Ashray Akruti

With real-time insights, we can plan our fundraising activities more effectively. And be more transparent with donors about how their funds will be spent.”

D.P.K. Babu | Director and MD, Ashray Akruti
 
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Ashray Akruti brings hope to the hearing impaired with Salesforce

When his younger brother was diagnosed with a hearing impairment, D.P.K. Babu became a first-hand witness to the obstacles that hearing loss can create in almost every sphere of life—be it education, employment, marriage, or parenting. He also saw how difficult it was for people like his brother to communicate and be understood—particularly in a country that doesn’t yet recognise sign language as an official language. But rather than bemoan his family’s fate, Babu chose to turn their personal adversity into something positive.

Making lemonade out of life’s lemons

In 1996, Babu set up Ashray Akruti to provide free, quality education and rehabilitation services to hearing impaired children. 

“Today, we have five special schools in Hyderabad educating more than 600 hearing impaired children,” says Babu proudly. “We also run an inclusive education program where over 35 hearing impaired children study under the same roof as those without an impairment.”

Once the children graduate, Ashray Akruti helps them find employment. The NGO also runs a state-of-the-art institute for multimedia and animation training through which many hearing-impaired students find jobs in the film industry. 

But education isn’t Ashray Akruti’s sole focus. When Babu’s nephew was diagnosed with a hearing impairment, he realised the importance of early diagnosis and treatment. Through Ashray Akruti, he set up several mobile hearing clinics that visit hospitals to conduct free neonatal hearing screening. Infants with suspected hearing loss receive early intervention and care. 

“Till date, we’ve screened over 10,000 newborns, and supported 125 children with cochlear implants,” says Babu. “We also conduct community outreach programs. Overall, our services touch 50,000-60,000 lives every year.”

Cutting through the data clutter

Behind Ashray Akruti’s incredible work is a wide network of donors and volunteers whose funding and support keep the NGO going. 

But engaging with these stakeholders wasn’t always easy. In the NGO’s early years, organisational data was scattered across spreadsheets, text documents, and paper records, making it difficult for staff to communicate with donors, or be transparent about how their funds were being spent.  

Meanwhile, Babu and his team couldn’t accurately track key metrics such as donor churn which, in turn, hampered their ability to plug funding leaks. 

Efficiency was another concern. Field healthcare workers manually captured patient information on paper forms, and then returned to the office to re-type the data into their systems. Until this was done, Babu couldn’t plan medical supplies or fundraising activities. 

Salesforce offered a way to solve these challenges. “We chose the Salesforce platform for its ease of use and customisation, mobile CRM capabilities, and rich reporting features,” says Babu. “Today, Salesforce is an integral part of Ashray Akruti. Any information we need at any time can be found on the platform.”

“We call it our Vajrayudham,” he adds, referring to the powerful thunderbolt weapon wielded by Hindu deity, Indra. “Like its namesake, the platform can do wonders.”

Improving visibility into donors, patients, and students' data

Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud offers Ashray Akruti a clear, 360-degree view of its donors and volunteers. Most donor communication and fundraising campaigns are managed on the platform through emails and newsletters. Staff can instantly see when a donor last contributed, or when they were last emailed. Accordingly, follow-up communication can be made targeted and personalised. 

Nonprofit Cloud also enables Ashray Akruti’s multimedia and animation training institute to capture student data for complete visibility. Soon, healthcare units will use the system to document patients needing hearing aids.

Already, field healthcare workers are using iPads loaded with Salesforce and the Salesforce mobile app to record patient information on the go during medical camps. This data is directly uploaded to Salesforce, saving time for everyone involved. 

“Earlier, we would take about four hours to manually record the information of 80 children, but with the Salesforce mobile application, we can do the same thing in under three hours,” says Babu.

 

Strengthening donor engagement and trust

Since patient data is captured by field workers in real time on Salesforce, Babu can instantly see how many patients have been screened, how many children have been diagnosed with hearing loss, how many require medication or surgery, and more. 

“With real-time insights, our decision-making has improved,” explains Babu. “We know how many hearing aids and medicines to order. We can plan our fundraising activities more effectively. And we can be more transparent with donors about how their funds will be spent.”

Rich reports in Salesforce provide a granular view of key metrics such as how many donors have dropped out, when, and why. This data has helped Babu and his team take informed action to strengthen donor engagement and retention. The result? A surge in contributions. 

“Donations to Ashray Akruti have increased three-fold since 2015—a clear indication of how effective donor engagement efforts have become with Salesforce,” says Babu. 

Ashray Akruti is now implementing Salesforce Pardot to automate marketing and email campaigns. Teams will be able to reach out to about 20,000 donors in a more personalised way, while also tracking the success of fundraising campaigns. Meanwhile, donating will become simpler through integration with various payment gateways.

Changing lives through technology

The NGO is currently exploring how Nonprofit Cloud can be used to collect and analyse data in such a way that teams can diagnose hearing impaired children at an earlier age. There are also plans to expand the NGO’s services beyond Andhra Pradesh.

“Through technology, we hope to reach out to many more Indian states, and support many more hearing-impaired children,” says Babu. “With Salesforce, we can easily scale up without increasing our headcount. And because our operations are digitalised, we can work and raise funds from anywhere, as we did during COVID-19.”

But perhaps the most exciting outcome is that technologies like Salesforce are directly helping the hearing impaired fulfil their potential.  

“Two Ashray Akruti graduates who trained on the Salesforce platform are now employed at Salesforce Hyderabad,” says Babu proudly. “Imagine if we could improve employability further by training other students on Salesforce. Many more hearing-impaired people would have the opportunity to make a living and a life.”

 
 

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