Solace Women’s Aid exists to end the harm done through Violence Against Women and Girls. Their work is holistic and empowering, standing alongside survivors to achieve independent lives, free from abuse. While most of Solace’s income comes through government grants and contracts, in 2016 they began to invest in their fundraising and appeals to drive income growth. Since then, their income has doubled to over £15 million, driven by a small business development team.
As the Covid-19 pandemic took hold in 2020 and we went into lockdown, the UK saw a significant increase in domestic violence and Solace saw an exponential increase in demand for their vital services. At the same time, donations and fundraising grew rapidly, seeing sixfold growth in the April compared to the previous 3 months, and showed no signs of slowing down. Demand also grew for their training services, as people realised the need to recognise and support victims and survivors of abuse.
At the time, Solace had no relationship management system (CRM) and no way of centrally capturing this activity. The data was held on multiple spreadsheets (often simply downloaded from third-party platforms) and the business development team were spending days each month reviewing income and producing reports. While the reports were then shared with the finance and executive teams, the data was often fractured and sometimes incomplete, therefore reconciliation was lengthy and difficult for all parties.
This was coupled with a standalone system to manage contracts that was hard to maintain and without robust processes and procedures to ensure excellent governance. All in all, Solace’s systems were not in the right place to support the growth in income and service demand.
In deciding they needed a solution to better support their rapid growth, Solace identified the following priorities:
- A single view of their supporters, their income, and the activities they were engaged in (training, donating, fundraising, campaigning, volunteering), allowing them to maximise income and develop supporter journeys in the future.
- To reduce administration time through process automation, mass data importing, and tailored reporting.
- Contract Management processes to meet governance standards that can be easily audited.
- Induction training and onboarding support via initial set up, how-to guides, process mapping and online sessions.
- To integrate systems to ensure that finance and income generation had access to the same data.
Time Technology Ltd (TTL) customised Salesforce Sales Cloud and the Non-Profit Success Pack (NPSP), plus our own developed packages, to meet Solace’s requirements for their first CRM:
- Configuration of NPSP allows Solace to utilise this functionality effectively, including households, customisable rollups, enhanced recurring donations and general accounting units.
- After reviewing and redeveloping their Contract Management Process, TTL configured Salesforce Contracts functionality, approval processes and automation of record creation at defined stages of each Contract, along with email templates and document creation to gain external approvals and provide briefs to the finance team.
- We installed TTL’s Gift Aid package, enabling the auto-creation of Gift Aid Income and simple reporting for HMRC, as well as robust recording of Gift Aid Declarations and Gift Aid Statements.
- We installed TTL’s end-user friendly data-loading solution, meaning that data from third parties like JustGiving and VirginMoneyGiving is simply downloaded once a week by Solace, then automatically imported to Salesforce Contacts, Campaigns and Income.
- Using FormAssembly and Stripe, TTL created a donations form, allowing for one-off, regular, and corporate donations, as well as the option for supporters to pay in their fundraising. This means donations are automatically recorded on Salesforce in real-time and supporters get an immediate, personalised thank-you response.
Outcomes and Impact
The result is a unified CRM for the Solace Business Development Team, where they can now see all their income from fundraising activities, donations, grants, and contracts in one place. Training programmes and attendees are now recorded, giving Solace a true view of their supporter engagement across all activities. Contracts are now managed through Salesforce, holding all the data in one place, and giving the team confidence that they understand the contracts they are managing and the requirements within them. Through reports and dashboards developed by TTL, the executive and finance teams receive the information they need at a touch of a button, saving days of time each month.
What the client has to say
Jessie Gane, Solace Fundraising Development Manager said “Time Technology held our hands the whole way through the process, from our initial discovery sessions, really using their non-profit and fundraising knowledge to question what we wanted and the processes behind it. We really appreciated the process maps that were created for us, the TTL team really added value to the build. They were with us right through to end-user training and support for remote onboarding of the team. Time Tech were really flexible on the delivery plan, working with us even as we changed our requirements/priorities. They delivered everything we wanted and more and provided great value for money. The ongoing support from TTL has also been incredible and they have been there to help support functions when we have struggled as a team of novices coming on board with a new CRM.”
Working with TTL, Solace have already expanded their use of Salesforce. They were successfully awarded a grant from DCMS to help support smaller women’s charities in England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. Using a combination of configuring the Outbound Funds Module, Custom Objects and Form Assembly, TTL supported a new team within Solace to create an end-to-end grants process, including applications, internal and external reviews, awarding and disbursement of the funds and a monitoring process. Over 600 applications were received.