Stimulating STEM Education Through Salesforce 

The Client

SAE International is a fully nonprofit organization and SAE Foundation serves as the mission-centric side of that organization.  Through the encouragement and active support for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) skill development in young people across the globe, SAE Foundation’s mission is to build a STEM-fluent-workforce better equipped to face the challenges of not just today, but tomorrow as well.  The funds raised through SAE Foundation’s efforts directly support SAE International’s A World In Motion (AWIM) and Collegiate Design Series (CDS) development programs.  These programs, in conjunction with student awards and scholarships, help young people prepare for careers centered around the 21stcentury skills necessary to build lasting careers and progress in our world. 

Challenges

No Single Source of Truth Connecting the SAE Foundation to SAE International 

The SAE Foundation was utilizing Raiser’s Edge to manage their fundraising and donors, while all other SAE International business units had been utilizing the Salesforce platform.  The organizations were looking to unite the efforts under one, unified system through a migrating SAE Foundation over to the Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud.  By migrating the SAE Foundation onto the same system SAE International had been using for years, the hope was that both organizations would be able to see the same 360-degree view of constituents, donors, and friends.  The Salesforce solutions would enable better multi-touch tracking of donors while providing opportunities for more creative moves-management and donor stewardship, allowing for the two organizations to remove redundanciesimprove inter-organization communication, and bolster their collective fundraising and donor engagement. 

Limited Reporting Capabilities  

Working from two separate systems also created reporting capability issues.  With Blackbaud’s Raiser’s Edge, the system the SAE Foundation used before its implementation, the user must understand SQL queries in order to pull a report.  Additionally, the data integrity present within the Raiser’s Edge system left much to be desired.  Fields and variables that are inherently separated and distinct within Salesforce systems were found to be combined into one, singular field in Raiser’s Edge.  Unique variables, such as accounts and contacts or gifts and payments, needed thoughtful separation to bolster the SAE Foundation’s pursuit of heightened data integrity. 

Solutions

“At Dreamforce 2019, I was able to connect with the Cloud for Good team.  It was clear that they had a track record of successful Salesforce implementations and understood the nuances of the nonprofit sector,” said Scott Filip, Sales & Marketing Operations Manager, SAE Foundation.  

Leveraging the Nonprofit Cloud 

SAE Foundation’s switch from Raiser’s Edge to Salesforce had been a topic of discussion for some time.  SAE International had been successfully utilizing the Salesforce platform for several years, a member of the SAE board even served as a lawyer for Salesforce (and had openly pondered why the SAE Foundation had yet to make the change).  After senior leadership changes at SAE International paved the way for the discussion to be brought up againScott reached out to Cloud for Good personally to set the project in motion. 

Migrating their Data 

Working closely with his Cloud for Good teamScott and the SAE Foundation project group jumped right into a full data migration from Raiser’s Edge over to the Nonprofit Cloud.  In a carefully considered move, SAE chose to not simply dump all their data into Nonprofit Cloud and sort everything out once the migration was complete.  Instead, SAE Foundation took a critical eye to their data and processes, embracing the added flexibility of Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud, treating the move to Salesforce as a fresh, streamlined start that would add efficiency and effectiveness to their data systems.  

The selective nature of this data migration added complexity to the project overall but represented a smart, critical approach to ensuring data reliability.  Additionally, SAE Foundation requested that only the contact information associated with those that donated to the organization in the recent past or of a certain cumulative giving amount be brought over onto the Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud.  This added complexity within the migration process to ensure that the right records and their associated contacts successfully migrated from system to system. 

Once the decisions on what data would be migrated were set in place, the Cloud for Good team began the data migration process in full force.  “One of the highlights of the Nonprofit Cloud migration was the radically successful use of Cloud for Good’s ETL (extract, transfer, load) migration accelerator.  With various data resources contributing to the migration, the ETL accelerator greatly sped up the migration process as soon as it was utilized.  Over 6,000 records, comprised of both accounts and contacts, were successfully moved over, with consolidation and system integration considered throughout the entire migration process,” said Filip.  

