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Canal Alliance: Customized Platform for Fundraising, Volunteer and Program Management

Program Management on Salesforce

Customized Platform for Fundraising, Volunteer and Program Management

The Client

Canal Alliance
helps low-income, Spanish-speaking immigrants acquire the tools they need to thrive. They utilize a wraparound strategy including a full range of services designed to help people overcome barriers to the acquisition of the tools they need to succeed. These tools include bilingual skills, technology skills, work-readiness skills, the ability to access resources, stress management skills, money management skills and providing youth with access to college degrees. Canal Alliance is focused on their vision to build a pathway to success for immigrant families to overcome poverty and injustice to become tomorrow’s leaders.


Canal Alliance had previously been using a very customized version of the Nonprofit Starter Pack to manage their clients, but needed a different Salesforce solution to support their business processes going forward. Their current implementation was lacking in the areas of fundraising, case management, classroom management and volunteer management. Canal Alliance offers a wide variety of services to their clients, but though they were able to track service delivery, they were unable to understand the impact of their efforts.  “We were collecting a lot of data, and what we needed was to collect the right data in a way that was easy for our staff and gave us quick access to the results. We needed a strategically-minded Salesforce technology partner to work with to transform how we work with data.  After vetting several companies, Cloud for Good emerged as the best choice,” stated Tom Wilson, Executive Director.


Canal Alliance began by mapping their current and proposed business processes so they could be sure their future system would meet their needs.  Next they engaged with Cloud for Good to complete a technical assessment to help determine what solutions would help support their client tracking, volunteer management, and fundraising. After thoroughly reviewing multiple options on the Salesforce platform, Canal Alliance decided to implement a mix of applications for fundraising and volunteer management, and a custom built program management package to track their classes and coaching services for adults and youth. “Cloud for Good sought to thoroughly understand our business processes and then offered suggestions as to how work flow could be optimized by adjusting processes or utilizing Salesforce automation to simplify the work for our staff.  The design was made with reporting in mind so we could easily get feedback on how we were doing at any time,” said Bob Jackson, Director of Economic Development and IT. Additionally, Canal Alliance chose to implement Salesforce Communities to track class attendance in real-time and selected Classy for peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns and online donations.

Once the platform was selected, further customizations were implemented, including the creation of Flows for intake forms and a custom application for one-on-one meetings. The Cloud for Good Program Management Package was built out further for case management, that tracks client skill acquisition of the Tools for Success. The package enables them to see how 1-on-1 Coaching removes immediate needs barriers and see their path to success through the acquisition of tools/skills.  “Our ultimate outcome is help people acquire skills to break the cycle of poverty.  Our new data system gives us the ability to see in real-time how we are doing on delivering that promise to our clients.  We have been able to make adjustments to our strategies that would not have been possible before,” stated Omar Carrera, Associate Executive Director


Canal Alliance now has a fully implemented solution to get a complete view of all their clients, volunteers and donors. Their data remains up to date and they can view client progress in real time.  For example, each client contact record has assessment information at the top with easy to read symbols and flags to indicate if another assessment needs to be done or if contact information is incomplete.  Coaches now have the ability to collect important information even in the briefest interaction as well as address areas of greatest client need.  This facilitates a team approach so that targeted service can be provided by any Coach—not just the one assigned to the client.

The assessment dashboards are showing real progress toward key indicators of success of income growth and housing stability.  As of January 2016, income assessment data shows that 77% of clients made less than $14,400 per year at their first assessment while their most recent assessment shows that number has fallen to 58%. Housing stability shows a similar trend with 61% of clients reporting their housing situation is not secure for the next year on their baseline assessment while the clients’ most recent assessment shows this number has decreased to 42%

Implementing Classy for peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns has increased the donations that Canal Alliance receives online. Prior to the implementation, online donations for one year were less than $10,000.  Four months after implementing Classy and launching a marketing campaign, online donations are over $70,000 and growing.