An 80-Year-Old Organization Transforms Digitally with NPSP
Founded during the Great Depression, Atlanta Mission has worked to end homelessness in the Atlanta metropolitan area for over 80 years. Every day Atlanta Mission serves up to 1,000 men, women, and children, by providing multiple programs across four sites in the metropolitan area, each serving different segments of the homeless population. Atlanta Mission employs a holistic, customized, approach to address each individual’s physical, emotional, spiritual, social and vocational needs.
Managing A Program Supporting Atlanta’s Homeless Population
Comprised of over 65 counselors, social workers, program directors, administrators, and community living assistants across four different facilities, the organization faced significant challenges in aligning their current case management system. With four different tracking methods and a variety of spreadsheets, municipal databases, files, and handwritten notes, data was frequently out-of-date or missing. This contributed to ineffective team coordination and communication, and a diminished client experience. Says Heather Webster, CRM Specialist: “There was no central repository, varying data and results, a lot of human error, ineffective communications between staff, but ultimately, we were challenged to serve our clients the way we wanted.”
Transformed to Serve
Selecting the Salesforce Nonprofit Success Pack or NPSP as the foundation for its programs, Atlanta Mission was able to bring its transformational client care model to life and create a central repository for clients and programs. Webster customized the Nonprofit Success Pack easily to meet their unique programmatic needs. Webster created several custom objects to capture, track, and coordinate information around clients that can be shared and collaborated on across teams in different facilities. Customizations on the contact record as well as custom objects to manage intake and bed assignments across their different facilities provide up-to-the-moment information on clients and shelter capacity. An additional custom object allows the specialists at Atlanta Mission to create personalized service plans centered around individual client goals. “Data is so powerful, and—for our program—that has been really helpful,” says Webster.
Measured Impact. Amplified Effect.
After implementation, Atlanta Mission began realizing improvements in programs across the organization.
After implementation, Atlanta Mission began realizing improvements in programs across the organization. The time it took for client intake was cut by 62% at one facility and an entire day of data entry has been eliminated. “Implementing Salesforce has helped bring issues to light quicker, and has been really helpful operationally. We’re able to serve more clients because of improved efficiencies,” says Webster.
At another facility, having a central repository of client and program data in Salesforce helped staff demonstrate and track the number of clients that were being served in a given day, showing more than three times the expected number of clients were being served at the women’s facility. This helps staff plan for the day and create a strategy for the year on how many clients they can expect at any given location where they’re providing shelter and holistic services. According to Webster, “We know, as a nonprofit, that our staff works really hard. When it comes to making decisions about when to hire staff, we now have the numbers to put in front of management and back it up.”
Revitalizing the Donor Experience
Prior to adopting a digital fundraising strategy, Atlanta Mission heavily prioritized direct mail, which was expensive and not yielding the results they hoped for. Some donors were receiving up to 26 pieces of mail annually and only responding once or twice. The campaigns were focused on transactional messaging and did not fully tell the story of their services and successes, which resulted in high donor turnover, with many one-time gifts followed by a lapse in giving.
Donors expect a unique and seamless experience every time they engage with an organization, which was a challenge for Atlanta Mission’s small marketing team who was serving a donor list of over 350,000 people. When it comes to accomplishing their mission, Atlanta Mission has seen success by approaching each of its clients as individuals and they realized that a personalized approach would be key to their fundraising efforts as well. In order to individualize the donor experience and advance their direct mail, they needed to include a digital strategy.
Atlanta Mission began their fundraising transformation by segmenting their major donors and assigning individual gift officers to cultivate relationships with each of the segments. As a result, they have seen double digit growth in their major donor fundraising year after year. Once Atlanta Mission saw the success of donor outreach segmentation and customization, they expanded the strategy to their entire fundraising structure. They conducted surveys with all of their donors, polled the broader community, and held focus groups- to not only understand interests, but communication preferences as well. The result: 6 unique personas for direct and digital mailing list segmentation, with tailored communications for each.
Using Pardot, a marketing automation tool, Atlanta Mission has built out a variety of engagement studio campaigns based on individual’s interests and actions. Drip campaigns are customized to include transformational stories, first hand needs, events, and more. One such campaign is a ‘welcome series’ for people who are newly engaged with the organization. The emails introduce the new donor to Atlanta Mission holistically while also sharing stories and services related to that particular donor’s interests and activities.
Another journey is the “Champion Series”. Atlanta Mission sends out satisfaction polls to supporters, anyone who selects a 9 or above is considered a “Champion”. Champions are the strongest supporters of the organization, and are provided an opportunity to share their support on social media with pre-populated content. They are then taken to a landing page, where Atlanta Mission shows their appreciation by giving them a variety of branded swag to choose from as a ‘thank-you’.
When providing fundraising opportunities to their donors, Atlanta Mission utilizes Classy on the Salesforce AppExchange, an online fundraising and donor engagement platform. Classy integrates with Pardot and sends automated emails including peer-to-peer fundraising tips and tricks and updates on goal completion. Utilizing charts and dashboard on Salesforce helps their development team visualize donation data and easily see trends in giving and engagement. The development team also receives automatic notifications of new monthly donors, which they can further engage with.
Prior to using Pardot and Classy, building the donation page and emails for a single campaign could take 4 to 12 hours and staff needed to block off an entire day to launch a single email. This process now takes minutes, saving precious staff time and allowing them to accomplish big goals with a small team.
Donor and volunteer data hygiene was also a major issue for Atlanta Mission before the shift to Salesforce NPSP. Thousands of duplicates plagued their previous system along with thousands of inaccurate mailing addresses. With new automations in place, they’ve been able to easily clean up their data through duplicate management tools and demand tools focusing on accurate data. The result has been savings of nearly $10,000 annually. James Barrell and Bonnie Beauchamp, Atlanta Mission team members tasked with the shift to the new CRM platform and fundraising integrations shared, “The tech stack that we’ve implemented through Salesforce has enabled us to know our donors better and to respond relationally to their concerns, needs, and interests. As a result, since the implementation of our new systems, we’ve seen revenue growth in our digital channels of 26% year over year.”
The Value of a Single Platform
With their programs and fundraising on a single platform, Atlanta Mission has access to a 360-degree view of their constituents and how they are interacting with their mission. The change in the organization has been significant, from customizing their program management platform, to crafting customer journeys through segmentation, and automation- the results are improved experiences for their donors and ultimately better outcomes for clients.
“Before implementing Salesforce, we did not have sufficient information to understand the needs of the men, women, and children coming to our facilities.
Now we are able to use data to manage our operation and provide better services to meet the needs of those experiencing homelessness in Atlanta.”