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A program management system to serve more students, efficiently

Updated: Oct 26

When asked to provide his opinion on Summit One’s Program Management Implementation Program, Jim Wambach of Children Rising was eager to share his thoughts.

Children Rising is an educational nonprofit based out of Oakland, CA that is determined to support struggling elementary school students in Oakland’s lowest-income neighborhoods. As executive director of the tenacious organization, Jim Wambach addressed how Children Rising had been struggling earlier this year with three significant dilemmas:

  1. Addressing their very specific program management needs

  2. Increasing their staff member’s development turnaround time

  3. Acceptance and user interface for the nonprofit’s more non-technical users

Due to these problems, Wambach knew it was time for some sort of a change. It had been noticed by those working at Children Rising, that after spending 14 years collecting all of their organization’s data on manual spreadsheets, their overall productivity had gone down significantly. To add to the frustration, none of Children Rising’s past consultants and technical admins were able to get to the heart of why the organization’s efforts were so important. However, after connecting with Summit One’s compassionate team of Salesforce implementation partners, Wambach was relieved that they took a different, much more forward-thinking approach to their requests towards using a better CRM for their nonprofit.

Quote from Jim Wambach, Executive Director or Children Rising.

Before working with Summit One’s dedicated team, Wambach admits his organization had been hesitant to move to Salesforce’s constituent relationship management (CRM) platform. He had a feeling that it would take his team too much time to get comfortable with using something so different. However, Summit One's team eagerly put together a prototype demo to show Wambach what using Salesforce would look like for him and his team - and this is what sealed the deal for him!

By partnering with Summit One to move Children Rising’s CRM to Salesforce’s user-friendly platform, Wambach was hopeful to achieve four main objectives that would help with their organization’s dilemmas:

  1. Weekly program management system efficiency

  2. Improved accuracy with program metrics

  3. Improved efficiency in developing program metrics

  4. Enhanced reporting methods

Needless to say, Summit One was efficiently able to help Children Rising achieve the above objectives. Once these achievements were made, Wambach noticed that their organization was able to efficiently serve more of Oakland’s students at once. With this implementation, Children Rising increased their fundraising efforts with the enhanced program reporting metrics Salesforce offered them. In addition, they were able to easily access their databases that would now allow them to connect deeper with the students, families, and communities they serve. They were also able to improve their communication efforts with students, which was an extremely important goal for Child Rising.

“We could serve more kids and do it better,” Wambach fervently said, “Summit One’s focus is on assisting nonprofits, their overall consultative approach, Nick’s business sense and Salesforce knowledge, and [most importantly] Summit One’s ability to listen and understand [our] needs really helped us achieve these outcomes.”

When we asked Wambach what key results and outcomes he had seen as part of the implementation of Salesforce into their customer relationship management database, he passionately stated that Children Rising has now been able to communicate their impact on the Oakland School District's students more powerfully. He adds on by saying, “This is just the beginning, now [our organization] can do so much more with less”.

An educator from Children Rising guiding a young Oakland student through their classwork.
An educator from Children Rising guiding a young Oakland student through their classwork.

Moving on to how Summit One’s Salesforce CRM training helped improve Children Rising’s workplace specifically with its staff members, Wambach first mentioned that they had been handwriting all of their data before using Salesforce. Now that they are on the platform, he was surprised at how he could pull certain data from a select group of Oakland School District students to see where more specific support from their team was needed. With all of their student’s data on the Salesforce platform, they have been able to take certain pieces of data and see what additional support Children Rising needed from the government as well.

Now that Children Rising has had enough time to get comfortable with Salesforce’s platform for their organization, Wambach notes that they are excited to make a more significant impact on the well-being of every student in Oakland’s school district, which involves enhancing their system to do more. Their main goals as an organization are to make tutoring services more accessible and effective, ultimately making a difference in each and every student’s life. Wambach also mentions that his organization would love to “create a ripple effect with seeing results and traction on [their student’s] growth.”

“Like us,” and many other organizations, wanting to see the impact of new projects quickly, Wambach added that the Summit One team was able to merge databases easily, which allowed them to communicate requirements & plans more efficiently with Children Rising throughout the entire process. Wambach also added that due to some technical challenges, it was difficult to figure out the system differences whether being used on a Safari or Chrome browser and the Summit One team was there to guide them through these obstacles. Children Rising’s staff members enthusiastically embraced their new Salesforce platform because of its efficiency and ability to easily log, manage, and analyze all of their customer data in real time. Everyone could agree that this made their database more enjoyable to use than when they were manually inputing and evaluating. This saved them time, energy, & money in the long run.

Oakland students celebrating 20 years of Children Rising's nonprofit organization in September 2023.
Oakland students celebrating 20 years of Children Rising's nonprofit organization in September 2023.

When asked to rate 10 different metrics regarding their satisfaction with Summit One’s Salesforce administrators, Children Rising’s staff gave a 5 in every single category outlined below. The metrics are the same ones Salesforce uses to evaluate each project their consultants complete and Summit One was given an “extremely satisfied” rating in every metric.

  1. Level of partner engagement

  2. Overall value of the outcome from engagement and resources invested

  3. Overall performance of their team

  4. Engagement of their ability to meet specified objectives

  5. Keeping clients informed of the engagement status and progress

  6. Communicating all reasonable solutions effectively

  7. Appropriately managing risk factors

  8. Applying their knowledge of Salesforce products and technology to their client’s needs

  9. Producing valuable outcomes and goals efficiently

  10. Ensuring their clients are enabled to maintain preeminent solutions going forward

Children Rising was founded in 2001 to provide an opportunity for the City of Oakland’s students and their families to give back and invest in future generations. As a nonprofit organization, they focus on promoting Oakland’s overall welfare and prosperity by empowering the yoer generations to “rise above the challenges they face so that they may succeed in school and life”.

If you are interested in growing your business’ customer relationships like Wambach, book a free 60-minute consultation with Nick Milsner, Principal Consultant at Summit One, click here.

Summit One Consulting at Children Rising of Oakland, CA, Gala in May 2023.
Summit One's Vanessa and Nick Milsner at Children Rising's Gala in May 2023.

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