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How Big Brothers Big Sisters of Alaska is extending the value of their Salesforce solution


Big Brothers Big Sisters is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing children facing adversity with support through one-on-one relationships. At the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Alaska (BBBSAK) affiliate, Salesforce and the Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP) were previously implemented to manage donations and donor relationships.

When the BBBSAK team found that they didn’t trust their system to reliably and accurately track their donor relationships, they reached out to the Traction Extend team, seeking guidance and expertise to help them better understand and drive value from their solution.

Who are our constituents?

Today, constituents and donors expect the same level of personalization from local nonprofits as they do from large multinational brands. To provide this type of engagement, it’s vital for nonprofits to first understand who their constituents are; this is where clean data shines through.

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For BBBSAK’s, much of their key constituent data was not being recorded in Salesforce, resulting in a lack of trust in their donor data.

“Duplicate data and other data cleanliness challenges made it difficult for us to truly know our donors”, said Dave Lamothe, Business Administrator at BBBSAK. “With our previous configuration, it was difficult to see how donors had contributed to us, whether it was through their workplace or a third-party organization.”

“Errors such as two spouses listed as an individual donor also resulted in data entry on multiple records,” said Dave. “Without clean data and trust in our systems, our team was finding it difficult to provide a personalized experience for our donors.”

How do we empower our users?

True data-cleanliness is an ongoing assignment; it’s not a simple one-click fix. BBBSAK understood that to maintain a high level of data integrity they would need to train and empower their internal users.

BBBSAK were looking to explore the opportunities presented by their new Salesforce system, but they needed guidance and knowledge of best practices.

“Our team was enthusiastic to learn more about how our system was set up and how to make Salesforce work for us,” said Dave. “However, they lacked platform-specific knowledge that would enable them to maintain data cleanliness or leverage our native features.”

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Enter: Traction Extend

To help BBBSAK make the most of their Salesforce instance, Traction on Demand worked with the team over a six-month Traction Extend engagement. With a dedicated Traction Extend Champion, Victoria Tang, working with their team, BBBSAK’s entire operation was transformed.

“BBBSAK’s enthusiasm and dedication to understanding how Salesforce can make their lives easier is what made this such a successful engagement,” said Victoria Tang, Business Solutions Consultant & Traction Extend Champion. “Out-of-the-box Salesforce has a lot to offer, and BBBSAK wanted to make the most of it, they just needed some guidance into what aspects of the platform would help them better serve their constituents.”

Each month, the BBBSAK team had the flexibility to use their time with Victoria in areas where they needed help most. From data cleansing to training, the team was able to benefit from the engagement in a way that best suited their needs.

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It starts with data

Much of BBBSAK’s work with Victoria focused on understanding how to leverage the tools available to them to maintain strong data governance. From using Salesforce’s standard duplicate management tools to extracting, transforming and updating records with Data Loader, the BBBSAK team can now leverage their toolkit to identify and rectify data cleanliness issues, as well as to maintain data cleanliness moving forward.

This has been a turning point, enabling us to better leverage the tools in the Nonprofit Success Pack.

“Victoria led us through much needed discussions to make decisions which allowed us to effectively tighten up our Salesforce instance. This has been a turning point, enabling us to better leverage the tools in the Nonprofit Success Pack,” said Dave.

Tracking soft credits

To really understand who their donors are, BBBSAK wanted to leverage soft credit tracking, a native feature of NPSP. With Traction Extend in the role of advisor, BBBSAK were able to set up soft credits according to their organization-specific donation and donor-interaction model, enabling them to keep track of all their donors, regardless of donation type.

Unlocking the value of Salesforce and NPSP

Salesforce offers a nearly endless catalogue of features ranging from simple to complex. By leveraging the extensive platform knowledge (gained from Traction on Demand’s thousands of Salesforce projects) of the Traction Extend team, BBBSAK were able to take advantage of simple and cost-efficient enhancements that they otherwise wouldn’t have known about.

Standard Salesforce tools such as Quick Actions and Reports simplify and automate a lot of previously manual tasks. Additionally, new best practice account record types better fit with NPSP’s requirements, ensuring BBBSAK can continue to leverage ongoing improvements to the package.

Building Lasting Relationships

Restored confidence

After a three-month engagement with Traction Extend, BBBSAK has newfound confidence in their system, their data and their ability to drive value from their technology investment.

Traction on Demand not only fixed our acute pain points, they helped us to understand the capabilities of our new platform.

“We are so very grateful for Victoria and the Traction Extend team,” said Dave. “Before this partnership, duplicate data entry and inconsistent procedures left us scrambling to decipher our database. I was constantly having to investigate and confirm even recent donor activity. Traction on Demand not only fixed our acute pain points, they helped us to understand the capabilities of our new platform.”

With clean and actionable data, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Alaska can better personalize their communications and interactions with donors, ultimately driving towards fundraising goals. Knowing who their donors are and how many there are, alongside easy and reliable reporting, enables them to make data-driven decisions that serve their mission.

Reading with chid

“We now have a plan and confidence in our donor data. Reports provide our Board and Leadership Team real time, accurate information that is used to make data informed decisions—allowing us to focus on the mission to serve Alaska’s youth.”

Extending your Salesforce value

Our goal with Traction Extend is to build your organizational capacity by partnering you with an Extend Champion from the pool of experts at Traction on Demand. Our Extend Champions become an extension of your internal team, dedicated to unlocking value from Salesforce and helping you find new ways to leverage the platform.

If you’re looking to drive greater value from your Salesforce instance, like Big Brothers Big Sisters of Alaska, and would like to work one-on-one with a Traction Extend Champion, like Victoria, get in touch with our Traction Extend team today.

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