By Jenn Tate
Happy Veterans Day!
Veterans Day was originally created as a day to reflect upon the heroism of those who died in service of our country. Today, it is a time to celebrate and honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country and willingness to serve and sacrifice for common good. While we spend November 11th thanking and celebrating those who have served, one of our clients, Blue Star Families, spends every day helping those individuals serving in the military, veterans and their families.
Veterans Day Plans
In honor of Veterans Day, Blue Star Families is partnering with Starbucks. On Sunday, November 11, any active duty military, veteran or military spouse can go to a participating Starbucks for a free tall hot brewed coffee. In addition, for every cup of hot brewed coffee purchased, Starbucks will be donating 15 cents to Blue Star Families.
While you’re picking up your coffee, Blue Star Families has also activated their network of volunteers to spend time at the Starbucks stores to talk about how important the community support is for military, veterans and their families.
Using the Nonprofit Cloud to Further Their Mission
Every year, Blue Star Families conducts the annual Military Family Lifestyle Survey, taking a pulse of their members to better understand how they can support them. One of the biggest challenges seen year over year is finding a way to integrate into the communities. Often these families find themselves in new locations every two years, and Blue Star Families works hard to provide the resources needed to feel connected to each new community in which they live.
Kelley Babbs, Technology Director for Blue Star Families, is proud to be a veteran and part of a military family. She works tirelessly to help promote Blue Star Families mission and has been able to see the organization’s business processes streamlined through Salesforce. “Salesforce powers every single thing we do,” Babbs noted.
With more than 150,000 members in their network, including chapters all over the world, Blue Star Families touches more than 1.5 million military family members every year. Through their research and program partnerships, Blue Star Families ensures that wherever American military families go, they can always feel connected, supported and empowered to thrive – in every community, across the nation, and around the globe.
With such a vast network and over 140 Salesforce licenses, Blue Star Families needed to make sure their Salesforce Org was as user-friendly as possible. As such, Salesforce has become their single source of truth with all their chapters, membership, volunteer, event and program information stored within their Salesforce Org.
They also take advantage of the third-party applications that integrate directly with their Salesforce Org.
- MapAnything: Blue Star Families utilizes MapAnything to visualize where all their members are located. This can be extremely helping in finding additional resources and planning future events. You can learn more about how MapAnything integrates with the Salesforce platform, you can raise more funds, improve your marketing efforts (including better management of events), and manage your assets with MapAnything in this webinar.
- FormAssembly: Another challenge for many military families is finding a job which can support them with the flexibility they need. To help tell the story to employers, Blue Star Families uses FormAssembly to survey their members and present information on how employers can support them. With a pretty external interface, all their answers are pushed into Salesforce. This information powers a dashboard that helps Blue Star Families show employers the qualified individuals in the area, and how employers can support them.
“Using Salesforce has allowed us to manage a lot of moving pieces in a way that is manageable and reportable,” said Babbs.
You may have heard a bit about Salesforce Communities as a way to engage with your constituents by providing them with a donor portal, volunteer portal, special event registration, or other function requiring a user account. In Salesforce terminology, these are known as Customer Communities and are meant for an audience external to your own organization.
Blue Star Families hosts many events – almost a thousand just this year. Because these events are often volunteer-driven, Blue Star Families needed an easy way for their volunteers to communicate and manage these events. That’s why they decided to implement Salesforce Customer Communities and expose their events so volunteers can request support and give feedback.
Making the process more streamlined, Blue Star Families also uses automation whenever possible. “Even something as simple as automating a request from a volunteer on the community side. They check a box that says we need event support, a registration link, posting the event on the website and an email blast. On the back end that checkbox triggers workflow rules and processes to notify the Blue Star Families team to put it into their project management system,” Babbs noted. “We don’t bog ourselves down with the game of telephone. It helps us streamline our thousand events a year.”
“I don’t think we could communicate as successfully as we do without Marketing Cloud,” Babbs said.
While Blue Star Families has many locations around the globe, they can’t be everywhere. “We have a massive virtual community and need to communicate with them a lot through digital channels such as social media or email,” Babbs said. “We need to pause and ask ourselves, is the content relevant, should we send it, or would this be better for a digest.” It is important that the information such as an opportunity for members at their amazing events, survey results, and other resources reach their members around the world. Using Marketing Cloud, Blue Star Families can ask themselves these questions and have the relevant reports for the data they need to back up their decisions.
“Because we’ve made such an effort to have Salesforce as a source of truth for our data, our users don’t have to log in to disparate systems throughout the day. All the data from our Development, Communities, Strategic Communications Teams – Everyone – it all moves through salesforce. Even our filing system is housed in Salesforce. It makes our business processes more streamlined,” said Babbs.
Thank You for Your Service!
“Here at Cloud for Good, we are honored to support military members, veterans and their families. With veterans and military spouses on staff, our virtual environment gives each of them the choice to stay and grow with our company regardless of where their spouse’s career takes them. Working remotely provides the ability for career progression and removes the stress of finding a new job with each relocation” said Cloud for Good’s Founder and CEO Tal Frankfurt. “Truthfully, we welcome relocation and even coined the term Cloud for Moving!”
We are forever grateful for the service and sacrifices our veterans and their families make to ensure our freedoms. To all those who have served, are serving, or the families that support them – thank you! Your service will never be forgotten.