“With Salesforce, we can maximise our reach and minimise our cost, which means we can help more children rediscover their childhood.”

- Ben Wilkes, Executive Director, Children on the Edge

Children on the Edge maximises resources to reach more forgotten children with Salesforce

Childhood is a time for fun, growth, and innocence. But in developing and war-torn countries, some children end up living on the edge of their societies, neglected, malnourished, and forgotten. Others find themselves persecuted by their own governments or punished by a caste system they didn’t ask to be born into.

Children on the Edge is a small charity with a big reach, travelling to places as diverse as Burma and Bangladesh to help children realise their rights. “We want to restore the ingredients of a full childhood by bringing young people hope, life, colour, and fun,” said Ben Wilkes, Executive Director at Children on the Edge. “We make sure children’s universal rights are realised by supporting education initiatives and providing humanitarian aid.”

To help the most children in the most effective way, the organisation needed a dynamic business platform to maximise its limited resources. “In 2012, we moved away from speadsheets and client lists, and deployed the Salesforce Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP),” said Wilkes. “This transformation is helping us to maximise resources and reach more children.”

Plug-in and play deployment

With no internal IT team, the deployment duties fell to Wilkes. “Implementing Salesforce was both brilliant and terrifying,” he said. “I don’t have an IT background but I jumped in and became obsessed with learning! We didn’t have time to sit and map out a migration plan, so we just switched it on and played with it until our processes were perfected.”

With a wealth of information and support available via online communities and Salesforce’s Trailhead learning paths, Wilkes was soon able to go from playing to establishing a comprehensive business platform. “With Salesforce, innovation is much easier,” said Wilkes. “The fact that we can go back and tweak a process or feature if needed shows that IT transformation doesn’t have to be prohibitive or precautionary.”

Streamlining processes and prioritising resources

Salesforce now underpins every process at Children on the Edge – from allocating grants to logging assets and tracking staff holidays. Every new grant opportunity is logged in Salesforce, and associated tasks and documents are linked to the record.

Grants are scored in Salesforce based on their financial value, suitability and the likelihood of Children on the Edge’s application being successful. “We can now prioritise the resource we dedicate to different grant applications,” said Eloise Armstrong, Fundraising Manager at the charity. “With Salesforce, our small team can be more productive and effective.”

Building stronger relationships

“With manual processes, there was always a risk that a donor might slip through the net,” said Armstrong. “With donors logged in Salesforce, we can keep better track of contacts and see how each supporter relationship is developing.”

To keep in touch with supporters, Children on the Edge has integrated Salesforce with MailChimp. Any changes made to Salesforce records are automatically synced with MailChimp, updating mailing lists and simplifying campaigning. “We can link different people to different campaigns depending on our history together,” explained Armstrong. “It means people don’t just get segmented into one pigeon hole: for example, they could be a donor as well a volunteer.”

Higher donations, better outcomes

Tracking finances is just as important as tracking supporters for Children on the Edge. All income is
logged in Salesforce and automatically reconciled with the charity’s banking system. As well as eliminating duplicated work, this integration ensures that financial records are 100% accurate.

“The more data captured in Salesforce, the better,” said Wilkes. “We don’t want anyone locking data away in spreadsheets or inboxes.” Wilkes hopes to extend this centralised approach to recording field data from its various projects, which currently support around 40,000 people around the world. With deeper insights, the team will be able to measure the effectiveness of projects and see where it needs to make changes to have a bigger impact.

For Children on the Edge, greater visibility of data translates to more informed decisions and more effective fundraising. “In 2016, our month-on-month donations doubled,” said Wilkes. “With Salesforce, we can maximise our reach and minimise our costs, which means we can help more children rediscover their childhood.”

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