Our Pro Bono Profiles blog series highlights Salesforce employees who volunteer their time and talent to help nonprofits harness the full power of Salesforce technology.
LGBTQ+ youth feeling the love at Encircle House
Saving Young Lives
Suicide is the leading cause of death for Utah youth. LGBTQ+ youth who feel isolated, alienated, and alone are especially vulnerable and are more likely to consider or attempt suicide compared to their heterosexual peers.
“I think that Provo should be the best place to grow up an LGBTQ+ child because we do community so well,” explained Stephenie Larsen, Chief Executive Officer at Encircle. “But it’s the hardest pace.”
Encircle was founded to provide a safe space in Provo for LGBTQ+ youth to feel loved and valued; and for families and allies of LGBTQ+ youth to learn how best to support them. The organization offers counseling, support groups, and other resources at its beautifully renovated Victorian-style home located in the heart of Provo.
Volunteers Share the Love
On any given school day, 50 to 60 students drop by the Encircle house. Volunteers greet youth with fresh-baked cookies and a warm, welcoming smile. They keep the house clean and organized, and the yard well manicured. Sometimes, volunteers even open the house when staff aren’t available. Plus, local mental health professionals volunteer their time or offer steep discounts to provide counseling services and facilitate support groups.
Volunteer helping to landscape the property.
You’re Not Welcome Here
In 2017, Encircle had been granted a permit to participate in Provo’s annual Fourth of July parade. Less than 24 hours before the parade, their permit was revoked because they didn’t fit the parade’s theme. The highly publicized incident caught John’s attention.
“Encircle spends so much time and resources on telling youth that they are worthy and they do belong,” said John Schultz, a senior member of Salesforce.org’s technical staff. “Pulling the permit told those kids they don’t belong.”
“At Salesforce, I can choose to use my skills to make a person’s life a little easier and perhaps even to save a life. How could I not take that opportunity?” said John.
Inspired to support their mission, John contacted Encircle to see how he could volunteer to help. Through discussions with staff, John learned that Encircle was spending a great deal of time entering information about volunteers and tracking volunteer shifts in Google Sheets. With 700+ volunteers, this process became a nightmare for staff to manage.
Taking a Stand
LGBTQ+ youth posing for a picture in front of Encircle house
John helped Encircle to implement Volunteers for Salesforce, a volunteer management solution that is included with the Nonprofit Success Pack. Now, Encircle receives volunteer applications online and volunteers sign up for shifts right from their website. This information gets stored in Salesforce, giving staff easy access to crucial information. With a few clicks, staff can see which volunteers have completed mandatory training, fingerprints, and background checks.
“We used to spend at least 20 hours a week organizing data,” remarked Ingrid Rawle, Chief of Staff at Encircle. “Now, we spend around 30 minutes each week, which gives us more time to focus on our mission.”
Encircle is set to expand from one to three houses and grow from 700 to roughly 2,000 volunteers in the near future. “Salesforce will not only make this transition go smoothly, but will enable us to spend our time on what matters the most: the LGBTQ+ youth and families we serve,” explained Ingrid.
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