Changing a child’s future with Salesforce
Wolverine Human Services, the largest child welfare and juvenile justice agency in Michigan, cares for the most vulnerable young people in the state. When a child is removed from their home because of abuse or neglect, the first stop is likely to be Wolverine. When a family wants to foster a child, they are often connected to Wolverine. And when at-risk youth need the targeted support to rehabilitate, the agency steps in with its world-recognized program.
For many years, Wolverine wrestled under the weight of time-intensive manual processes. The agency knew this was limiting its ability to achieve deep impact. Having struggled to find the right technology fit, three years ago, Wolverine partnered with Salesforce to use the power of the Nonprofit Cloud to support operating efficiency and program impact. In doing so, it revolutionized child welfare work and created a prototype for other agencies to follow.
Adopting a unified Salesforce platform…
Five years ago, when a child would first arrive at Wolverine, staff would have to complete up to 50 different paper forms, before the child could receive care. When a potential care provider would connect with Wolverine, hoping to provide much-needed stability to a vulnerable child, their inquiry might get lost and they might never receive a reply. Social workers were overloaded. Young people were not receiving care quickly. Work processes were chaotic.
Leadership recognized things needed to change. But having spent $250,000 and two years on implementation, the initial technology they chose created more work for staff, not less. “Staff were spending 20 additional hours on top of their 60 hour work week building out our system,” explains Matt Wollack, Vice President of Strategic Development. Wolverine could not access any of its historical data through the platform. It couldn’t even run simple reports.
Seeking out alternative options, Wolverine identified Salesforce. Within the first few weeks, an implementation partner had built a demonstration of how the Nonprofit Success Pack could deeply support the ‘foster care and adoption’ team in their work. From there, Wolverine migrated its programs, fundraising, and volunteer management onto the Nonprofit Success Pack and Sales Cloud.
“We have created the only child welfare system that removes silos of data and allows the agency to have all information on one platform,” explains Wollack.
…has led to outsized efficiency gains…
By getting everyone on one frictionless workflow, Wolverine saw an outsized improvement in operating efficiency, and a boost in staff morale as they shared a common goal to work towards.
First, multiple paper forms have been eliminated. There is now a single point of entry for all new stakeholders, whether they are children, staff or care providers. Using Pardot, an individual completing a web form is assigned a score, which allows the agency to connect them to the appropriate pathway and care provider. Telephone referrals are entered directly into Salesforce.
Second, Wolverine has codified steps taken each time a new child arrives, using Process Builder and apps from the AppExchange. Actions can be taken quickly and without reinventing the wheel. Conga pulls out entry information to automatically complete the required government forms, saving social workers valuable time. MapAnything supports activities that take staff outside the office.
Third, automation means that inquiries are no longer lost in the shuffle and a potential care provider can be moved quickly along the journey of becoming a licensed foster care family. Any inquiry made through Wolverine’s website is immediately assigned to staff for action and the agency can respond within two hours. Should they be required, text messages are automatically sent through SMS Magic. Thanks to Salesforce technology, the foster care licensing process has now been halved from 12-16 months, to 7 months.
Fourth, by connecting fundraising and programs, the agency has expanded its capacity and responsiveness to opportunities. Grant submissions have increased 20 fold because the Reports & Dashboards function allows the team to track submissions, identify upcoming grants and distribute work. The team also uses Pardot for marketing campaigns, to target, reach, and better understand how people are responding to content being shared.
…and propelled program success…
The power of Salesforce technology in achieving operating efficiency has allowed Wolverine to deepen its program impact and record those successes. Case workers are placing children into foster homes more quickly. Once in those settings, children are more rapidly being reunited with their families or being adopted. Therapists are spending more time successfully treating young people, rather than completing paperwork. Indeed, the agency has reduced the number of restraints on youth from 400 per month to 12. With one unified system, Reports & Dashboards can track these outcomes, as well as service needs and caseload distribution. With LevelEleven, program success can be shared across the agency, providing staff with timely feedback.
In fact, Wolverine’s journey has been so successful that the organization has created a spin-off entity, Noble Child, which applies what the agency has learned to a child welfare continuum of care software system available on the AppExchange. Wollack says, “I’m excited about Salesforce. It’s changed the way we think about children every day. We are proud to be here.”
…which has opened up the possibility of expanding programs nationally.
Looking ahead, Wolverine plans to add Einstein, Financial Force and Communities to its ecosystem, with a goal to have the entire 700-person agency on Salesforce by 2019. Communities will enable outside agencies to learn from what is happening within Wolverine. Einstein Analytics will drive evidence-based outcomes for agency programs, for example, matching foster families with children using key indicators of past success. Einstein Voice will enable staff to update case files in real time.
By becoming a connected nonprofit, Wolverine aims to have the structure to expand nationally, while continuing to become even more effective in engaging with everyone who plays a role in ensuring children receive the safety, nurturing and interventions they need to flourish.