Case Studies, Dreamforce, and the Portland Sprint
Since the Outbound Funds team announced the launch of their open source, Salesforce-based package in August 2018, there have been some exciting developments for the project team and the community at large. In this update, we’ll cover:
- Case Studies– how nonprofits are implementing and using the package
- Dreamforce– a recap of the Outbound Funds team’s presentation
- The Portland Sprint– what the team accomplished and what’s on the horizon
We’re thrilled to share that nonprofits and partners have begun using the package! We connected with two consulting partners and a nonprofit to learn about their experiences. Below, we share short versions of their stories. The Outbound Funds team is working to gather and share case studies as part of their documentation push (see the end of this message for more information), and we look forward to sharing more findings soon!
Pineville Neighbors Place
Cheri Lovell at The Strategic Org implemented the package for Pineville Neighbors Place, a human services organization. The org helps clients apply for emergency grants from local direct service organizations, and needed a Salesforce-based solution to manage the process.
Pineville Neighbors Place is using the Core Package. For their needs, Funding Requests and Programs accomplish most of what they need to do. Says Cheri, “It’s perfect, it works beautifully, even though we’re just using a piece of it.”
Cheri says the package saved her time spent building a custom object that might not have taken full advantage of native Salesforce functionality, and would likely be more complicated to build and maintain. She says, “To have somebody who’s thought this through, making it so much easier for people like me to help these small orgs, I’m just delighted!” She’s also thinking about ways her other clients can make use of the app: “A lot of my clients have not used NPSP because they really function more as B2B orgs… The Outbound Funds package awakened me to what we can do.”
“To have somebody who’s thought this through, making it so much easier for people like me to help these small orgs, I’m just delighted!”
– Cheri Lovell, The Strategic Org
BBM Youth Support
Independent consultant Ian Munro implemented the package for BBM Youth Support, a youth development nonprofit. The backbone of their programming is an annual award program, and Ian was looking for a grants management solution to help staff steward students through the award program.
BBM Youth Support is using the Core Package and the NPSP Extension Package and heavily relying on funding requests, disbursements, and requirements to manage their workflows. In the next phase of their implementation, they’ll explore ways to integrate the package with an external website so they can manage students through the full program lifecycle.
When Ian found Outbound Funds, he’d done thorough research on alternative options, to no avail: “I came to the conclusion that all the commercial applications out there were inappropriate for an organization the size of BBM– they were just too expensive, and came with features that weren’t relevant.”
Just as he finished scoping requirements and a data model for a custom solution, the Outbound Funds package was released. “I took a look and said, ‘I don’t need to do any of that.’ As soon as I saw it, I had no problem fitting the [package and the BBM award program] together.” Like Cheri, he’s thinking about ways to leverage the package for other clients. “There are quite a lot of orgs that would find this useful… You can fit it to a wide variety of different needs,” he shared.
“I came to the conclusion that all the commercial applications out there were inappropriate for an organization the size of BBM– they were just too expensive, and came with features that weren’t relevant.”
– Ian Munro, independent consultant, on what led him to the Outbound Funds package.
International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council
Kai Williams is the Executive Director and accidental Admin for the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council (IWRC). She was looking for a solution to collect, distribute, and track donated IWRC class registrations.
IWRC is using the NPSP Extension Package (which connects the Outbound Funds Core package to the NPSP General Accounting Unit object), as they need to track fund allocations, the spend-down of those funds, and fund recipients. Next, they’re going to use the package to administer a memorial fund for a former board member. A current board member asked if the team had time to manage the fund. “Without Outbound Funds, I’d have had to say no,” says Kai.
Before Outbound Funds, the IWRC team was constantly cross-checking spreadsheets with their accounting system to gather insights for donors, board, and staff. Kai says the biggest win they’ve realized with Outbound Funds is “easy access to insights on funding and how it’s flowing.” And, she’s reclaimed her time. “People don’t have to ask me anymore. They can go into the system and find exactly what they need,” she says. Her staff are feeling empowered. No longer bogged down double checking complicated systems, they’re coming to Kai with ideas for increasing impact and improving processes.