Greater Tracking Through Transparency 

Transparency was key during the span of SAE’s migration project, both on the part of their internal systems and the communication inherent to working with the Cloud for Good team.  Speaking to this point, Scott relays, “Communication was a huge key to the success of the project.  My Cloud for Good team, in particular, was so organized and open about any issues that popped up and always stayed on top of things.  It was an easy project to handle with the way they kept things on track.”  In terms of the ultimate goal of SAE Foundation’s migration to the Nonprofit Starter Success Pack, creating a 360-degree view of the SAE Foundation’s constituents was a foundational priority of the project.  Achieving a single source of truth for fundraising and donor management through the Salesforce platform set off a chain reaction of organizational improvements to both systems and data, enhancing pledge and grant management, along with the advanced ability to report on all income streams within the organization. 

Results

Stronger Data Governance 

When Scott first joined SAE, standardization practices were not yet fully put into place across the organization’s overarching data structure.  Shortly thereafter, all Salesforce utilization within SAE International was revamped, opening the door for SAE Foundation to follow suit and better evaluate their data governance practices through Salesforce.  Scott, and the organization at large, took a mindful approach to their data and the consolidation of systems.  By making sure only active donors and their households were brought over through the migration, a new level of data clarity simply inaccessible through their previous processes was achieved.  

360-Degree View of the Organization  

While the migration of the SAE Foundation’s data featured a heavy dose of clean-up and reorganization, this process laid the groundwork for future success and achieved a clarity of data not possible for the organization prior to Cloud for Good’s Salesforce implementation.  Now, all SAE systems feature heightened visibility into contact databases and are becoming more and more integrated over time.  Communication became, and remained, a major priority for SAE Foundation throughout Cloud for Good’s Salesforce implementation, and that communication was reflected in the services provided through that implementation: clear, concise communication between internal systems paving the way for a more efficiently tracked, managed, and operated business model.   

Strengthened Reporting Capabilities 

With a single source of truth comes the ability to report on the strength of their campaigns and programs but also the ability to start making decisions based on their data.  The SAE Foundation can now begin to understand how program participation may affect household giving or how many organizational-wide touchpoints are needed before a typical donation.  This ability to ask the ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions will better help the SAE Foundation communicate the impact of their work as it directly affects the SAE International’s programs.  

Continued Collaboration Through Managed Services 

As a direct result of the excellent communication and collaboration between the SAE International and Cloud for Good teams, SAE decided to pursue additional assistance with Cloud for Good’s Managed Services.  As part of this extended partnership, Cloud for Good now provides ongoing reactive support resolution, UI updates, automation support, and a bevy of additional services to help manage SAE International’s new Salesforce implementation.  SAE International went so far as to terminate its Managed Services contract held with a previous vendor after experiencing Cloud for Good’s methodology, approach, and communication.  Scott Filip elaborates, “We simply viewed Cloud for Good as a better match to our vision.  We had a great experience with our previous Managed Services company, but the communication, the organization, and the tracking Cloud for Good has is just far better and makes our lives a lot easier.” 

A Brighter Future for STEM Students 

Internal communication and collaboration have improved greatly as a result of the cohesion provided by the move to Salesforceallowing the SAE Foundatioto drive more donations, generate more sales, and increase their overall awareness.  “Cloud for Good was the best partner I have ever worked with.  They were organized and overcommunicated.  It made my job easy and the implementation stayed on track and budget,” said Scott Filip in closing.   While the data systems and processes of the SAE Foundation have become more streamlined and encompassing, the true result of these improvements is the benefit still to come for the education and progression of STEM-minded children worldwide.  Cloud for Good is proud to empower those that empower children of the world to pursue an education, make a difference in the world, and do more good together.