Driving Technological Innovation and Student Growth with Salesforce
Westmont College began looking for a new advancement platform in 2009. The college turned to Salesforce with the primary goal of driving technological innovation and building a responsive data platform to help service donors and alumni.
Since starting with advancement over a decade ago, Westmont has expanded their Salesforce footprint across the entire student lifecycle with Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Experience Cloud, and Tableau.
In addition to the college using Salesforce for their daily operational activities, the school created the CATLab (Center for Applied Technology), a state-of-the-art student program where they help build software solutions using Salesforce. Students gain real-world experiences while driving impact back to Westmont and earning valuable job training.
28%increase in fundraising from FY21-FY22
100+consolidated app engagement points with myWestmont
$200Mreceived by gift operations in the last 7 years
Legacy Systems Bring Frustration and Challenges
Pre-Salesforce, Westmont College struggled to keep data both relevant and timely. When it came to donor meetings or advancement trips, they couldn’t provide the data fast enough to posit meaningful interactions.
They had IT working on keeping legacy systems afloat, and that had become a full-time occupation in itself. With most of the effort spent on maintenance and troubleshooting, this left no room for growth or innovation. Entire jobs revolved around making sure data requests were accurately delivered and entered, making it difficult for Westmont to evolve.
That’s when they decided to try Salesforce advancement integration. As more people saw how much easier it was to access relevant data, Salesforce usage grew at Westmont.
End-to-End Salesforce Implementation
Westmont College began exploring what else would help them achieve their goals around enrollment, fundraising, and alumni relationships.
This meant exploring an end-to-end solution completely within the Salesforce ecosystem. Starting with Marketing Cloud and connecting with students using third party applications like SMS Magic, RingCentral, and Form Assembly. Westmont creates a seamless journey from prospective student to finalized application.
Once a student enrolls, they are given access to myWestmont portal, built with custom components on Experience Cloud. Through this hub, students are able to access a host of resources and services offered by Westmont such as school policies, staff and student directories, upcoming events, applications for off-campus programs, parking permit requests, internship participation, etc. – all pulled directly from Salesforce.
“Using this Salesforce experience has been deeply woven into the running of the school,” Landrum said. “It’s not optional or convenient, but essential, for every Westmont student.”
Later this year, Westmont will go live with academic records, class registration, faculty advising and student accounts. With the help of several partners and Education Trailblazers, Salesforce will be the system of engagement and record for the entirety of Westmont campus.
Additionally, Salesforce CRM Analytics serves many purposes at Westmont. While used primarily for executive reporting, CRM Analytics is also used to track engagement and enrollment statistics after constituent outreach.
Allowing Westmont Students To Shape Westmont
Westmont has invested not only in its Salesforce applications but in giving its students hands-on learning experience with their paid student program, CATLab.
CATLab connects students with companies in Santa Barbara, allowing them to work in-town 2 days out of the week and with CATLab the remaining 3. This has afforded students the means to live comfortably while prioritizing their professional development and network.
During the summer between their sophomore and junior year, CATLab students are able to learn directly from Salesforce experts through the Trailhead Virtual Bootcamp, equipping them with fundamental Salesforce knowledge and skills. In the following summer, students then take on leadership roles, training new students in both the Salesforce platform and the CATLab culture.
The school uses myTrailhead to get students caught up on the intricacies of Salesforce, and then sets out to tackle real-application problems that the school has been facing. This last summer (2022), they hired 27 students across four different teams.
“Each of these groups are helping Westmont to innovate and drive business forward while giving students great real-life work experience,” said Landrum.
Students spent the summer of 2022 working on updating the school’s nursing program application and certification. Other projects that have been developed by the students in the summer bootcamp include creating the school’s online calendar and the application portal.
“Every student that applies through myWestmont portal is using something that a Westmont student has made,” Landrum said.
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Allowing Innovation to Flourish
With the help of Salesforce, Westmont staff were able to quickly solve issues across various departments, moving from one project to another with ease.
Westmont’s first Salesforce initiative, advancement, has continued to be a success. In the last 7 years, gift operations have brought in over $200 million.
“Salesforce is just an essential partner in what we’re trying to get done,” said Reed Sheard, CIO of Westmont. “It has absolutely been transformative.”
Upon expanding their Salesforce footprint, the Westmont staff members were given more time to innovate and improve current processes. With more time-intensive tasks offloaded toward automation, members from different teams – admissions, advancement, and IT – have formed one unit that operates as a business transformation hub.
“You go with the winner,” Landrum said. “Try to be strategic. Salesforce is committed to higher education and making its customers successful on the platform. That makes it a major win.”
About Westmont College
Westmont College is a Christian liberal arts college offering 26 bachelor of science degrees, 12 pre-professional programs, and an elementary and secondary credential program.
The college co-hosts IMPACT with Salesforce, an annual in-person conference that allows educators to get hands-on experience with CATLab and other Salesforce initiatives throughout the college.