Too often, nonprofit employees find themselves spending valuable time on work that keeps them from connecting directly with their constituents. Helping nonprofits improve organizational processes so they can accomplish more with their resources is the mission of our partner Swift River Consulting.
Swift River Consulting was the first Salesforce.org consulting partner focusing solely on nonprofits, founded over a decade ago by Meghan Morrison, a former Salesforce.com employee. Since their start, Swift River has grown to a team of almost 10 consultants and developers. The team is led by Meghan, who is also the CEO, Cat Monaghan, COO, and Katie McFadden, Director of Professional Services.
We were thrilled when Katie agreed to chat with us to explain what Swift River does and how their work benefits their nonprofit clients.
Structured, Sustainable Approach to Solutions
Swift River’s engagements start with a business process review that helps them get a sense of how the nonprofit’s current processes are working (or not working) for them. Through this evaluation, Swift River identifies department-specific pain points such as duplication of work and manual data entry and starts to develop a plan for how a better Salesforce setup could help smooth out kinks in the nonprofit’s workflow.
“It’s seemingly simple things that take forever; things that they’re duplicating,” Katie said.
From left, Katie McFadden, Meghan Morrison and Cat Monaghan.
Often, Swift River finds that nonprofits are adhering to outdated systems that no longer apply to the needs of the nonprofit or that have better alternatives. Though not everything is possible in Salesforce, Katie said it’s important for nonprofits to foster a culture of innovation where ideas are welcome so that people don’t become stuck in old ways of doing things.
“If there’s something that you want in the Salesforce world, it might be really easy,” she said. “You have to be very welcoming of ideas and approach things positively.”
Swift River offers ample support and user training during the initial phase of the engagements to prepare nonprofit teams to manage the Salesforce solution without ongoing work from Swift River.
“When I started Swift River, part of my core belief was to empower nonprofits to become self-sufficient with their use of Salesforce,” Meghan Morrison said, adding that she aims to ensure that nonprofit clients can manage their system easily once a project is completed.
“We’re very much about ‘train the trainer,’” Katie said. “One of the most important factors for success in any implementation is ‘Do they have an effective system administrator?’ We’re really big on finding that person and investing in them.”
For long-term support, Swift River also runs a Power of Us Hub group to keep clients informed and educated, which includes notifying them about new FormAssembly features.
Focus on Nonprofits Who Do Program Management
Swift River works with small-to-medium sized nonprofits that often focus on program management and require customized Salesforce configurations beyond volunteer management and fundraising. Examples of program management-focused nonprofits might be those that arrange exchange student trips to other countries or coordinate after school programs for children.
Swift River’s clients have a variety of missions, including education, human rights, advocacy, fellowship programs, and the environment. Even though their clients’ missions may differ greatly, their Salesforce implementation needs are often similar, Katie said.
“Functionally, there are so many parallels,” Katie said. “It’s easy for us to apply the same structure to an education program or an environmental program. Under the hood, they’re very alike.”
A short list of their clients includes names like the Aspen Institute’s Aspen Global Leadership Network, University of San Francisco’s Science and Health Education Partnership, and the Northeastern Organic Farming Association of Vermont.
Mission: Make Room for Relationships
What Swift River does has benefits beyond productivity and efficiency. Indirectly, by freeing up time for nonprofit professionals, Swift River enables them to become more people-centric and spend more time thinking up new ways to help their communities and the world.
“Our vision is that we’re trying to strip out the drudgery of unnecessarily repetitive tasks. That’s the goal: better relationships and more creativity,” Katie said. “A lot of times there’s this disconnect between the organization and all of the people they serve. They’re connected through a database, but they’re not connected electronically with all the people they serve.”
Swift River’s job is to improve the communication channels between nonprofits and the people they serve so that the right information gets to the right people in a better, more streamlined way to create greater impact.
FormAssembly + Swift River
Swift River uses FormAssembly with over 70 percent of their clients. The firm and their clients benefit heavily from the strong FormAssembly-Salesforce connection and often end up using FormAssembly much more than they originally expect.
Katie said what sets FormAssembly apart is the attractive user interface, broad feature set (including capabilities like repeatable sections and prefilling), custom code options, and the robust set of Salesforce features.
“The layers of customization are just endless,” she said.
Swift River recommends FormAssembly to their clients for solving a variety of challenges. Here are a few examples:
- Building an online application
- Gathering event or orientation RSVPs
- Updating information with our Salesforce Prefill Connector
- Gathering mid-program feedback
- Logging volunteer hours
- Completing evaluations
- Collecting conference signups and session registrations
- Processing donations
Katie said she appreciates the skill and responsiveness of the FormAssembly support team and that she can rely on us to support her clients.
FormAssembly offers a user-friendly tool that enables Swift River and their clients to accomplish important work faster, connect information with the people who need to have it, and free up more time for creative work and relationship building.
We’re so grateful to Katie and Swift River Consulting for sharing their story! You can learn more about Swift River Consulting on their website. For more information on our work with nonprofits, go here.
This post is part of our ongoing Partner Highlight Series, which gives you an in-depth look at all of the awesome business partners that help us help our customers. If you’re a partner or the customer of one of our partners and you’d like to share your story, we’d love to hear it! You can fill out this quick form to let us know your interest and we’ll be back in touch soon.