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After Hurricane Katrina devastated the housing stock in Greater New Orleans, the local Habitat for Humanity chapter jumped into action. The affiliate increased its workload to address the desperate need, as well as to accommodate the huge volume of goodwill pouring into the city.

With the support of volunteers and donors, Habitat more than doubled the amount of homes built each year. Unfortunately, managing their segmented databases became less of a priority.

“We were dealing with the aftermath of a disaster, and so we had a lot of dirty data at the time,” said Jenna Mitchell Turnage, Assistant Director of Advancement for New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity.

“We needed to consolidate and clean up. We wanted a system that would allow us to start mining our data.”

They had relied on Donor Perfect to manage gifts and CiviCore for volunteers. The two systems kept their information in data silos, forcing staff to perform manual exports for communications.

Time-intensive tasks and potential for human error bogged down the staff’s progress. In addition, if a given constituent both donated and volunteered, Habitat New Orleans had no clue. KELL Partners knew that Habitat needed systems that would talk to each other.

So Adam Kramer, KELL’s Nonprofit Success Pack Practice Lead, implemented a fully integrated database pulling together Luminate Online, Common Ground Enterprise, Volunteers for Salesforce, and Salesforce. This new, coordinated system totally transformed Habitat New Orleans’ perspective.

“We were able to get a more comprehensive overview of each constituent,” said Turnage. “It’s one thing to say we have a really meaty database of over 20,000 constituents, but now we know the reality of how many of those are actually engaging with our mission and how they are getting to us and what their interactions are.”

New Orleans Habitat for Humanity had achieved real relationship visualization. They could see people who were engaged in more than one role. They could talk to New Orleanians in a way that honored what they’d been through, while addressing non-locals with gratitude for what they’d done.

Salesforce empowered Habitat to grow newsletter subscriptions and implement targeted strategies to nurture donors. Their newfound 1:1 communication proved especially beneficial for online fundraising.
Their newly integrated data is now readily available for a variety of purposes. The staff uses the Salesforce Dashboard function to spot trends in specific categories of funding. They create engaging graphics of their progress in various campaigns. Turnage estimates that KELL cut the time spent generating reports for funders, board members and internal clients by 50 percent.

“Salesforce has enhanced our ability to communicate to our board in a way that they like to see information,” said Turnage. “We’ve set it up so our management team receives an email each week that provides information in a really bite-sized way.”

Habitat for Humanity doesn’t just build houses. Since Hurricane Katrina, the Greater New Orleans affiliate has had a $307,000,000 impact on the city’s economy, creating 3,434 jobs. And they are grateful to have Salesforce in their tool belt.

“We are huge advocates for using Salesforce as a platform,” said Turnage. “Now that we’ve gone this route, it would be hard to use anything else.”