Salesforce Earns an A+ from Bryant University

Fund raising is a vital component to college finances, contributing about 5% to its annual income. Bryant University found that its technology infrastructure hindered its fund raising efforts. Alumni, student, and benefactor information was stored in different systems, so employees could not get a complete view of their prospects, leading to confusion, unnecessary duplication, and ineffectiveness. An upgrade to a Salesforce solution not only consolidated the data but also dramatically boosted revenue and reduced costs.

Like most colleges, Bryant University, located in Smithfield RI institution and operating since 1863, conducts multiple fund raising operations during the year. Data about the current students, which number approximately 3,200, as well as its alumni and benefactors was stored in disconnected systems:

  • Elucian Banner, a student information system
  • Oracle Corp. proprietary database
  • Microsoft Outlook

Inefficient Operations

As a result, the staff did not have a clear picture of who their supporters were and what they were interested in. Furthermore, running campaigns, creating prospect lists, and tracking donations were tedious, time consuming processes hindered by many inefficiencies:

  • Departments lacked the reporting features needed to determine how well each campaign performed
  • Senior university leadership did not receive clear forecasting goals and progress
  • Fund raising officers had trouble tracking donor activities, resulting in lost opportunities.
  • Lead management teams were unable to glean a complete picture of their prospects, so they struggled prioritizing their targets.
  • Staff duplicated efforts, frustrating prospects as well as themselves

The employees spent large amounts of time collecting and consolidating information from disparate systems, which reduced the time available to brainstorm and improve their actual events. In essence, the higher education institute managed its campaigns reactively rather than proactively and reaped less revenue than possible.

Bryant Chooses a Salesforce Solution

Bryant needed a better system and turned to TekSystems for help finding one. The partner empowers organizations undergoing digital transformation projects and recommended a Salesforce suite:

  • Sales Cloud: a Customer Relationship Management and marketing system, featuring lead scoring, lead conversion, opportunity management, and tracking of the benefactor journey from prospect to donor
  • Salesforce Higher Education Data Architecture (HEDA), a community-driven data architecture and set of best practices designed for academic community deployments.
  • Salesforce Lightning, a full suite of tools for building apps that automate business processes

The Process

The project went from requirements definition to full deployment in about 12 months. The new solution provided employees with flexibility, so they now create personal customer journeys for each donor, combining fund raising activities with university activities. The new visibility also enables the school to tie lead creation to donors’ life changing events and campus activities, such as alumni recognition, graduation, etc.

In addition, Salesforce integrated with the legacy Informatica Cloud, so the staff had access to all current donor information in one place. Prospecting became smoother because information was consistent and easy to access. Once approved for a solicitation, a lead was converted to a prospect account. Based on an initial screening, solicitation officers personalize each pitch and identify activities, the proper people, and interests to groom the prospect. Progress tracking became simpler. After a solicitation is made, the opportunity moves to lost or successful, and that data is presented for the next event.

A Plethora of Benefits

Fund raising improved in many ways:

  • Boosted the quality and scoring process for the leads
  • Provided better forecasting tools to officers and senior leadership
  • Centralized activity management
  • Streamlined communication among employees and also to potential donors
  • Reduced duplicate efforts and ensuing confusion with supporters
  • Increased the effectiveness of campaigns by better targeting prospects
  • Reduced campaign costs by 30%
  • Increased the number of donations by 20%
  • Grew the given amounts by 20%

Technology limitations constrained Bryant University’s fund raising efforts. Upgrading to the Salesforce solution enabled the university to streamline business processes, reduce costs, and increase revenue.