University of Portsmouth Takes an Automated and Integrated Approach to Alumni and Advancement
The University of Portsmouth has bold plans for the future. By 2030, the University aims to be the top modern university in the UK and one of the top 100 young universities in the world.
One of the key pillars of this ambitious vision is a commitment to transforming the University’s alumni relations and advancement activity, which will, in turn, help support world-class research, education, and student opportunities.
To do great things, of course, it takes more than good intentions. To that end, the University has also committed to radically transforming its digital technology and systems.
The University of Portsmouth had already implemented Salesforce to drive marketing campaigns and student recruitment. Alumni and Advancement was the next great area of opportunity to tackle with Salesforce.
The Alumni and Advancement team, under the leadership of Dorothy Albrecht, the Director of Marketing, Advancement and Communications, put in motion an overhaul that would enable the team to reach its goals.
“The systems we had in place to support our processes were functional; however, there was no integration of the systems – each was working independently of the other,” explained Derek Thomas, Advancement Operations Manager for the Alumni and Advancement Team.
“We also wanted more automation and integration, and less manual work whilst also allowing us to develop and maintain strong relationships with our alumni, prospects, and donors,” said Thomas. “That’s the purpose of technology: to do a lot of the heavy lifting so that we can focus on higher priority activities.”
Transforming Alumni Activity
Salesforce.org Education Cloud – encompassing Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, and the Education Data Architecture (EDA) – provided University of Portsmouth with an ideal solution for its Alumni and Advancement team. The University worked with Salesforce Technical Partner, Creation Technology Solutions on the deployment.
“The EDA framework is perfect for capturing the multiple ways people engage with the university,” said Thomas. “A donor could be an alumnus and/or a member of the business community and at the same time affiliated with particular groups within the University. We can accurately capture that information in Sales Cloud and have one clear, 360-degree view of the individual across all those roles and affiliations, which allows us to manage our relationships cohesively in an individualized and relevant manner.”
Fundraising That Combines Automation with Personalization
With the Salesforce platform in place, University of Portsmouth has seen several important benefits, notably around data automation and integration.
“We have workflows now that didn’t exist before that ensure the right data automatically populates in all the various systems without anyone having to manually load it in,” said Thomas.
The flexibility of the Salesforce platform has also enabled the University to better adjust to the ever-shifting landscape of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have had to adjust some of our fundraising plans because of the pandemic,” said Thomas. “Asking for a small one-off donation is different than asking for a major gift, and some conversations need to be had in person, which is difficult to do at the moment. Salesforce lets us plan our outreach activities so that we are approaching fundraising activities in a way that makes sense while still keeping enough irons in the fire to reach our goals.”
Enterprise Approach, Astounding Results
Moving forward, University of Portsmouth is looking forward to leveraging additional aspects of the Salesforce platform to operate in an even more optimized fashion.
“We’re focusing a lot on building up our reporting capabilities at the moment,” said Thomas. “That’s going to give us a tool to show people – whether it’s faculty or Senior Management – different slices of information in a very understandable way and through a very clear interface. That will allow them to understand exactly what’s going on with different Alumni and Advancement activities, or where we’re at with different fundraising goals or objectives.”
From improving operations internally, to providing a higher level of service externally, Thomas feels that Salesforce has helped the Alumni and Advancement team take a big leap forward.
“The vision was enterprise scale personalization and automation, and that’s what Salesforce is helping us achieve,” said Thomas. “We are really happy with it. It’s astounding what it has been able to deliver in such a short amount of time. The University will also be going live with an enterprise solution for managing events and Research & Innovation, as well as B2B activities in early November. Salesforce will be a truly integrated enterprise solution for the University, with further integrations and projects in the future.”