Skip to Content

Pro Bono Profile: Design Thinking for Nonprofits – Reimagining Service with USO and Salesforce

By December 12, 2017

Pro Bono Profiles
Salesforce employees take part in skills based volunteering - case study with the USOFounded in 1941, the United Service Organizations (USO), strengthens America’s military service members by keeping them connected to family, home and country, throughout their service to the nation. Eli Hertz, USO’s VP of IT, describes USO as like the “Cheers” environment for military service members – a third place between home and work.

Before engaging with Salesforce volunteers, the USO was experiencing a common challenge in serving their large network. They had no streamlined, centralized way to collect usage and program participation from 11 million service connections of constituents at more than 200 USO locations on 7 continents. They relied on paper sign-in lists, manual clicker counters and an annual lengthy survey making data aggregation and analysis manual and time-consuming, with lengthy delays of often a month or more. In fact, it could take 1300 hours and 8 months to collect data from their centers and deliver to headquarters (in the form of 150 slides!) making strategic decision-making and targeted engagement difficult.

USO team

In order to assist the USO with these challenges, Salesforce volunteers provided support in the form of an Ignite, a design-thinking workshop to help USO develop their user personas, brainstorm client-centric challenges and come up with new solutions to their data management issues. This workshop helped clear the path for digitizing both their center usage and broader constituent relationships with a vision for a customer success-first platform. The Ignite process led the USO to Salesforce implementation partner, Attain, to develop SPARTAN, or Strengthening of Programs Through Analytics, Relationship, Technology And Innovation, a mobile application built on the Nonprofit Success Pack that has transformed how the USO delivers services to their stakeholders, and earned Attain one of the Salesforce Partner Innovation Awards for 2017.

The USO leveraged design thinking and skills based volunteers along with Salesforce to help create an outstanding mobile app.

Putting Vision into Action: Results of the Skills-Based Volunteering Project

With SPARTAN, the USO now has a personalized relationship with their constituents. Service members know the USO is listening and understand that insights gained from this platform will enable USO to strengthen the programs they deliver, and in so doing strengthen the U.S. military forces. For the first time, USO has access to real-time centralized data on worldwide center and program usage and constituent feedback, and in a consistent format that enables comparison and analysis. When the USO wants to change programs based on feedback – they can respond within the same day, rather than waiting months and months.

Real-time analytics dashboard powered by Salesforce and the Nonprofit Success Pack for USO, enabling USO to know dates and times of when people use their programs and services ad get real-time feedback.

The success of this project has served as a cornerstone in demonstrating the power of digital engagement and accelerated USO’s efforts to become more constituent-centric.

The USO Mobile app, built on Salesforce

Today, if a service member checks in to a USO center or program on the app and rates their experience with less than a 3 out of 5 star rating, the manager of that location will immediately get an email notification and can follow up with the service member directly to address their concerns. The technology helps give the USO a 360 degree view of their constituents and integrate constituent feedback to create a great experience.

The excitement and enthusiasm is palpable within the USO. They are thrilled at being freed from their past manual data collection and aggregation process. Eli HertzFrom Eli, “Salesforce’s thought leadership has had a direct contribution in enhancing the USO mission, yielding stronger programs and a stronger military.”

We couldn’t be more thrilled for the USO and are proud partners of their work to serve those who serve.

Get involved!
If you’re interested in having Salesforce volunteers help your nonprofit, get more info here on our Pro Bono program.

Salesforce volunteers support the USO with the Nonprofit Success Pack in a skills based volunteer engagement

USO Ignite Pro Bono Team