“Spreadsheets are fun for me”, Kyle Blaney let me know as I began to interview him regarding the recent move to Salesforce for his employer, Shad Canada. And given my experience with nonprofits, this is not the usual beginning to a conversation surrounding a move to a fully integrated CRM like Salesforce; in fact, most new clients are telling me about how quickly they want Excel files to be a thing of the past. They are frustrated trying to make reports from disparate data that their nonprofit has and want Excel spreadsheets to never be discussed again.
But Kyle, and Shad Canada, are not quite the 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.
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 Blaney, as Shad’s Data Analyst, knew that whatever he suggested to his team needed to have a few critical components:
- Unlike past CRM’s it needed to be useable from a Mac and from staff’s phones
- It needed to be easy to use for a team that was challenged by the current reporting system
- Staff permissions and donation histories needed to be easily configurable
Skepticism of another move, to a new CRM, was high and staff needed someone internally who could take that first step and begin to configure the system to Shad’s unique needs of tracking schools, school boards, community partners, government and donations.
As a Shad alum himself and a long-time employee, Kyle was uniquely suited to lead this initiative.
When asked about why he initially was attracted to a partnership with the cloudStack team Kyle’s answer was that “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.”
But after the first conversation with Steve and Shaun from cloudStack was so easy and conversational, Kyle knew he had found the right implementation partners to support his move to Salesforce.
Using cloudStack’s Virtual Administrator Services Shad Canada began the important process of translating every record and every field into what was needed in the new system. And the cloudStack team was right there beside them meeting 6 times a month to discuss how best to organize the data, how to make the most of a Salesforce feature and more. This was the exact kind of work the Virtual Administrator program had been 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 was not always sure which direction to head in, but he knew he had the backing of cloudStack’s expertise to keep him on the right track.
“Helpful” was the one word that Kyle decided best exemplified his time working with the cloudStack team.
“If you are considering a Salesforce implementation and data migration on your own you will need strong Excel skills, hundreds of spreadsheets, different data organizations techniques and knowledge on how you want to store your data,” Kyle told me. “And if you don’t have all of that in 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 am really proud of what that has allowed us to put together in a short period of time.”