Case Studies, Foundations’ Feedback, and the Long Beach Sprint

The Outbound Funds project continues to gain traction among organizations seeking solutions for managing grants, scholarships, internal funding requests, and many more types of outbound funds in Salesforce. We talked with nonprofits and Salesforce partners about wins they anticipate for Outbound Funds users, like new insights into applicant pools, more transparent funding processes, and saved staff time. We also connected with the Outbound Funds project team to understand where the package is headed. Continue reading to explore:

  • Case Studies– how nonprofits are implementing and using the app
  • Foundations’ feedback– what the team learned from a demo with the Foundations User Group
  • The Long Beach Sprint– what the team accomplished and what’s on the horizon

Case Studies

Below, we share stories from nonprofits using the application for fellowship program and grant management. To share your experience implementing the package and to offer feedback directly to the Outbound Funds group, submit via this form.

The Henry Luce Foundation

Sarah Amin, Director of Professional Services at North Peak and member of the Outbound Funds team, implemented the package for The Henry Luce Foundation. The Luce Scholars Program, a fellowship program that aims to enhance the understanding of Asia among potential leaders in America, had an entirely paper-based application process. Not only did this process require substantial administration to manage relationships with its 75 active nominating institutions, applications from more than 200 individuals, and selection committees, it also made gathering meaningful insights on their applicant pool all but impossible.

This year, Luce is streamlining their efforts with the Outbound Funds’ Core Package. Paired with a Salesforce-FluidReview integration, they are able to manage the full life cycle of every candidate’s experience, from application through acceptance and participation in the program. Highlights:

  • With FluidReview, they’re able to see data for any application started, in progress, and submitted. This enables Luce to reach out early to candidates and nominating institutions regarding incomplete applications, building open lines of communication early in the process and increasing the chances that applications are submitted on time.
  • The Luce team is using a dashboard to slice and dice data on the demographic and educational profiles of applicants, supporting their goal to build diverse scholar cohorts. For example, these insights are informing how they assign applications to their various selection committees, ensuring each committee reviews a diverse group of individuals.
  • To gain efficiencies in managing the Scholar program itself, Luce is using the Disbursements functionality and custom automation to calculate and approve scholars’ monthly stipends en masse. This process used to be completed for each scholar, one at a time, every month.

Learning to Give

Bill Corkill, SVP for Information Technology and Membership Systems at the Council of Michigan Foundations and Outbound Funds team member, supported Learning to Give in implementing the package for their teacher grant program. Learning to Give provides teachers with resources that empower students to be giving and caring citizens. They offer mini-grants to teachers on a monthly basis to support service learning projects.

Prior to implementing Outbound Funds, the team managed 36 grant applications annually, using spreadsheets and a lot of emails. They were spending valuable time administering the program yet struggling to effectively share and analyze information about it. Using the Core Package to manage the entire application cycle, they’re able to easily determine the focus of applications, their current stage in the process, track deliverables, and manage follow-ups. Says Betsy Peterson, “Outbound Funds allows my staff to quickly find the status of our grants from proposal to award to report. We appreciate the access we all have to information, so the members of our staff (and one consultant) can share the responsibilities of awarding grants.”

As 2-person organization, Learning to Give offers some valuable lessons for small teams who want to focus on the outcomes of their implementation, rather than getting caught up in the solution design. For Learning to Give, this meant deciding not to use all of the functionality of the package and instead concentrating on features that would yield the highest returns.

william_corkill

“Because Outbound Funds was designed to support a lot of complex programs with many more transactions, it was tempting to over design our process when instead we realized we could just reduce the fields and structure and keep our staff moving. It’s definitely important to let staff talk about what the process is, what they’d like it to be, and design the solution to meet their needs instead of making them change their process to [match what] we want it to be.”
-Bill Corkill, SVP for Information Technology and Membership Systems for the Council of Michigan Foundations

Outbound Funds at the Foundations User Group Meeting

In February, the Outbound Funds group joined the Salesforce Foundations User Group meeting in San Francisco to share a demo of the package and the story behind it. The group became aware of the package via Jessica Hickok, user group member and Grants Manager at the Pisces Foundation. When Jessica initially connected the groups, she was surprised they hadn’t heard of each other, given how often she and colleagues are called on to consult with fellow grantmakers about customization options for Salesforce.

