St. Louis consistently ranks in the top three charitable cities in the U.S., according to charity evaluator Charity Navigator. However, with a decrease in corporate headquarters, it was important for the United Way of Greater St. Louis to find new ways maximize opportunities with its donor base to continue its tradition of improving communities and lives.
An idea hit Orvin Kimbrough, President and CEO of United Way of Greater St. Louis – the fifth largest United Way chapter in the world. What if the organization could help manage top donors’ overall philanthropy efforts, creating a simple turnkey approach to giving, regardless of whether or not the donor is giving to a United Way agency? The United Way already vets non-profit agencies and channels money to selected organizations.
“We have the operational expertise to act as a clearinghouse,” explains David Poe, Chief Technology Officer.
A strategy was born – and built into the organization’s five-year strategic plan. The next step? Finding a partner with both the technical and user interface experience to bring the strategy to life.
A major goal of the effort was to automate tasks that were previously done manually. Xceede Solutions leveraged the robust power of Salesforce® as the core platform for the new technology, called the Donor Service System. While the solution tapped into Salesforce capabilities end to end, a core element is Conga Composer, which was implemented for document generation and reporting.
“When we started, we didn’t know exactly how the system would look or function, but we knew what our pain points were. Xceede helped develop process mapping and mockups of the business workflow,” Poe says.
He adds that Xceede helped United Way realize the full capabilities of the Salesforce platform, and made recommendations on various ways to tackle the pain points by explaining differences in cost, time, and product flexibility.
“They operationalized the vision,” he adds.
Poe says it is important for the United Way to stay current on technology, especially with younger donors.
“Younger donors want a voice and a choice in how they give back. There is an expectation of being able to interact with us in a certain way – primarily digitally – so we are evolving with them. We have to meet donors on the platforms they are on,” he says.
One particularly popular feature of the Donor Service System is the donor portal, which allows donors instant, real-time access to their donor history, status, and organizational breakouts in simple pie charts. It also allows for on-demand reporting, making things like a single tax letter – rather than letters from multiple charities – simple and quick.
”Since implementing the Donor Service System, contributions from high net worth donors has increased from $7.5 million in 2016 to $20 million in 2017.David Poe
“Adopting the new system is key, and donors have – without question – jumped on board,” Poe says. “The increases are based on many factors, but there is no question that rolling out the Donor Service System has made a huge difference for this segment of our donors.”
There are substantial time-saving benefits as well. Poe explains that many large donors run family or corporate foundations. By automating many clerical tasks, United Way has taken work off of those organizations so they can focus on other things.
United Way staff enjoys the same benefit – less time on transactions, and more time on donor interaction and strategy.
“We’ve shifted from outputs to outcomes. Clerical tasks are now done by clerical staff only, with more time for the fundraising staff to cultivate donor relationships. It is having a major impact for us.” Poe says.
At a glance
Salesforce® Applications & Features
5 Donor Management Services
Sales Cloud, Communities, Nonprofit Success Pack
United Way of Greater St Louis
The United Way of Greater St. Louis helps one in three people in the St. Louis region annually through its partnership with more than 170 nonprofit agencies. More than one million people are served by United Way each year.