Case Study: Obstacles to Outcomes – How Nonprofit Foster Success Used Salesforce to Meet Its Mission

Salesforce implementation helps nonprofit organization Foster Success meet its mission.

About the Author: Jennifer Stefero

May 29, 2024

Overview

Like many nonprofits, Foster Success had big goals and few resources to accomplish them. The Indiana-based organization ensures teens and young adults transitioning out of foster care are educated, housed, financially stable, employed, and connected to a reliable support system by their 26th birthday. The mission was too important to bog down with manual processes and bad data. Foster Success’s leadership determined that living up to the organization’s name required an internal investment first: Salesforce.

The Challenge

Inefficient, disconnected processes overwhelmed the organization—donor information in spreadsheets, multiple applications asking the same questions, manually emailing participants. There was no easy way of assessing outcomes and the Foster Success team struggled reporting the current number of clients and donors.

In fact, a lack of data transparency led the organization to underestimate its impact with communities of color and stakeholders beyond the borders of Central Indiana. These false assumptions informed Foster Success’s strategic plan.

The organization knew it needed to operate better to truly meet the needs of Indiana’s young people exiting the foster care system. With the initial goal of getting control of its data, Foster Success turned to Galvin Technologies for assistance with their Salesforce instance.

The Solution

Form Simplification

Galvin worked with Foster Success to optimize participant applications by eliminating redundant data points across various forms. The team added schedule-triggered flows to prompt regular application updates from users. The triggers happened at initial login and every six months with automatic form fills providing existing data to make the update process easy. The form improvements simplified completing applications for users, streamlined data collection, and ensured Foster Success had current participant data for reporting.

Automated Task Management

Foster Success added Salesforce’s Marketing Cloud Account Engagement (formerly Pardot) to send automated email reminders regarding missing documents needed to complete an education voucher application. Dynamic lists pulled the exact documents missing for each participant. A link to a newly created non-login site allowed participants to upload documents directly to Salesforce.

Expanded Access

The organization’s success attracted nationwide attention. Foster Success leveraged Salesforce Experience Cloud to expand to additional states. Galvin helped create branded experience sites for each new state, which supported the variations between state applications and offerings. Special portals gave database access to external partners to streamline eligibility determinations. Salesforce’s digital information sharing and collaboration capabilities eliminated the need for shared spreadsheets and back-and-forth emails to expedite application processing.

We started with what I would say is a modest investment. Then we saw how much we were getting back in return. We started building Galvin Technologies into all our contracts, all our grants. It is an investment with a great return.

– Monika Mala
COO, Foster Success

The Results

Foster Success began working with Galvin Technologies in 2021. Since that time, the organization’s expanded usage of Salesforce has resulted in:

  • Serving 3x more participants with the same number of staff
  • Expanding to 3 additional states within one year
  • Improving the volume of monthly disbursements by 246%
  • Reducing manual processes comprising one full-time position to 0.3 FTE
  • Increasing fundraising by 80% year over year and growing new donors by 60%

Since engaging in the multi-phased Salesforce project, Foster Success has grown tremendously. The organization now includes a second nonprofit arm, Foster Success Education Services, to serve the three additional states outside of Indiana (Ohio, Maryland, and Arizona). Three programs have grown into five impact areas with at least three programs underneath each of them. The former nine-person team currently employs 30 staff.

The organization’s expanded impact and initial data infrastructure investments attracted the attention of one of the nation’s largest private foundations. Foster Success received a multi-million-dollar investment to propel its efforts and start an endowment. The grant includes funds for technology-enabled process innovation that will help Foster Success serve more stakeholders nationwide.

Foster Success COO Monika Mala said, “We started with what I would say is a modest investment. Then we saw how much we were getting back in return. We started building Galvin Technologies into all our contracts, all our grants. I have just come to the conclusion that a part of our budget will go there because we believe in it. This truly is a partnership. It is an investment with a great return.”

Ready to Foster Your Own Success?

Our webinar “Driving Impact and Supporting Community Through Salesforce” for a deeper dive into Foster Success’s Salesforce transformation. The organization may be unique, but its challenges are universal to nonprofits.

The webinar discusses how Foster Success:

  • Strategically approached its Salesforce implementation
  • Transformed a modest investment into a major operational overhaul
  • Used platform capabilities to address core problems holding the organization back
  • Leveraged Salesforce as rocket fuel for expanding the organization’s capacity and impact

Check out the webinar by completing the form below:

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