With Salesforce, Furniture Bank Strengthens Relationships with Donors, Volunteers and Their Network of Agencies
Four walls alone don’t make a home. It’s a victory for everyone when women and children escape abusive situations, when refugees are liberated from persecution, and when individuals manage to transition out of homelessness. But the struggle doesn’t stop there. In order to establish their new lives, these people first need to establish a new home. Furniture Bank is a nonprofit organization that provides gently-used furniture and household items to individuals and families in need. Based in Toronto, Furniture Bank works with a network of over 80 agencies to ensure no family has to sleep on the floor.
At one time, every aspect of Furniture Bank’s operation was run on paper. “We were very much hamstrung with the number of clients we could accommodate,” explains Dan Kershaw, Executive Director. All of that changed when Furniture Bank adopted Salesforce, taking advantage of Salesforce.org’s Power of Us Program, which provides 10 free subscriptions to any nonprofit. Salesforce has helped Furniture Bank streamline their day-to-day operations, including arranging donation pickups, scheduling showroom appointments, and managing inventory.
To make a request for furniture on behalf of a client, Furniture Bank’s member agencies used to have to fill out paperwork or make a phone call. Thanks to Service Cloud, agencies can now log cases online. The case is then automatically routed to Furniture Bank to review and schedule a showroom appointment for the client.
To make a request for furniture on behalf of a client, Furniture Bank’s member agencies used to have to fill out paperwork or make a phone call. Thanks to Service Cloud, agencies can log cases online. The case is then automatically routed to Furniture Bank to review and schedule a showroom appointment for the client.
The organization also uses the Salesforce Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP) to manage fundraising and donor engagement. All donor data, donation history, and related communications are tracked in a single location, giving the organization’s small fundraising team a holistic view of each donor.
“There really isn’t a part of our operation that isn’t living on Salesforce,” says Kershaw.
From Clipboard to iPad: Mobile Volunteer Tools
Furniture Bank’s 700 showroom volunteers help clients select furniture, record those selections, and schedule deliveries. Run on clipboards and sheets of paper, the process was becoming too cumbersome, with clients waiting 20 minutes or more for the manual checkout process to be completed.
With the power of the Salesforce1 Mobile App, Furniture Bank is replacing clipboards with iPads. Volunteers can now record clients’ furniture selections right on their iPads, from anywhere on the showroom floor. The selection details are automatically recorded in Salesforce in real time. As a result, the checkout process has been reduced to just 5 minutes, allowing the organization to serve 50% more clients per day. “Our goal is to be 100% paperless. The Salesforce1 Mobile App is making that a reality,” says Kershaw.
By enabling their fundraisers, volunteers and network of agencies with Salesforce solutions, Furniture Bank has achieved tremendous results. And they’re not stopping there. Next, Kershaw and his team plan to deploy a mobile route-planning app for drivers. With Salesforce as their innovation platform, they know there’s no limit to what they can do and how fast they can grow. “As a charity, we wouldn’t be the size we are today without Salesforce,” explains Kershaw.
A Mission Powered by Technology and People
“There are upwards of 50,000 people, from all walks of life in the Greater Toronto Area, without items that you and I would consider necessary to call a space, a home,” explains Kershaw. Furniture Bank relies heavily on volunteers to ensure that the more than 100 families that book appointments every week are served. From the volunteers helping every day on the showroom floor to the technologists giving pro bono time to make Salesforce and other systems work for the organization, volunteer power is key.
Since 2013, Salesforce employees have been proud to contribute to the over 10,000 hours given by members of the Toronto community to Furniture Bank. Using NPSP and Salesforce Enterprise reporting capabilities, Furniture Bank was able develop its first volunteer impact report to illustrate the profound impact Salesforce volunteers have had on the families they serve. Since 2013, there have been over 2,730 corporate volunteers, who have worked with over 65,500 donated items and helped over 11,100 people. Translated into a daily average, a corporate volunteer works four hours during which he/she helps four people in need by donating to them 24 furniture items in total. Because of Salesforce volunteers, 162 mattress were donated to Canadians that were sleeping on the floor. Natalie McCabe, a Business Development Representative at Salesforce, recalls, “I was helping two ladies stock a kitchen for their family of six. I saw their eyes light up when they had bowls, cutlery… I take for granted what I have every day, and this experience reminded me of that.”