What we did
Leveling up a fundraising game
Every year about 1,200 kids walk through the doors of the Boys & Girls Club of Hollywood (BGCH) to participate in programs that involve everything from robotics and coding to filmmaking, tutoring, and basketball. But with COVID-19, all these activities stopped. For the first time in BGCH history, it had to severely restrict its operations. “We had to become really creative about how to serve our kids,” says Mel Culpepper, BGCH CEO. The organization switched to providing more holistic family services and was able to serve about 300 kids—virtually and through food drives.
The pandemic also stymied BGCH’s annual in-person fundraising events. “Everybody went into a panic around how we were going to fundraise,” says Culpepper.
Slalom had already started working with BGCH and, with our assistance, the organization turned to digital fundraising. The first online campaign, the Corona Care Fund, raised $170,000. That money allowed BGCH to write checks directly to families in the community—many of whom weren’t eligible for the first round of stimulus money. “The reality is that families did not have enough money to buy groceries—that’s why we rallied and created this fund. This was a completely different way of serving than we had in the past,” says Culpepper.
Slalom steps in with pro bono support
Just prior to BGCH launching the Corona Care Fund, Chris Reyes, a senior director at Slalom Los Angeles, joined the BGCH board of directors. Chris and other board members started asking questions about fundraising: How many donors does the organization have? How often do they donate? Which programs are they donating to?
The organization wasn’t able to provide the answers. The CEO and her staff were stuck with a CRM that wasn’t serving their needs. They didn’t have the training to use the features the solution did have—and the one staff person who was proficient had just left. Everyone felt frustrated.
Reyes and Justin Marconi, a Slalom customer engagement principal, demoed the Salesforce Nonprofit Success Pack for Culpepper and the board. Soon after, BGCH became Slalom LA’s first official pro bono client.
I wish for all my nonprofit colleagues to have this experience. This is what success should feel like.
Initially, Culpepper felt a little leery. “In my work, I’ve been on a lot of consultant projects. They sort of talk at you and then end up dumping more work on you,” she says. And the last thing her team needed was more work—especially during the pandemic. But her fears were short-lived.
“I wish for all my nonprofit colleagues to have this experience. This is what success should feel like. Slalom is exceptional. They treat you, the nonprofit, as a true client,” she says. “This experience has been completely different.”
A whole new world
After Slalom set to work at BGCH, “life changed completely,” says Culpepper. First, our consultants shifted the organization from its existing CRM to Salesforce Nonprofit Success Pack and completed an analysis of more than 6,000 donor records. Then we cleaned the data and loaded it into the new CRM.
Marconi, who also led the project, says, “Getting all the data imported correctly is always a huge moment for me. Another win was giving Mel the keys to log in for the first time and showing her around. Learning the basics and getting into the actual data are huge steps for someone who is not a technologist.”
More donor insights = more dollars
“Metrics, data, and analytics are new words for us here,” says Culpepper. “Justin reminds me of the importance of looking at my data and understanding what is behind it. You can do the same thing over and over, but not make any progress because you’re not looking at the impact of your work.”
Previously, the organization’s data was siloed in five separate places. Now it’s neatly stored in one robust tool. “Knowledge is power. The more you know about your donors, the more you know how your messages are resonating with them,” says Culpepper.
Slalom also connected Salesforce to the back end of the BGCH website, so that Culpepper can see exactly which programs donors view and donate to. Now she sends campaign emails that target specific donor interests. After a contribution, she writes a customized thank-you to express appreciation and to extend the connection.
A nonprofit, empowered
In addition to helping BGCH launch two more seasonal campaigns in 2020, Slalom provided a comprehensive fundraising and advancement strategy, plus communications support around emails, the newsletter, and its presence on social media. “BGCH is now spending a lot of time on messaging, knowing that we have the tools to communicate effectively,” says Reyes, speaking from his viewpoint as a BGCH board member. “Before, we weren’t highlighting all the great things that the club was doing and creating awareness within the community. Now we’re able to leverage these tools and share the stories.” And donors feel confident that they’ve made a good investment because they see their dollars making a difference.
“I’m looking forward to continuing this work,” says Culpepper. “Good things will happen because we have the systems in place—and the expertise—to make sure the implementation is seamless and smart moving forward. It’s been a wonderful engagement, and I feel fortunate to have been in a partnership with Slalom. I’ve been doing this for 30 years and this is the best consulting project I’ve ever worked on.”