By: Laura Croudace, Head of Impact and Technology Impact Evangelist at Cirrico
Many nonprofit organisations and their services were heavily impacted by the pandemic, but especially those with programs relying on in-person support that suddenly, and quickly, had to go virtual. One of these nonprofits is Bipolar UK, the only national charity in the U.K. dedicated to empowering individuals and families affected by bipolar. Before the pandemic, they ran over 230 regional peer support groups and a telephone support line that served as an invaluable source of information and support for many people. In the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, they saw a huge uptick in requests for support with their groups unable to meet in person, and were eager to offer them virtually.
Bipolar UK understood that the best way to scale the work they did was by housing data in one place and automating processes that took up huge amounts of staff time. Data and information also needed to be accessible from anywhere to ensure that they were set up for success and the organisation was future-proofed.
The organisation worked with our team here at Cirrico to enable their digital transformation. Conor Butcher, fundraising and data officer at Bipolar UK, shared why Salesforce has become the foundation of their new sustainable technology strategy.
“Before we had Salesforce we had an old CRM for fundraising and encrypted Excel spreadsheets for our various teams. This was a huge issue for us since we had people that were both a donor and a service user and there wasn’t a way of bringing all the data together. Our journey started when one member of our team went to a Salesforce event and realised we needed Salesforce to join everything up in one place. The idea was to save data more centrally to ensure we could report quickly when needed, especially around safeguarding people.”
Speeding Up Safeguarding Support
Safeguarding is always something we think about at Cirrico when working with nonprofits that help vulnerable people. Salesforce technology can speed up the referral time if there is a situation where someone needs additional safeguarding support. There are many ways that we can help organisations speed up the time that it currently takes.
“In the middle of a global pandemic, Salesforce.org and Cirrico have enabled us to revolutionise our approach to managing safeguarding to a really efficient, instant process,” said Butcher. “The team at Bipolar UK takes safeguarding very seriously, and we are so delighted to have Salesforce now managing all of the data for us in one central, safe, and fast place. It has also reduced the burden on staff to ensure they are constantly checking various inboxes and spreadsheets for any issues that may have been noted. As we are a mental health charity, it is hugely important that we have a system which is secure, future-proofed and easy to use for volunteers to get solutions quicker.”
More Efficiency Leads To More Impact
With the Power of Us program, Salesforce.org provides free or discounted CRM technology for registered nonprofits globally to ensure they save as much money as possible on transformative projects. This is a huge lifeline of support for many nonprofits and enables them to fast-track their journey to becoming digital first.
“Salesforce.org has saved us a huge amount of money. It’s hugely cost effective when you consider the alternatives,” explained Butcher. “Like all nonprofits, we were able to use the 10 free licenses that Salesforce.org donates to eligible organisations, which is a huge help. Plus, as Salesforce can be used to support programmes, services, and fundraising, it is one system replacing two more expensive systems which weren’t very user friendly or efficient. This has also enabled us to do a lot more impact-driven work with the extra time we have saved.“
Using technology like Salesforce.org’s Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP), Form Assembly, and Gift Aid App has been quite substantial on Butcher’s time, saving him on average two days per week in terms of how much time he had to dedicate to ensuring the data is secure and pulling reports for staff. But one of the main areas that Salesforce has massively helped with is speeding up processes for other staff members who are therefore able to be more efficient and can dedicate more time to services they provide.
Safe and fast data management is especially important for nonprofits like Bipolar UK who offer safeguarding support to vulnerable people.
Training And User Adoption
User adoption is always a big factor when planning out projects, as many organisations don’t have a team of people who are technically experienced or have used Salesforce before, so we build this into the planning of projects to ensure that they are able to run smoothly once they go live. With Bipolar UK we wanted to ensure that their team did as much of the user testing as possible to learn along the way in the many different areas where they would be using Salesforce day-to-day, like fundraising, reporting, safeguarding, and signing up in groups for programme management.
Bipolar UK encouraged their staff to be a part of the building and testing stages where possible so that they could test things out and learn, but they also went onto Trailhead, Salesforce’s free learning tool, to understand the basics and learn more about Salesforce before it went live.
“Trailhead really is an amazing free tool, and we are so grateful that Salesforce invested in this tool so that many nonprofits like us have resources available to them,” Butcher said. “It’s something that is so unique to Salesforce!”
The work Cirrico has carried out is going to enable Bipolar UK to build on the platform they have — working on other areas of their organisation, growing the number of people they’re able to help, and ultimately saving many more lives through the safeguarding process.
Nonprofits that want to accelerate change through technology have an incredible opportunity to work smarter by using NPSP to automate parts of their workload, protect people they work with through safeguarding, and raise more money as a result.
As we see a double in mental health needs across the country post-lockdown, the need for Bipolar UK’s services are undoubtedly going to increase. But with the right support from Salesforce.org’s technology, Bipolar UK is ready to add extra technology to their system to enable them to grow with the U.K.’s need for mental health support for those that are affected by bipolar.
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About the Author
Head of Impact and Technology Impact Evangelist at Cirrico
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