“People don’t have to ask me anymore. They can go into the system and find exactly what they need.”
– Kai Williams, Executive Director with the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council
Outbound Funds at Dreamforce
The Outbound Funds team was selected to lead a session on this open-source project at this year’s Dreamforce Conference– a huge honor. Team members Bill Corkill (Council of Michigan Foundations), Judi Sohn (Salesforce.org), Sarah Amin (North Peak Solutions), and Shari Reily (Redpath Consulting Group) designed and delivered a session titled “Power of Community: The Crowdsourced Creation of an Outbound Funds App” (recording found here). Their goal was to share the story of the project– how and why Outbound Funds came to be– and inspire the audience to take action on their own ideas by starting a Hub group, participating in a Sprint, or reaching out to a local user group. As Sarah Amin puts it, “There are so many ways to find your people now.” She says “being part of an Open Source Community Project is collaborative, fun, and worth the time invested.”
If audience engagement is any indication, the session was a success. A number of folks approached team members to talk about Outbound Funds and about starting their own community projects.
And, Outbound Funds made a cameo in another Dreamforce session. The project was the first community project to leverage some of Salesforce.org’s tooling for product design, development, and testing: Cumulus CI, a framework for building portable automation for Salesforce projects on Github. At a Cumulus CI demonstration at Dreamforce, the presenters added a Quick Action to the Outbound Funds app, pushed the update to Github, and merged it with the Master code to create a new version of the package, live! They also demonstrated how to generate an org to test this new feature, including pushing data to that org.
The Portland Sprint
In keeping with the community-centered model of the Outbound Funds project, the team used the recent Salesforce.org sprint to engage new perspectives and move some critical initiatives forward. A high point was connecting with organizations who have implemented the package–Shari Reily says, “It reinvigorated me to know that people are using it and it’s making an impact. That’s incredibly exciting for me.” More highlights below!
- The team tested a Create Disbursements feature and designed a mass create GAU Expenditures feature, both of which will be available from the Funding Request record and released in a future version of the package.
- They’re continuing efforts to create templates and instructions for connecting external forms and applications to the package.
- They’re also continuing to explore options to link the GAU to Funding Programs. The team is looking for additional use cases for this linkage and would greatly appreciate input from the community! If you have ideas to share, please reach out to the team via the Power of Us Hub group.
New Team Members
The team was excited to welcome new folks to the project. Junette Tan (Traction on Demand) is one of the new recruits, who attended a sprint for the first time and dove right in with the Outbound Funds team. She was drawn in by the technical questions, saying, “I was immediately intrigued by the [team’s] data model discussion.” As the conversation continued, Junette grew more and more excited about the group dynamic. She says, “It was incredible to see partners and users who are equally passionate, excited, willing to contribute their time, expertise, and knowledge to the platform to make it better. No one brought an ego… It was great.” Looking to the future, she’s eager to see the ways both nonprofits and for-profits use the package to create “far-reaching impact.”
“It was incredible to see partners and users who are equally passionate, excited, willing to contribute their time, expertise, and knowledge to the platform to make it better.”
– Junette Tan, Business Solutions Consultant with Traction on Demand and new member of the Outbound Funds team
Thank you for reading! We look forward to keeping you up to date on this initiative.
Ways to Get Involved
Implement the application! The Outbound Funds team is looking for feedback from partners and nonprofits using the package. As Shari Reily says, “The more people who use it, the better the tool will be.” If you’d like to speak with the team about your experience with the package, reach out to them via the Power of Us Hub group.
The team is planning to revise and create new resources for partners and nonprofits implementing the package. The team will work with the NPSP Videography team to create videos. They are still assembling a team to work on written documentation for the package. If you’re interested in contributing to written documentation, reach out to the team via the Power of Us Hub group.