Case Study

The Community House

Integrating Salesforce with Click & Pledge to Manage Multiple Revenue Streams and Cut Costs

Executive Summary

The Community House, a small nonprofit with limited staff time, struggled to manage multiple revenue streams, event management, and reporting responsibilities. The integration of Salesforce with Click & Pledge provided a streamlined process for accepting payments and donations, registering community members for events, and maintaining their database. Program payments, rental fees, fundraising event costs, and donations are now managed and sorted through one system. Event management and payment are now conducted in one process, saving Community House staff time and effort. The streamlined process saves Community House 8-16 staff hours per week, reducing staff costs for the year by 20-30%.

Background

12244477_10153629565956597_7514676648793510131_oThe Community House is a nonprofit community center with a focus towards the arts, leisure activities, and community-building events. Though their facility is closest to the communities of Hamilton and Wenham, The Community House serves people of all ages and races within all the cities and towns that make up Boston’s North Shore. Their beautiful, 95-year-old building—commissioned from famous architect Guy Lowell and registered on the National Register of Historic Places—is host to a wide variety of activities on a daily basis and attracts over 1,000 visitors weekly.

“We organize a good share of the activity that takes place here locally and are home to a variety of small groups and organizations that rent the space here too,” explains Executive Director Melissa Elmer. In addition to the 60+ programs and events directly coordinated or sponsored by The Community House, they also play host to organizations such as the YMCA, Rotary Club, a variety of local clubs, private classes, and dance organizations.

“We focus on arts-related programs and those that build community,” Elmer explains. “Our slogan by which we base our operations and programs upon is, ‘We’re Better Together.’ This sums up our activity beautifully.”

Presenting Data Needs

Managing Multiple Events and Revenue Streams

With so much happening at The Community House on a daily basis, Elmer needed to find a way to successfully manage events and track multiple revenue streams, including rental payments, registration fees, event tickets, and a variety of fundraising campaigns. For a while, The Community House’s payment system and CRM remained separate, making data capture increasingly difficult. “The problem is we were not capturing so much valuable data,” Elmer says. “We were having to update our database either manually or not at all. Neither option was efficient or helpful.”

With an outdated and unsupported system in place, Elmer decided it was time for a change. She sought an affordable solution that would allow The Community House to process payments easily while also automatically capturing the valuable data necessary for maintaining their database, including who was participating in the programs and donating to campaigns, how often they were connecting, and so much more. With these criteria in mind, Elmer called on 501Partners for help and was quickly set up with Salesforce and Click & Pledge.

Making Event Management Easier

Prior to setting up Click & Pledge and Salesforce, the employees of The Community House would have to examine each transaction individually and determine which account it belonged to. This made tasks like monthly reporting and putting together the Annual Report time-consuming and cumbersome—a problem that was solved with the integration of Click & Pledge and Salesforce. “We pride ourselves on working very closely with our clients and finding them the best solutions,” says Paul Baxter, consultant with 501Partners. “And if they have more than one revenue stream, we generally recommend Click & Pledge.” With the help of 501Partners, The Community House was able to set up one system through which all of their different sources of revenue could funnel. Through just one portal, customers, donors, and renters can pay The Community House and register for events; payments are processed through Click & Pledge, while Salesforce captures all of the information necessary for CRM.

Baxter can’t emphasize enough the benefits of this streamlined system. “This happens without having to bring in any sort of custom coding or cumbersome processes,” he says. “For a small organization with very low overhead, it is a very efficient way to harness a lot of web functionality.”

Results

Cost Savings and Streamlined Event Management

For Elmer, the biggest benefit of their new system is event management. Their previous process was a bit disjointed, with payment in one location and registration in another—and a lot of it in person. “With our previous system, we had to collect payment through one payment module and everything else was recorded manually and located in a binder on someone’s desk, which could be lost or thrown away and not accessible unless you were physically in the office,” she explains. “Now all of this information is collected and organized through Click & Pledge and Salesforce, and I can access it from anywhere. As a parent, I find myself having to work from home on occasion, and I need this information handy in order to effectively do my job. I cannot emphasize how transformative this has been for our small organization.”

The Community House experienced this benefit most clearly through one of their more popular programs: Ski Bradford. With Salesforce and Click & Pledge, Community House was able to move to an online registration process for this weekly kids’ ski outing. This year they registered 174 kids for the program, which in the past would have required extensive staff time to manually enter each child’s information into their database. Now, their newly streamlined process saves time—a huge benefit for a nonprofit with a small staff.

After implementation of Click & Pledge and Salesforce, Elmer was able to cut event management staff time from 48 to 32 hours per week.

At The Community House, Elmer is the only full-time employee, while others fill in part-time to complete the tasks necessary to keep their programs humming along. Prior to the implementation of Click & Pledge and Salesforce, Elmer needed 40-48 staff hours per week to manage event registrations and payments. After the implementation, she was able to cut that time down to 32 hours per week, saving The Community House thousands of dollars in staff costs for the year.

Of course, staff costs weren’t the only savings. Elmer and Baxter agree that one of the most important perks of using Click & Pledge to integrate with Salesforce—besides the efficiency—is the greater “bang for your buck” achieved with Click & Pledge. Click & Pledge customers only pay transaction fees, which are reasonably priced. This was important for Elmer. “We wanted to maintain the level of affordability we were accustomed to,” she explains. “The advantage with Click & Pledge is that it is competitively priced in terms of processing fees, but the services offered are much more robust.”

Tana M. Schiewer authored this case study on behalf of Click & Pledge, reprinted with permission. Check out our blog post on Mastering Click & Pledge Memberships with Salesforce for a detailed integration explanation.

“With our previous system, we had to collect payment through one payment module and everything else was recorded manually and located in a binder on someone’s desk, which could be lost or thrown away and not accessible unless you were physically in the office. Now all of this information is collected and organized through Click & Pledge and Salesforce, and I can access it from anywhere”

—Melissa Elmer, Executive Director

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