to-day activities to their outcomes. Built on Salesforce, ECM provides all the core aspects of case management—including intake, assessment, referral, service tracking, service planning, reporting and more.
ECM on Salesforce is expandable to a full organization solution to give staff the ability to manage fundraising, volunteers, general contact information, and more—all in one system.
Learn more about CHD by reading the full case study.
About the Author
Susan Tobes leads revenue growth for Exponent Partners. She is responsible for all sales, marketing and partner relationships. She has been working in the Salesforce.org ecosystem for over 10 years. Susan considers herself a change agent and passionate customer advocate. She has a professional interest in the changing landscape of technology for nonprofits and making a social impact. A 2nd generation native of California, she currently lives in the San Francisco East Bay with her husband. In her spare time she enjoys a never-ending list of home improvement projects and is a frequent host to her friends and family. She enjoys cooking, gardening, camping, entertaining and traveling.
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