FinancialForce Technology Transforms Education for Women in Africa

Single platform approach helps non-profit organisation scale its impact and ensure delivery of best-in-class service to girls and donors

FinancialForce today announced that Camfed, the campaign for female education in Africa, has transformed its operations through the use of FinancialForce and Salesforce technology, enhancing how it serves its clients (girls in rural Africa), their communities and donor partners, as the non-profit undergoes a period of rapid growth.

The non-profit organisation’s mission is to support girls in rural Africa to go to school, and empower young women to become change-makers in their communities. Girls’ education has been recognised globally as the best investment nations can make to break the cycle of poverty, improve health, increase economic growth, as well as mitigate climate change. Camfed has seen a rapid expansion of its community-led programmes over the past three years, and in 2014 pledged to support 1 million girls to go to secondary school within just five years.

To manage this scaling, Camfed has expanded the use of the Salesforce Customer Success Platform as a single, organisation-wide system. The expansion helped increase organisational efficiency, transparency and accountability by providing accurate, often real-time data to teams across seven countries with the objective of having “a single screen per girl.” This means that all information pertaining to each student is now held on one system, on a single record, providing accurate information. The system tracks a client’s circumstances, entitlements, financial transactions, school attendance, retention and progression, as well as her ‘give-back’ activities as she joins Camfed’s formidable CAMA alumnae network, now 55,358 strong across Zimbabwe, Ghana, Malawi, Zambia and Tanzania.

Camfed also has switched its finance processes to run on FinancialForce Financial Management applications built natively on the Salesforce platform to gain a holistic programme overview with the ability to report to existing and potential donors. This has made Salesforce the backbone of the organisation, managing nearly all critical processes in a context where the number of records handled per year across all programmes went from 30,000 to 130,000, making certain manual financial processes unfeasible.

Already, Camfed’s financial team has reported saving weeks of time through the integration of Salesforce and FinancialForce. This has in turn provided the opportunity to repurpose experienced staff for the benefit of Camfed’s programmes.

The provision of accurate information helps Camfed manage its programmes effectively and ensures donors and recipients are receiving the best possible service. Using a cloud-based platform means there is no expensive hardware or software required for data uploaded by teachers from their Android mobile phones at 5,270 government partner schools in Africa. Accuracy is improved as new information is verified against data from community workers, minimising the risk of error and corruption. The system is also easy to use and gives instant acknowledgment so that enumerators know when data submitted has been recorded.

The ability to host Salesforce CRM data and financial data through FinancialForce applications on one platform is transforming our operations,” says Daniel Probert, head of IT innovation at Camfed. “It provides the technological infrastructure that enables our partner communities to respond with urgency and deliver girls’ education at scale, while providing the data we need to monitor and evaluate our programmes, and put the innovative ideas of our alumnae – who are now leading on programmes – into action.

Camfed is so successful because it has made technology an intrinsic part of its culture and operation across its entire ecosystem, to connect with its donors, activists and the girls themselves in entirely new ways,” said, Charlotte Finn, VP Programmes, EMEA, Salesforce.org.

Adrian Ivanov, chief customer officer at FinancialForce adds, “Scaling quickly is always a difficult process to manage in front office as well as back office. Ensuring donors’ funds are tracked, monitored and used in the best possible way is essential for Camfed. Its strategy to provide a ‘single screen per girl’ is made much easier through adding financials onto the Salesforce platform, already in use to record all data such as donor funding and progress in each individual girl’s education. All relevant team members have access to the same real-time information enabling more collaboration and the ability to be more responsive to its cause.”

Camfed has made a commitment to change the world through girls’ education and women’s empowerment, and attracting and maintaining donor partners is key to its mission. Using a one platform strategy provides Camfed with the high standard of reporting needed to prove the effectiveness of its programme, especially as the organisation is now starting to record the investment its alumnae and communities are making in girls’ education, providing even greater value for donors’ money.

Camfed will continue to look for ways to innovate with technology to scale its impact and improve the way it runs its programmes as it continues its mission to eradicate poverty in Africa.

Author: Dylan Jones

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