By: Tulan Ma and Lisette Peerlings at TRIEC
At the end of the day, software technologies, can’t do everything – they are simply tools that help us get through our tasks more efficiently. But if you’re a nonprofit, when implemented successfully, your software tools will help you manage and administer your programs more easily. None of this is truer than when it comes to effective customer relationship management (CRM) platforms.
At the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC) our goal is to build a Greater Toronto where immigrants can find success in their careers. Our flagship program, TRIEC Mentoring Partnership, matches newcomers with a mentor who is established in Canada and shares their professional background. Last year, we found mentors for over 1,800 newcomers, and since the program launched in 2004, there’s been over 17,500 matches.
This kind of output would not be possible without our CRM technology. At TRIEC, we use Salesforce as our program management tool. Salesforce is inherently a CRM, and we designed and customized an application that allows us to easily track and manage the program’s clients (mentees) and volunteers (mentors) throughout their mentoring partnership – from invitation to registration to post-program evaluation and outcome surveys.
As you can imagine, it’s critical to have a flexible and powerful CRM that allows us to create and access participant records, add case management notes, and send email reminders or run campaigns to recruit mentors securely. The customization enables us to do all of this smoothly.
There were several reasons why we decided to invest in a powerful cloud-based CRM. We needed technology that would enable us to scale TRIEC Mentoring Partnership, centralize our data, and provide a 360 view of all the engagement points for all parties involved.
The system is more user-friendly than you’d think. Our community portal has been designed so that mentoring coaches (who oversee the mentee-mentor journey) can see at any given time which phase participants are in (i.e. registration, waiting for intervention, in partnership, or post-partnership) and what their next tasks should be. The on-demand features allow our community partners and their coaches – who are not onsite – to see how the mentoring partnerships are progressing from anywhere, anytime.
Furthermore, all charities and nonprofits must report to their funders and this process has become more robust – we are collecting data that is already centralized and easily accessible in a manner that allows us to review outcomes and other program-related reports in-depth for program evaluation and review.
Here’s a simplified look at the workflow and processes for the different phases of TRIEC Mentoring Partnership enabled by Salesforce:
Participant Registration Phase:
- Once mentees express interest and are deemed eligible by coaches, their coach opens the community portal and invites them to register for the program.
- This triggers an automated invitation email that is sent by Salesforce after the coach had entered the client’s name and email address.
- Registration reminder emails are sent to mentees with incomplete registration forms.
- Submitted registration forms are all reviewed by coaches via the portal.
- Participants are invited to attend an in-person orientation session via an automated email after a partnership is confirmed.
- During the mentoring partnership, coaches can manage the partnership status by the putting partnership ‘on hold’ in the system if participants are away, or ‘cancel’ if participants feel the partnership is not working out.
- Auto-generated emails with check-in surveys are sent to participants asking if they need support from their coach – if yes, the coach is notified to check-in and offer help to participants.
- Partnership check-in surveys are sent on day 10 and day 45 of the partnership automatically.
Post-partnership Evaluation & Outcome Phase:
- Automated survey emails are sent to participants at partnership completion, and 3, 6 and 12 months after partnership completion to collect feedback and employment outcomes.
These are just some of the ways that an all-in-one, one-stop CRM can help a nonprofit with its program delivery needs. And we’re very happy with the results so far. Our advice to other nonprofits considering this approach: don’t be afraid to start small, learn the tool, and build on it over time!
Editor's note: TechSoup Canada offers a few different Constituent/Donor Relationship Management opitons. You can browse our catalogue options to find the CRM that might be best suited to your nonprofit's needs.
About the authors:
Tulan Ma is senior manager of program development and innovations at the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC). She most recently led four cross-functional teams to relaunch TRIEC’s flagship program, TRIEC Mentoring Partnership, which includes a new comprehensive Salesforce solution integrating IT, service delivery, case management, communication and participant learning.
Lisette Peerlings is manager of information technology at the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC). Her background in organizational development and business analysis enable her to provide an all-round perspective to organizational challenges, small and big. Finding efficient solutions, tech and non-technological are her passion.