Working with a fast growing not-for-profit organisation, I have come to realise the importance of having some systems in place for everyday activities. When your e-mail starts to grow, endless message chains, and you lose focus on the tasks ahead of you, that is the time your mind starts to think…
Surely there must be a better way to do this?
This is the time when powerful IT systems come to play. I have been lucky and privileged enough to work with Salesforce (http://salesforce.com) for Sri Om Foundation. As an executive member of Sri Om, and having a good understanding of our processes, I have had the opportunity to put in place certain systems to streamline our work flow. Off course, having a software background and a passion for these kinds of tools does always help!
It has probably taken a bit of time to adopt, and as an organisation, we are still facing challenges, but the platform has been set for us to only develop and making it easier for us to tackle these issues head on.
The use of Salesforce in our organisation is a true success story of embracing technology in taking the organisation to new levels. Highlighted below are the ways we have been able to utilise the cloud based platform.
Cases for requests
When we get a request from the general public calling out to us for assistance, we need to log their request and take appropriate action.
This could off course be done by logging an email, and saving details to a file which is then stored on a machine for later use. We have instead created a streamlined workflow for cases on the Salesforce platform. Each request that comes through is logged into our system. Any comments from the requester, or internally are logged under the case for traceability purposes.
Further to that, we assign tasks for the staff who will be handling this case.
Some examples of the types of cases we log include
– Request for home care or domestic assistance
– Assistance for an elderly in attending day centres
– Community engagement activities which require Sri Om’s participation
Traceability and history data of cases
As mentioned above, all details of each case are logged in into the system for traceability purpose. This provides an excellent overview for the management team at later dates when we want to understand what was done about the case. The historical information is highly useful for our organisation when we need to report our activities for grants and tenders.
One of the most powerful features of the system is the ability to add and assign tasks. This feature has enabled our staff to keep track of what work needs to be done and its due date. Tasks are assigned under the various cases and allow due date/times to be set. Our “open” cases would have tasks assigned to individuals up until the point that the case is closed.
An example of where the tasks are used is in a home care request case. A task is assigned as a reminder of what to take when the staff sees the client next. We would raise a new task on the case
Assign To: Joe Bloggs
Description: “Take board games from storage with you when attending next client session”
Due Date: 30th June 2014
Reminder: 29th June 2014 at 10 AM
A reminder pops up at the designated date and time so that Joe Bloggs is aware of what he needs to do
Staff and volunteers
The platform is excellent for managing contacts. We have used it extensively to store all details about our staff and volunteers who work for Sri Om. We have logged in their details, work experience and availabilities to help us in managing our operations.
Use of documents for the staff and volunteers plays out very well as a HR tool. Important documents are stored for safe keeping about the staff or volunteers. These documents include, but not limited to
– Police checks
– Employment Contract
– Superannuation and other financial documents
– Training certificates
One of the hardest parts of any organisation is keeping important documents in an accessible location. Small not for profits struggle with this approach as the work is very ad-hoc and it is not feasible to set up a document server at a centralised location.
This is where the documents feature in the Salesforce platform becomes very useful. This is used extensively by Sri Om to hold our important documents so any of our staff are able to access it as needed. Some of these these documents include
– Insurance policies
– Registration papers
– Awards and recognitions
Complaints management and feedback
It is imperative we have strong policies around complaints management and feedback. Sri Om has always been very proactive on this subject to ensure we do the best we can for our clients. The process however had a lot of scope to improve. From excel spreadsheets and E-mails, we have moved to Salesforce. Our complaints and feedback are managed as cases with the priority levels being set to “High”. This ensures our staff are working on them as a priority to ensure that we are doing all we can for our clients.
As our organisation matures and takes professionalism to new levels, we are constantly evolving our platform to be on top of our activities. There are many other very useful and powerful features which we are yet to completely utilise, such as dashboards and reports. As the organisation is coming to terms with the technology, the results have been very positive and only time will provide key measurements of its success.
If you would like to know any more information about the technology or its implementation, I would be more than happy to arrange a time to go through it.