Stephen Harding, Cloudingo Team Member: How critical is Salesforce to your business?
Jennifer Kirschnick: We’ve been using Salesforce for three years. It’s our central headquarters. It’s where we manage our constituents, volunteers, events, donors – everything. We use Salesforce to reports when we communicate to the public what kind of impact we’re having and how much pollution our projects are reducing. We also have to manage all the people involved with Blue Water Baltimore.
We really utilize Salesforce to its fullest capacity – as a data repository, as a tracking and reporting device, and even for project management. But none of it is perfect because we’re still in a transition period and in the process of better configuring Salesforce. We finally hired a full-time database administrator, so that’s been really helpful.
SH: What was concerning you about your Salesforce data that lead you to find a solution to fix the problem?
JK: We needed a complete picture of our constituents. We had three or four duplicates for the same constituent. One record had a transaction, and one record had their volunteer hours, another record had communication history. We couldn’t get a clear understanding of our constituents because the data was spread over multiple records. We need to know what’s important to them and how engaged they are with Blue Water Baltimore. This information is important when we send out emails and marketing messages because we like to segment our audience. Segmenting is becoming more and more critical, especially in the nonprofit sector. We want to look professional and understand who our supports are and what they care about. Cloudingo was a very important tool to help us get there.
Plus we’re in a transition period, merging five smaller nonprofits into Blue Water Baltimore. During this transition period, we’re in the process of getting other departments on board with Salesforce. We wanted to get our database in a place where we felt confident so that other staff members can start using it without it being a total mess. We wanted our org to be clean to provide a good user experience.
SH: Before using Cloudingo, had you ever attempted to clean your data, either manually or with another product?
JK: It was all manual. We would run reports and try to find discrepancies or duplicates. It was very hard, and with the number of new contacts that come in everyday, doing it manually was impossible.
SH: Did you have any hesitations when you first started using Cloudingo?
JK: I was paranoid about losing information about our constituents. And once that information is gone, it’s gone. So I reached out to Cloudingo and had a one-on-one training session with Beth who was able to answer questions and clarify how to best use the product. That made all the difference in the world.
SH: How have things changed now that your data is clean?
JK: Now that we have everything cleaned up, the trust we have in our data has improved greatly. It’s amazing the difference. We’re lightyears ahead of where we started. We’re now able to gain a better understanding of our constituents, and we’ve saved money and reduced costs. I’m pretty proud of our team. With a smaller staff (28 people) we’ve been able to effectively manage a large amount of data.
SH: Are you doing anything to keep the data in check?
JK: Yes, we do a weekly dedupe. We are seeing an increase in the number of people signing up on our online forms, so the need to monitor and cleanse the data is also increasing.
We’ve also created standard operating procedures for entering new records. For example, always searching first to make sure a contact isn’t already in Salesforce. As we bring on new staff members, these procedures will be a key part of training.
SH: What advice would you give to another admin who is thinking about data quality?
JK: There are a lot of faceless apps and programs out there. We’ve had a very positive experience with Cloudingo. It’s very meaningful to know that we can get in touch with you, that’s there’s someone who can help us get through any hiccups.