How would Naomi Kramer, program manager for JIAS Toronto, describe the organization’s relationship with cloudStack and Salesforce?
“Responsive,” said Kramer.
Her answer is hardly surprising, given JIAS Toronto’s history with data management.
Before it made the switch to the Salesforce platform and cloudStack’s fundraisingManager CRM, JIAS was using Microsoft Access to handle its client data. The custom software performed well when it was first installed, but the platform was no longer supported, leaving JIAS without the ability to adapt in an increasingly digital environment.
This led to more complications in the organization’s other day-to-day operations. JIAS had to run multiple systems to access basic information, and had to outsource online collections to Canada Helps. The process was both labour intensive and inefficient, since data would often get lost in the shuffle.
“When people clicked ‘Donate Now’, it would take them away from our website,” said Kramer. “When we processed donors by phone, we would use Excel spreadsheets to keep track of their information.”
This problem motivated the organization to search for a new data management solution.
JIAS reached out to one of its primary donors, UJA Federation of Toronto, for a recommendation. UJA was already in the process of transitioning to Salesforce, and Salesforce in turn directed JIAS to cloudStack, who made an excellent first impression.
cloudStack co-founders, Ken Klinger and Steve Weber, explained the benefits of their product fundraisingManager and it was immediately transformative for JIAS.
“When they did that first presentation, we were like, ‘Oh! That’s what it’s supposed to be like when you fundraise,” said Kramer. “That’s the data you’re supposed to capture before you send a tax receipt. That’s the information you want to be able to input in order to follow up with donors.”
“Every new member of their team has that attitude. Quick about responding, willing to ask questions, willing to figure out how to help us the best possible way.”
JIAS also appreciated cloudStack’s ability to connect with clients. Steve and Ken took the time to get to know JIAS as an organization.
“They were so warm and willing to learn,” said Kramer. “They asked so many questions about us as an agency and what we did, and who we served in order to understand all of our processes.”
In that regard, cloudStack displays the same methodical approach with its business that JIAS takes with its own operations.
“We think in process,” said Kramer. “They also think like that. They ask questions in steps, and that fits with how we’re trying to look at all of our systems.”
In the meantime, cloudStack continues to pay dividends for JIAS, giving the organization the flexibility that it lacked back when it was still relying on Microsoft Access.
Most notably, the switch to the cloud allowed JIAS to transition to a remote work environment without missing a beat during the pandemic. JIAS would have been left scrambling with its old legacy solution.
“It would have been impossible to work remotely. We were using a database that was on our computers, so there would have been no way for everyone to have the same access,” said Kramer.
After its digital transformation with Salesforce and cloudStack, Kramer notes that every worker in its agency and everyone who work with its data can now do it from home.
That has allowed JIAS to perform as well as it did before the pandemic. The organization has a better sense of the data in its system, is more responsive, and can provide better insights when the board requests it.
“How many clients did we serve in this period? What status did they have in different categories? Now that we’re managing our data in a more formal way, it’s so much easier to grasp,” said Kramer.
Through cloudStack Services, JIAS has a functional solution that meets people’s digital expectations in 2020. Their team can now spend more time focusing on its core mission, knowing that it has the technology it needs to handle any future logistical challenges.