From Blackbaud’s Raiser’s Edge to a Connected School on Salesforce

The Client

Menlo School is a co-ed, college preparatory day school located in Atherton, California. In a world that is changing at an exponential rate, Menlo strives to give students a powerful education that prepares them academically, socially, ethically and personally to have a positive impact. Menlo is home to a tight-knit community where everyone matters, and diverse thoughts and ideas are celebrated. This supportive community empowers each student to find their voice as they build relationships that will last a lifetime and literally, “Learn for Life.”

Challenges

The Development and Alumni Relations team at Menlo School wanted to better foster relationships with parents, students and alumni to further scale their impact in the community. Before moving to the Salesforce platform, Menlo lacked a way to systematically and strategically capture and use pertinent information. Data was logged into their existing system, Raiser’s Edge, but it was not being leveraged in a way that showed progress towards their organizational goals.

Menlo had been using Raiser’s Edge for twenty years, and while it contained a large repository of data, their system was not evolving with Menlo’s growing needs. The underlying database architecture had not been significantly updated in many years, and customization was nearly impossible. The database was accessible on campus only, and access on mobile devices was nonexistent. Meetings with key stakeholders would have to be recorded and notes input when the staff member returned to the office. Switching to Salesforce helped Development office staff work more on developing strategic fundraising relationships and less on data entry and wrestling with canned reports.

“Before our engagement with Cloud for Good and the migration to Salesforce, there was a lot of anecdotal information logged in our system, but there was not a clearly defined way to use that data. We needed a system that could help us be more systematic and strategic in how we were using our data and offered a way to visualize and share that data with others,” noted Vidya Kagan, Director of Data Management & Research at Menlo School.

The Solution

After an extensive selection process, Menlo chose Cloud for Good as their implementation partner and the Salesforce platform for their development database. Cloud for Good worked closely with Menlo School to establish their needs, improve their business processes, translate those needs to technology, and ensure that their new platform was set up to serve as the record of truth for all their development data inquiries. Then they worked to configure Salesforce Sales Cloud, the Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP), and integrate AppExchange apps for advanced reporting and email marketing. The thorough evaluation of needs and wants helped Menlo implement a solution that can scale to meet their growing needs.

Eric Spross, Menlo’s Director of Technology, is emphatic about the importance of having a great consultant. “I can’t overstate the impact Cloud for Good has had in getting our project off the ground. We knew we wanted to switch to Salesforce, but we knew we didn’t have the expertise in-house to get it done in a timely fashion. Their experience with other nonprofits and Raiser’s Edge conversions, and their clear methodology for managing projects like ours helped us get it done on time and not too far over budget.”

Once the database conversion project was complete, Cloud for Good also provided training to make sure that their database was easily accessible remotely and that the team could easily view and enter data using any device. They continue to provide ongoing support to the project team and key database users as the project evolves.

Results

Menlo has fully embraced their move to the cloud. They are leveraging real-time dashboards and have data at their fingertips. The mobile interface has unlocked limitless potential for staff as they meet with constituents. Just a few months after launching Salesforce, Menlo School was able to prepare their annual report and run their annual fund with ease, tasks that were previously cumbersome, but now, it’s more easily managed with Salesforce.

Menlo continues to think about their Salesforce roadmap as the school’s programs continue to grow. “Salesforce allows us to feel empowered to iterate our system. We customize it ourselves, thanks to the training and support we have received from Cloud for Good. The more changes we make, the better we feel about how we can make the system work for us. It makes me love Salesforce even more than I already do,” stated Vidya.

Vision for the Future

Menlo School is not only about fundraising. At the center of the 100-year-old school’s educational mission is a commitment to the development and welfare of each student. Their vision is to leverage Salesforce to create a “Connected School,” where teachers and counselors can follow and support students’ and families’ progress through the school, from their initial interest, during their student years, and keeping them connected as alumni years hence.

Projects in the pipeline include connecting event registration and tracking opportunities, deeper email integration, building tools to help alumni keep in touch, and—most ambitiously—developing a new, customized student information system in Salesforce. With a scalable, flexible database platform and a trusted partner to make it happen, this vision is within their reach.

Watch our joint webinar with Salesforce.org, Menlo School and Austin Independent School District to learn how you can become a connected school.