Boys’ Town has a long history of helping children and youth in need. The Singapore-based charity was founded in 1948 as a residential care facility for disadvantaged boys. Since then, the organisation has significantly expanded. It now supports girls and boys with a range of youth services including residential care, fostering, respite care, youth outreach, adventure therapy, and clinical intervention.
Today, Boys’ Town is using significant digital transformation to modernise paper-based manual workflows and increase process efficiency with Salesforce automation. Yet the organisation’s goal remains the same — to help youth in need learn the strategies and skills they need to cope with trauma and thrive as valued members of Singapore society.
“Most successful implementations in our sector are a means to an end,” says Tan. “Technology must always be vision- and user-centric, always empowering both our staff and youth. Salesforce helps us achieve that by increasing process efficiency, allowing our team to add more value to the lives of our clients.”
However, with more than 70 years’ of operational history, modernising the organisation has been a long road. Tan explains that digitisation began about 10 years ago, with the first step to move paper-based workflows onto Microsoft and Google tools.
“Those old processes always required a lot of human intervention,” he says. “For example, our donation processes in the past required staff to print a huge amount of receipts and manually send them out to donors via mail. Today, this process has significantly reduced and we cannot imagine going back to those days.”
Integrating apps and consolidating data in one single platform
Tan says Salesforce has been a game changer for Boys’ Town. It is more integration-friendly than other CRM vendors the organisation was considering. “We found that other CRMs we were considering did not provide the same ability for customisation, and integration was not as straight-forward as Salesforce.”
Customisation and integration ability has been critical for Boys’ Town’s digital transformation. Tan and his team has used Salesforce to customise a set of integrated apps that consolidate donor, volunteer, and client data on a single platform.
“We use Salesforce as our main platform, and we have customised four core apps,” he explains. “Our Donation Analytical Datamart (DAD) management system processes and stores donor data. It is used to issue donation receipts and submit tax deduction information to the tax authority.
“We also have a Volunteer Management System (VMS) that automates online volunteer registrations and screening of volunteers, and an Integrated Case Management System (ICMS) that processes and stores case management data. Finally, we use our Residential Program Management System (RPMS) to manage all data relating to our residential boys such as their school and program attendance and medical records.”
Tan explains that the DAD and VMS are integrated through Salesforce to create a single source of truth for donor and volunteer interactions. The ICMS and RPMS are also connected to provide a central Salesforce-based front-end system that youth and social workers can use to track and consolidate client data.
Increasing efficiency and productivity with automation
Tan explains that Salesforce’s capacity for customisation has helped to automate processes across the organisation. And this has returned significant efficiency gains that reduce the administration burden on Boys’ Town’s dedicated Youth, Case and Social workers, as well as their Community Partnerships team.
“It was difficult to store and search for donor, volunteer, and client data before implementing Salesforce,” he says. “For example, multiple donations can be associated with one donor, and dozens of cases can be attached to just one of our approximately 1,500 clients. Since adopting Salesforce, it has become incredibly easy to trace and find links between records that we would otherwise not be able to match up.”
Tan says it is difficult to quantify the time savings achieved through Salesforce. There was no explicit measurement or studies made because the organisation has implemented process automation over time. However, the Community Partnerships team has estimated the time-savings to be in the range of 30-40%. Likewise, for the Youth Work and Social Work teams, they save an estimated average of 15% and 30% of their time, respectively.
“The automated workflows that we do within Salesforce are the cherry on top. Automation saves so much time that would otherwise be consumed by tedious activities and duplicated efforts.”
For example, online donations, donor records, and client case notes and approvals are now automated through Salesforce. Automating client reports for appointments, attendance, and other useful data also provide a unified client view. This allows youth, case, and social workers to share the same source of client information.
“Those are just a few of the many automated processes within our Salesforce ecosystem that help our team focus on doing more for our clients,” says Tan. “Their time is now better spent with our clients’ parents, teachers, and other stakeholders. Salesforce takes the admin burden off them.”
Putting the client at the centre of everything they do
Despite some internal resistance and uncertainty in the early stages of the Salesforce implementation, Tan says Salesforce is now critical to the organisation.
“It took some change management, training, and time to get to where we are today. But my colleagues are definitely grateful to have Salesforce. We cannot imagine going back to a time without a centralised online database that’s easy to use and navigate. It is now a digital pillar of our organisation that we can’t do without.”
Looking to the future, Tan says technology will continue to play a role in Boys’ Town’s ongoing evolution. But the needs of their clients will always be at the heart of future implementations.
“For the next three to five years, we will continue to develop more inter-service and inter-organisational collaboration initiatives, as well as tightening existing governance and compliance policies,” Tan concludes. “Everything we do will be about continuing to make sure our organisation is a better place for children.”
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