“Spreadsheets are fun for me,” said Kyle Blaney, Salesforce administrator and data analyst at Shad Canada.
Given my experience with nonprofits, this isn’t the beginning of a typical conversation regarding a move to a fully-integrated CRM like Salesforce. In fact, most of our new clients tell me how quickly they wanted Excel files to be a thing of the past. They were frustrated making reports from disparate data and wanted Excel spreadheads to never be discussed again.
But Kyle and Shad Canada are not typical clients that cloudStack Services tends to support either.
Shad Canada is a month-long STEAM and entrepreneurship program for high school students across Canada. Students participate in hands-on learning, collaborate in design teams, explore post-secondary institutions, engage with academic and entrepreneurial mentors, experience vulnerability training and meet some of the most passionate peers in the country. The program has been running for 40 years and has close to 20,000 alumni.
Founded in 1981, Shad Canada came to us at cloudStack with 40 years of data that had existed on multiple CRM systems. The scale of this move to Salesforce was impressive. Even more so was Kyle spearheading the move to Salesforce and needing access to the cloudStack team’s expertise and support versus a full-scale data migration.
Shad Canada was founded in 1981 and as a client they came to cloudStack with 40 years worth of data that had existed on multiple CRM systems over time. Both the history and scale of this move to Salesforce was impressive and even more so was that Kyle had spearheaded the move to Salesforce and largely needed access to the cloudStack team’s expertise and support vs a full-scale data migration.
When investigating what new CRM to use, Kyle knew that whatever he suggested to his team had to have a few critical components:
- Unlike past CRM’s they used, it had to be Mac compatible and useable on staff’s phones;
- It had to be easy-to-use for a team that was challenged by their current reporting system
- Staff permissions and donation histories had to be easily configurable
Felling skeptical of a move to another CRM was evident and staff needed someone internally who could take the first step and configure the system to Shad’s unique needs of tracking schools, school boards, community partners, government and donations.
A Shad alum and a long-time employee, Kyle was uniquely suited to lead this initiative.
Why was Kyle initially attracted to a partnership with cloudStack?
“The most important and critical consideration for a Salesforce partner was that they knew how to deal with CRA-compliant receipting for a data migration,” Kyle said.
He said, after the first conversation with Steve and Shaun from cloudStack was so easy and conversational, he knew he found the right implementation partners to support Shad Canada’s move to Salesforce.
Using cloudStack’s Virtual Administrator Services, Shad Canada began the important process of translating every record and field into the new system. The cloudStack team meet with their team six times a month to discuss how best to organize the data, how to make the most of a Salesforce feature, and much more.
This was the kind of work the Virtual Administrator program was built for—a flexible commitment period with a certified Salesforce to support and train nonprofit staff to become self-sufficient on a complicated platform.
Initially, as Kyle learned the ins and outs of Salesforce, he said he wasn’t always sure which direction to head in. But he knew he had cloudStack’s expertise, which he found very “helpful” to keep him on track.
“If you’re considering a Salesforce implementation and data migration on your own, you’ll need strong Excel skills, hundreds of spreadsheets, different data organizations techniques and knowledge on how you want to store your data,” Kyle said.
“If you don’t have all of that on hand and a deep love for spreadsheets, I would strongly recommend having an implementation partner like cloudStack there to support you. Even though Shad Canada was forced into this experiment of digital transformation by the pandemic, it has allowed us to innovate and prioritize this move to Salesforce. And I’m really proud of what that has allowed us to put together in a short period of time.”