Our VP of Partnerships Zak Pines recently sat down with Sarah Burt, CRM Project Manager for AccuFund, as part of our ongoing Partner Interview Series. Zak and Sarah had a far-ranging conversation that included an amazing story from Sarah on using forms and document automation to manage a holiday adoption gift drive. Here’s an abridged transcript of the chat.
Background on AccuFund
Zak: Can you start by telling me about AccuFund?
Sarah: AccuFund was established in 2001 as a fund accounting system for nonprofits and government entities. It’s evolved to incorporate accounting, payroll, HR, endowment tracking, grant management, representative payee, allocations, budget development, and many more nonprofit accounting needs.
About eight years ago, AccuFund aligned itself with Salesforce when it acquired an AccuFund reseller that I worked for and then launched a product called AccuFund Connector. The Connector allows us to integrate our fund accounting solution with Salesforce to eliminate duplicate donation entry between CRM and fund accounting solutions.
Zak: That’s a huge benefit right there to nonprofits.
Sarah: Instead of only getting checks in the mail, now our nonprofits could collect donations online. And we have built-in approval processes, so when a donation is entered into a Salesforce CRM database, it can be created in AccuFund as an undeposited cash receipt with no manual duplicate entry in either solution.
And because of our connection to Salesforce, we have also built out a Salesforce consulting practice for nonprofits, which is my role at AccuFund.
Zak: What types of nonprofits are your typical customers?
Sarah: Community foundations, youth-based organizations, religious organizations, educational organizations, environmental-based organizations—all types
One example—a customer of ours and yours—is the Lions of Illinois Foundation. We work with the whole state foundation. We just launched their online forms to collect donations and manage online hearing and vision screen mobile unit events.
Zak: And as a CRM Project Manager, what specifically is your role?
Sarah: I’m doing all things Salesforce—managing new implementations and supporting our customers and everything related to how they are using Salesforce. Formstack is a big part of that, given we use your products to help our clients be productive and effective with collecting and using their data in Salesforce.
Zak: How did you get into the Salesforce world?
Sarah: It was an accident. I went to the University of Texas at San Antonio, and after I graduated, I hired on with the AccuFund reseller for marketing and social media. There was a big need for resources to help on the design and implementation of Salesforce for our nonprofit clients at the time, so I stepped in to help. I taught myself and then got certified. And I’ve loved every minute of it.
Using Salesforce Forms & Document Automation to Manage a Holiday Adoption Gift Drive
Zak: When did you start working with Formstack?
Sarah: I was struggling with how to collect online data for the Salesforce database I was designing. I needed an online form solution that integrated with Salesforce. I then came to realize Formstack is a native form builder, so it’s managed directly within the Salesforce interface.
Now, if anyone asks me about what tools we use alongside Salesforce, Formstack is always the first company I mention. You provide great functionality, and it’s been so easy to use. Because the form builder is native, I don’t have to recreate any fields to use it; I can get forms built and data flowing into Salesforce in record time.
Zak: Do you have a specific customer story you can share?
Sarah: Rocking Horse Community Health Center is a community-based healthcare organization that uses both Formstack for Salesforce and Formstack Documents.
They run an adoption drive program in the holiday season. Over 500 children in their community were adopted this year alone. Families in the community can sign up to adopt one or multiple children to purchase Christmas gifts for them. Rocking Horse Center facilitates the adoption process, collecting the gifts and making sure the children receive them before Christmas.
Zak: That’s an amazing program. How does it work specifically?
Sarah: They were previously using spreadsheets and manually managing all efforts, but they knew to grow this part of their organization they would need to find a more efficient way to handle the adoption drive.
They were originally an AccuFund fund accounting client and came to me to replace their old fundraising software with Salesforce. They also use the AccuFund Connector to integrate the two databases.
When designing their Salesforce solution, they brought up the holiday adoptive drive and their current management process, and that’s when we decided we could make it much better. So we started with a Formstack form. On that form, a constituent interested in adopting a child can find the child or children, learn about them, and then adopt one or more children online; which sends the adoption information to their Salesforce database.
The specific way we are doing that is using the lookup capability to look into an object based on a list view. We have an object called Angel Tree Families, and there’s a checkbox that signifies if a family has children available to adopt online. We display the number of kids in the family and how many gifts are needed. We use the repeatable section functionality so that an online constituent can adopt more than one family at a time. They can add a family or remove a family before they submit their final adoption.
Zak: And then what happens after the form is submitted?
