We always want to take on more cases and manage more projects within the constraints of our funding. When we were preparing the funding application for the NextDoor project, it became apparent that we need a good case management database to efficiently manage more cases and manage this new project. We also want a quick and easy way to monitor & evaluate our casework.
We engaged the services of Milla Gregor from the Charities Evaluation Service to help and teach us develop a monitoring & evaluation framework, and help us in the procurement process of a database. In the end, we decided on VeraSolutions and Salesforce. VeraSolutions is a social enterprise that aims to help charities manage their systems better through Salesforce. Working with them has been great. They kept to the budget and understood our requirements. Salesforce had the flexibility we wanted – the database built support our approach of managing casework with the help of volunteers. In the near future, we aim to use Salesforce to manage our private rented sector access scheme, donors and funders, etc. It also allows us to integrate with other ‘charity friendly’ software such as MailChimp and Formstack which offers discounts for non-profits.
Implementing a database system with a fairly small budget has been a challenge. We don’t have funds to hire a techy person to manage the system, and so in my role as an Office Manager, I have taken on this responsibility. Thankfully, I get support from VeraSolutions, and Salesforce has a great knowledgebase (some of it can be technical but most of it are instructional), and there are lots of videos and how-to guides on the internet, and there’s a non-profit London user group. I have to admit that you don’t need to know programming to customise Salesforce and it has been fairly easy to follow the guides and/or videos.
I look forward to share how it has improved the way we work in the next post!