Tracking Training and Technical Assistance

We have worked with a number of organizations that provide training and technical assistance to member organizations. One example is Children’s Advocacy Centers who support dozens of local agencies. These local agencies provide direct support to children who are victims of abuse. The goal of the regional training and technical assistance programs is to support and educate on best practices across their region. Each local organization is different, but the basic services provided are similar.

The organizations provide training classes and need to know: who has registered, how many actually attend, and how many are unable to attend. They also deliver technical assistance, which includes sending materials, supporting program services such as accreditation, and providing support for the training software used within the agencies. These organizations are largely funded by grants, which require information on how many agencies they serve, how much time was spent on specific support areas, and who provided the support. Having this information also helps the organizations evaluate where they can be more proactive in providing assistance, improve their training, and identify areas where agencies are struggling.  

Challenge: Excel spreadsheets were not meeting their needs

The organizations were primarily tracking this information in Excel spreadsheets. While they were all quite proficient in using Excel, there were some common pain points:  

  • Gathering a summary view of information required looking at many spreadsheets and year over year analysis was extremely time consuming.
  • Required reporting to funders was taking an enormous amount of time.
  • They were unable to see trends with their training participants and technical assistance.
  • It was difficult to have a full view of their work with an individual agency.
Solution: Salesforce with FormAssembly

The goal for the projects was to provide a method for managing the training attendance and to track and easily report on the technical assistance services provided.  Reporting this data to funders was critical.

Easy Registration Process via FormAssembly. Staff at member agencies register for trainings via a FormAssembly page embedded in the regional agency’s website. This registration data flows into Salesforce.

 

Track Training Status. The regional agency uses dashboards to track training metrics.

 

Track Technical Assistance. In addition to training, these regional agencies track their one-on-one work with local organizations. Examples of technical assistance include sending materials, training registration assistance, new staff orientation assistance and strategic planning. Here’s the page they use for entering technical assistance:

 

Report on Technical Assistance. The regional agency uses Salesforce to track key metrics of their technical assistance work. Metrics include analyzing the type of technical assistance provided, how long technical assistance took, and the geographical distribution of their work.

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See 360 degree view of work with an individual agency. Dashboards embedded in local agency detail pages allow regional staff to see all the work done, at a glance.

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Benefits of Moving to Salesforce

The regional agencies have seen many benefits by moving to Salesforce. These benefits include:

  • Improving the accuracy of reporting to funders.
  • Spotting trends in their work by analyzing year over year data.
  • Viewing the totality of their work with an individual agency at a glance.

To learn how these features above were built in Salesforce, read on.

 

Details: How it was done

Training

We used standard Salesforce functionality to manage the trainings and FormAssembly as a means for people to register. Registration data flows directly from FormAssembly forms to Salesforce, which allows us to use standard Salesforce functionality to manage registrants as well. Here is a basic workflow:

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Technical Assistance

The key for technical assistance is for the organization to be able to report on how much time is spent and in what categories.  Categorizing is key for the funding reports as well as for the organization to determine where they are spending their time.  

We created a  custom object with a lookup relationship to both the Account and the Contact. This allows the organization to easily see which accounts and individuals within the accounts are requesting the most support.  It also has allowed them to easily see which accounts are not requesting any support so they can be proactive in reaching out to them.    

The custom object is straightforward with fields for subject, date, time spent, type of assistance, and detailed notes.    

In order to see the full picture of an individual agency, we needed to add an Account lookup to the campaign member record. With this we are able to embed report charts onto the Account page layout that show time spent on TAs and Number of Training courses taken for an individual agency.

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That completes the details on how it was done!