Jessica Hickok
Jessica Hickok

She connected with the user group’s co-leaders, Dana Wellhausen, Senior Director of Strategic Operations for the Rogers Family Foundation, and Heather Graham, Director of Grants Administration for the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund. They were excited to learn more. Dana’s first thoughts echoed Jessica’s: “I spend a lot of time talking about Salesforce solutions [with colleagues], and had been wondering whether there were solutions for grantmakers that struck a middle ground,” between a custom-built and an all-in-one solution. So, Shari Carlson Reily, Senior Consultant with North Peak and member of the Outbound Funds team, joined the next user group meeting.

The room included a diverse group of grantmakers from around the country. They were particularly interested in the package’s adaptability for both grantors and grantees, validating use cases the Outbound Funds project team had in mind. Jessica shared that the package seems well-suited for “small, scrappy organizations,” community foundations, and grantmaking public charities, who need functionality beyond what Salesforce offers out of the box, but don’t have the resources or need for a robust, all-in-one solution. She says, “the framework to do it yourself is really powerful.”

The group discussed the benefit of grantmakers and grantees using the same technology. Jessica shared that she anticipates future opportunities for bi-directional communication between these groups that leverages the package.

dana-wellhausen-headshot

“I really appreciated thinking about how this can be used by community foundation partners and nonprofits who are giving funds out… We want everyone to be effective, working at their highest capacity, and avoiding duplicate work.”
-Dana Wellhausen, Senior Director of Strategic Operations for the Rogers Family Foundation

The project’s open source approach and community responsiveness also resonated strongly among the group. It sparked a discussion about their own efforts to engage grantees in decisions on process and practice that impact them– “if we’re creating something we want grantees to use and engage in, we need to bring them along in the process,” says Dana. She plans to explore opportunities to incorporate an open source approach into future projects, saying “this is an example of how we can make people feel heard and taken care of.”

The Outbound Funds team will keep the user group updated on the project and continue to engage them for feedback. Folks interested in learning more about the group can find their Chatter Group Page here and their Trailblazer Community Events Page here.

The Long Beach Sprint

The team headed to the Salesforce.org Open Source Community Sprint inLong Beach, CA to collaborate live on the Outbound Funds project. Their main priorities included gathering use cases, creating videography scripts for the app, and making changes to the Funding Program and Funding Request relationship to increase the flexibility of these objects for more use cases.

Wins from Long Beach:

  • The team created an action plan for transitioning these Master-Detail relationships to lookup relationships: Funding Program and Funding Request, and Disbursement and Funding Request.
    These changes will make the package more flexible for orgs using communities to manage funding applications. Additionally, orgs that do not manage multiple funding programs or ones that already use GAUs will be able to ignore the Funding Program object if appropriate.
  • They created 3 videography scripts for users seeking to implement the app. Completed videos are anticipated in August 2019.
  • The group connected with SFDO to discuss how Outbound Funds fits into the roadmap for Payment Allocations/sub-ledger. More updates to come, as SFDO releases this functionality.

On the Horizon

  • The team is moving full steam ahead on the Funding Program and Funding Request transition. Look out for a new package release by late spring.
  • The team is still gathering use cases from higher education orgs so they can decide how best to build a HEDA extension. See “Ways to Get Involved” if you have information to share!
  • Outbound Funds is going to work with Jason Lantz, creator of Cumulus CI, to determine how this tooling can be leveraged to test and deploy future package updates.

Ways to Get Involved

1.

Implement the application! Then, share your story! The Outbound Funds team takes your use cases and feedback into consideration as they continue to optimize the package. Find the package and related documentation in the Power of Us Hub, and submit your feedback here.

2.

The team is particularly interested in gathering use cases from Higher Education organizations so they can decide how to extend the package to serve this group. Share your use cases in the Power of Us Hub group.

3.

If you’d like to receive email updates about this community-driven effort, sign up here.

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