The Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market Association Serves an Active Community of Farmers and Businesses Using FormAssembly

The Form Advocate

Allen Moy

Executive Director

Case Study Snapshot

The Pacific Coast Farmers Market Association (PCFMA) uses FormAssembly as they work alongside more than 250 farmers and 250 other businesses that sell goods in over 50 weekly markets. Smart web forms allow vendors to select market participation, upload required documents, and pay application fees. From an administrative perspective, FormAssembly saves PCFMA valuable time, staff resources, and hundreds of dollars in paper and postage each year. Explore the case study to learn how smart web forms provide the perfect technology for nonprofits.

About

  • Founded in 1988, operates farmers markets in 6 counties around San Francisco.
  • Sister organization Fresh Approach provides nutrition education and resources.
  • Upholds a mission to “empower California farmers to be enormously successful in Bay Area communities.”
  • Operates as a 501(c)5 nonprofit organization.

The Numbers

markets opened per week in 2018

250 farmers and 250 small businesses served

5 yrs

time with FormAssembly

responses collected on customer surveys

The Problem

Heavy Reliance on Paper Processes

We had to generate paperwork for everyone that was selling in our markets.

Initially, the Pacific Coast Farmers Market Association became familiar with FormAssembly through a process of transferring their database to Salesforce from Microsoft Access. The transition provided an opportunity to eliminate reliance on paper, which was extensive. When developing technology for nonprofits, often the first step is moving to a CRM platform.

“We had to generate paperwork for everyone that was selling in our markets. It was a weeklong affair to assemble all of those packets to send to market participants,” Moy explained.

The Solution

Better Data Tracking and Efficiency

We utilize FormAssembly instead of Salesforce web-to-case because it’s easier to integrate with our website, and the visual quality to the user we think is superior.

When it comes to actual form creation, PCFMA makes use of a number of FormAssembly’s unique features, such as the Prefill Connector, Conditional Logic, and the Salesforce Connector. Each of these tools allows the organization to move forward with their big-picture goals in mind.

Easy and Appealing

Although there are many options for creating web forms needed to collect the type of data that PCFMA needs, FormAssembly is the perfect choice for its simplicity and functionality.

“FormAssembly has made it possible for us to get closer to our goal of making Salesforce the center of data tracking. We utilize FormAssembly instead of Salesforce web-to-case because it’s easier to integrate with our website, and the visual quality to the user we think is superior,” Moy said.

Considering the Respondent

When working with farmers and other vendors, the PCFMA aims to create web forms that eliminate any potential obstacles during completion. When determining the best technology for nonprofits, it’s important to consider what is required on the part of the respondent.

“We don’t want to feel like a burden for our farmers to fill it out,” Moy said.

Tools like the Prefill Connector allow the organization to include information that they already know about certain farmers. Forms are set up to easily showcase what a farmer needs to upload, such as certification documents or licenses. When PCFMA needs updates to this information, their goal is to be proactive. By using FormAssembly, they can trigger email reminders that prompt farmers for up-to-date or missing information. As laws and requirements change, edits are quick and hassle-free.  

Staff Time and Resources

One of the ways that the organization benefits most from FormAssembly is by delegating form creation and maintenance to a staff member who splits their work time between the office and various markets. By making use of FormAssembly’s detailed Resource Center, this staff member has been able to create, troubleshoot, and implement new web form use cases. PCFMA knew that they did not want to hire a web developer for the task, but they also recognized that manual data entry was costly and time-consuming.

“FormAssembly has saved us from having to hire an additional staff person. When we were on paper, it was too much for one person to do,” Moy said.

Use Cases

Potential vendors can sign up and express interest in markets.

From the website, new vendors can easily express interest in participating in various markets. Due to high demand, these forms allow the organization to filter out specific needs and interest, based on space and availability. Through this form, they can glean basic information about the farmer or seller and establish the initial contact record.

Interest form for upcoming farmers’ markets (click image to enlarge)

Vendors and musicians can apply for market participation and upload necessary documents.

After expressing interest, vendors and musicians can also use web forms to apply and participate. These forms go into greater detail about when and where the service or performance will take place. Since the PCFMA manages a wide array of markets around the San Francisco Bay Area, this system keeps information tidy and updates directly in Salesforce.

Musician interest form for farmers’ market participation (click image to enlarge)

Simple web forms allow businesses to gift market dollars to employees.

On occasion, the Farmers Market Association receives requests from other businesses who want to encourage employees to patronize different markets through the use of gift certificates. To accomplish this, they can submit an embedded FormAssembly form that generates a case in Salesforce. The finance team can then create and send the gift certificate quickly and efficiently. This “market money” system is useful, as it helps businesses encourages employees to invest in healthy products.

PCFMA has collected over 4,700 responses on customer survey forms since 2017.

The organization also uses FormAssembly to further their marketing efforts. Surveys are distributed to farmers to gauge sales from the previous year, which provides information that helps secure federal grants. Customer surveys, powered with FormAssembly, integrate with the email marketing system to send out invites for participation. Basic information is then sent to Salesforce to mark participation.

What’s Next?

The Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market Association has already streamlined many administrative processes using FormAssembly. In the future, they plan to expand the scope of existing forms, such as their musician registration form, and to capitalize on FormAssembly’s easy-to-use interface for other projects, such as grant funding for school field trips. All in all, FormAssembly provides an overarching solution to a number of data needs.

“Any time we look for information or need data, we’re looking to FormAssembly for that,” Moy said.

Did you know that other organizations in the food and agriculture industry need web form technology for nonprofits?

Explore how better data practices help Vermont Organic Farmers.

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