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How Salesforce technology helped Ashray Akruti to bring hope to the hearing impaired?

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Laxitha Mundhra
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Founded in 1996 by D.P.K. Babu Ashray Akruti is a registered non-profit, non-religious organization that provides free, quality education and rehabilitation services to hearing-impaired children. It helps individuals to overcome the obstacles that hearing loss can create in almost every sphere of life; education, employment, marriage, or parenting. Today, they have five special schools in Hyderabad educating more than 650 hearing-impaired children and run an inclusive education program where over 35 hearing impaired children study under the same roof as those without 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.

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But education isn’t Ashray Akruti’s sole focus; the NGO understands the importance of early diagnosis and treatment. Through Ashray Akruti, D.P.K Babu set up several mobile hearing clinics that visit hospitals to conduct free neonatal hearing screenings. Infants with suspected hearing loss receive early intervention and care. To date, they have screened over 10,600 newborns and supported 135 children with cochlear implants. They also conduct community outreach programs. Overall, Ashray Akruti’s services touch 50,000-60,000 lives every year.

The Challenge - What are the pain points in the current scenario?

As the global crisis and subsequent rapid shift to digital forces us to re-imagine how we live our everyday lives and do business, it’s also changing how we step up and give back to our communities. Where nonprofits previously relied on face-to-face engagement to raise funds, deliver events, and provide vital services, more and more stakeholders are coming together online. The imperative to shift to digital has never been greater for remaining relevant now and driving positive changes well into the future. Nonprofit organizations across the world have gone to incredible lengths over recent months to pivot their operations entirely to ensure continuity of care to their communities.

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The Solution - How was the Challenge resolved?

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

In addition, planning for medical supplies or and managing funds was tedious, as field healthcare workers manually captured patient information on paper forms, and then returned to the office to re-type the data into their systems. Salesforce offered a way to solve these challenges.

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“We chose the Salesforce platform for its ease of use and customization, 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.”

The Team - Describe the organization and why Salesforce was the preferred partner

The NGO sector, like so many others, is undergoing tremendous changes, with the urgency to shift to digital now more heightened. Technology is imperative to remaining relevant and functioning as a nonprofit. With Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud, Ashray Akruti has 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 is made more targeted and personalized.

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

The Implementation - How did the organization overcome difficulties?

Since patient data is captured by field workers in real-time on Salesforce, the NGO 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. The Salesforce Nonprofit cloud provides real-time insights that have improved Ashray Akruti’s decision-making, as it now helps them to know how many hearing aids and medicines to order. It aids them in planning the fundraising activities more effectively and they can be more transparent with donors about how their funds will be spent.

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Results - Explain the planned and unplanned advantages of the new market.

In a rapidly changing landscape, whilst the demand for more nonprofit programs and services is rising, so are the demands that nonprofits face to provide transparency in how they spend donations received, in addition to providing constituents with more personalized experiences.  In the Salesforce Nonprofit Trends Report, 85% of 725 nonprofit leaders surveyed said that technology is the key to the success of their organizations. At the same time, 93% stated that the lack of IT or technical staff is a challenge to their organization’s adoption of new technologies.

Ashray Akruti is currently exploring how Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud can be used to collect and analyze 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. As operations are digitalized, the NGO can now easily scale up without increasing its headcount. This also allows them to work and raise funds and manage activities from anywhere. With access to rich reports, they now have a granular view of key metrics around the current number of donors and their contributions in real-time. This data has helped the NGO make informed decisions while engaging with donors, in turn resulting in 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 D.P.K. Babu.

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

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