Sarah: We update the data right into Salesforce. Adoptions is a custom object, and we save the data for both the Angel Tree Family and Angel Tree Children. The status updates to adopted, which removes a family or children from being listed on the form to adopt.
Then we send out automated emails with information on the gift wish list for the child and gift drop off instructions.
We use Formstack Documents to create receipts for the gifts. We can feed the data from a Salesforce opportunity object straight into a document template to build and email the receipt to the adopting family.
Zak: That is both a great story for how you are using forms and document generation together, as well as an amazing way you’re helping the community through technology.
Sarah: Absolutely. Another wrinkle to the story is that I originally designed the system with an admin who then went out on maternity leave before the holiday season. Someone came in on an interim basis, and she immediately picked up on how the system worked. Because it was all done in Salesforce, it was very easy for her to learn.
That’s huge for our customers because nonprofits have a lot of turnover, and that’s out of our control and their control. So when designing a system, I want to find the most user-friendly structure. That’s the beauty of the native Salesforce form builder where you are only using your Salesforce objects and fields and not having to create, map, and sync external form fields. Formstack is the only software I’ve seen that does that. If I get hit by a bus, I need to know a new admin can learn it the next day.
Formstack Sign: eSignature for Salesforce
Zak: You’ve talked about both Salesforce native forms and document generation. Our third product tightly coupled around Salesforce is Formstack Sign. Have you also had an opportunity to incorporate that into your solutions for customers?
Sarah: I’m about to! I have a new client that I just signed last week. Long story short, they receive grants from USDA and federal programs to place senior citizens in temporary jobs.
We are creating a custom Salesforce environment for them to do this tracking for placing seniors and managing the budgets and cost analytics based on the grant funding that will be paying the payroll for the placement.
There is a huge need for electronic signatures. Federal agencies submit these positions, and there are contracts involved. Currently, they are getting printed, signed, and tracked manually. So this will be a natural place for us to incorporate Formstack Sign to automate the eSignature.
Zak: Great to see you are finding opportunities to work with Formstack for forms, doc gen, and eSignature.
Sarah: Yes. I just found out about Formstack Sign, so the timing was perfect.
Zak: Before we wrap up with the lightning round, do you have any other customer stories you’d like to share?
Sarah: Richmond Jewish Foundation comes to mind, where we set up an online donation form. They saw a 1000% increase in donations when they launched the form. Just as important, though, is what it does for their staff. On the accounting side, the old way was you take a check and type it in one place, and then you type it into a different place for accounting purposes. Now, with online donations and Formstack plus Salesforce and Accufund, it’s all automated, and there’s no duplicate data entry. It’s a major time savings for the staff.
Zak: That’s such a win-win. Big spike in donations, while making the process less time-consuming for a staff that is tight on time and resources.
Sarah: Exactly. I’ll give you one more—Street Business School. It’s a worldwide organization that works in Kenya, Uganda, and other countries around the world providing business training to women living in poverty. We set up a new online application process through Formstack for Salesforce.
Their application process is 30-some questions. That’s another example of the native form builder being such a blessing. I could use the existing Salesforce fields and not have to set up separate fields on the forms that need to be mapped to Salesforce. No external fields, no mappings, no data sync. So much easier for us to manage it using your native form builder.
Zak: These stories have been illuminating, Sarah. Thank you for sharing them.
Zak: Wrapping up with the lightning round. What are some of your personal interests or hobbies?
Sarah: I have a two-year-old daughter; we do a lot of outdoor things in the Austin area. Fishing. We have two big dogs that we bring around with us.
I also have a small wood-working business, One Wooded Lane, with my dad. It’s something for us to do together. My parents live on a ranch in the Houston area, with a lot of 50 100-year old trees. We salvage them and create pieces of living wood as art.
Zak: That is the best answer I’ve gotten yet to that question. Shifting gears, do you have a favorite productivity tip you can share?
Sarah: I am a list maker. I go through my email at the beginning of the day and make lists for myself for what I need to accomplish that day. I’m always prioritizing my clients over admin or sales or contracts. I keep that list next to me, and I cross things off as I go. It’s kind of old school, but it works great for me.
Zak: What’s your favorite TV show?
Sarah: I love “Grey’s Anatomy.”
Zak: What’s your go-to lunch during the workday?
Sarah: I work from home, so something fast like a deli meat sandwich.
Zak: Which is a great segue to my last question for you. A debate within Formstack: is a hot dog a sandwich?
Sarah: No. I do love hot dogs, but I would say it’s not a sandwich at all.