Pro Bono Profile: Volunteer’s Love of Reporting Unlocks Value for Nonprofit Customer

By Jason Wurtz | October 26, 2019 | Nonprofit, Pro Bono, Volunteering

Our Pro Bono Profile blog series highlights Salesforce employees who volunteer their time and talent to help nonprofits harness the full power of Salesforce technology.

High Hopes
A High Hopes volunteer gets a therapy horse ready for a ride.

Mark was diagnosed with PTSD shortly after retiring from 30 years of service in the Air Force. “I was in a very very dark place spiraling downward,” he recalled. “I did not want to go on like that but I couldn’t see a way of moving forward.”

In 2016, Mark enrolled in a therapeutic horseback riding program at High Hopes. That’s where he met therapeutic riding horse, Latino, and began his journey back to life as a civilian.

“It was almost as if my physical pain, hopelessness, and the depression that I had inside evaporated,” Mark recalled. “I could feel how peaceful and genuine he was. Seeing Latino weekly gave me something to look forward to.”

Horses and Humans Improving Lives

High Hopes serves 1,500+ individuals with a wide range of physical, cognitive, and emotional challenges every year. Their equine assisted programs help participants heal from trauma and depression, and help individuals with physical and cognitive disabilities build strength, coordination and balance. Learning how to guide a 1,000 pound horse is also a huge confidence booster, especially for those who feel like they have little control over their lives or bodies.

High Hopes relies on volunteers to help deliver their life-changing services. In 2018, 652 individuals volunteered 28,000+ hours to support people like Mark on their journey to healing. The organization outgrew the legacy database they had used for years, so they implemented Salesforce.org Nonprofit Cloud to track and manage data about volunteers, participants, equipment, and horses.

What’s the Point?

Mark with therapeutic riding horse.
Mark with therapeutic riding horse.

Megan Ellis was brand new to Salesforce when she inherited system admin duties from a staff member who had transitioned out. She quickly skilled up on Trailhead, but hit a roadblock when trying to create custom reports and dashboards to help staff more efficiently manage their programmatic activities

This was part of a bigger issue for High Hopes. Since implementing Salesforce, the team had struggled to see the value in using the platform. Megan realized she needed some hands-on expertise to make the most of their investment in Salesforce, so she applied for assistance through the Salesforce.org Pro Bono Program.

“The question was, how can we unlock value from the platform without blowing our budget?” recalled Megan. “The Pro Bono Program was a great option to get our specific needs met.”

Stephanie Shaw, a Lead Solution Engineer at Salesforce, eagerly signed up for the project. She loves building reports and dashboards. “If you’re going to have people take the time and effort to put data in the system, you should be able to get something useful out of it,” Stephanie quipped.

Seeing What’s Possible with the Platform

High Hopes participant, Mac, with Advanced Instructor, Sarah Miller, during a therapeutic carriage driving lesson.
High Hopes participant, Mac, with Advanced Instructor, Sarah Miller, during a therapeutic carriage driving lesson.

Stephanie worked with Megan to build a set of reports and dashboards to help staff more efficiently manage their programs. Now, the system automatically emails a daily schedule to staff that shows when volunteers are scheduled to work and the participant and horse they’re scheduled to work with. Previously, Megan was exporting data from Salesforce into a spreadsheet and manually assembling the schedule every day, which was a huge burden for her.

The reports and dashboards that Stephanie built gave staff a reason to login to the system every day. As a result, they are much more comfortable working in Salesforce. High Hopes has since migrated more and more of its data into the system. They started out tracking about 30% of their data in Salesforce and now they’re tracking around 90%.

“Stephanie was warm and approachable,” recalled Megan. “Most importantly, she brought hope. She helped us see the value in tracking our data in Salesforce. She gave me confidence that we can make the system work for us.”

Apply for Pro Bono

Need help using Salesforce to increase your impact? Our Pro Bono Program combines two of our greatest assets, technology and the talent of our Salesforce employees, to help organizations maximize their use of Salesforce.

Learn more about other pro bono success stories, and apply today!