This charitable work generates a caseload, which was being managed in a basic database and various shared drives. This created a lot of frustration. It was difficult for case workers to pick up each other’s work and to manage an approval process. Reporting, record history, and data manipulation were also challenging if not impossible. Finally, there was no connection to the rest of the organisation’s data and records.
Our case management felt really cumbersome before Beacon. For example, our fundraising team would often need a list of certain people. I would need to do several different reports, and then cut and paste them altogether. Such a simple request would take me absolutely ages! Now I can do it in seconds, but more importantly they can do it themselves!
The organisation had been using Beacon for their donor journey for several years, so the choice to use it for case management too was a relatively easy one. They already knew it could meet their needs and help them improve on their case management process. As an added benefit, they would consolidate and simplify their operations.
Beacon worked closely with the whole team to identify their case management needs, but Foothold has a team member dedicated to Beacon development. They transitioned from a case management role during the original implementation.
Charlie is our Beacon expert. She had some experience with CRMs and has taken on this role full time. I think it’s testament to how easy and user-friendly Beacon is that she’s been able to make Beacon our own in that respect.
Foothold were able to do lots of the migration of the casework on their own. They needed support from Beacon to achieve their most interesting and complex requirement, which revolved around calculating the amount of grants to individuals. Denice Houslin, support services manager, shared a formula with statistics like the Minimum Income Standard (published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation), GDP, type of household, and the value of an average basket of goods to calculate the grant for any individual in any country.
This required information is published in a standardised format, so templates were created in Beacon to allow it to be updated with just a couple of clicks. Custom fields housed and organised the relevant data. From there, Foothold’s formula could be entered into a “Smart field” to automatically calculate the figure for every record in real time.
We never imagined the CRM would be able to automatically calculate the grant amount, but the team at Beacon got it done. Now, caseworkers just put in country and income and the correct grant figure pops up! We’re really pleased with it.
Alongside getting Beacon to handle that complex calculation, Foothold are also working on creating automations using Beacon's Workflows feature. They have quite a few so far, but this is still a work in progress. Foothold recognise that workflows have the potential to further reduce adminstrative burden and simplify communication.
The value of automation can be difficult to quantify for any organisation. Small tasks like setting a reminder are rarely recorded in a meaningful way, but the minutes quickly add up. Alongside that timesaving – and just as valuable – automation reduces or removes entirely the chances for human error. At the busiest times, a user can easily get distracted from a follow up task and might then miss that opportunity entirely.
That also feeds into continuity and disaster recovery. When a team member is unwell, takes leave, or even moves on to other opportunities, having a single source of truth allows the rest of the team to pick up the work seamlessly.
We’re working more cohesively because the whole organisation is on the same system. It’s saving so much time. it's difficult to put numbers on everything, but one of my caseworkers switched roles after the implementation, and we didn’t need to replace them, so that's at least 4 days of work saved every week!
Gosh, that’s a lot!