Coastal Cloud is a platinum Salesforce consulting partner, with a Nonprofit Solutions team focused on delivering Salesforce solutions that meet the unique needs of nonprofit organizations. Coastal Cloud has worked with Habitat for Humanity affiliates, including Lexington Habitat and Dallas Habitat, and has multiple Coastal staff members with over 15 combined years of experience working at Habitat affiliates. Coastal Cloud’s work with Habitat includes customizing and extending HomeKeeper to support processes specific to affiliates’ work with homeowner families. Coastal Cloud partnered with Dallas Habitat for Humanity to create an online client portal using a Salesforce product called Customer Community.

What is the purpose of the online portal?

Coastal Cloud and Dallas Habitat identified a need for clients (homeowners) to access some of the critical information stored in HomeKeeper, as well as a need for affiliate staff and homeowners to communicate and update one another throughout the housing counseling and homebuying process. Coastal Cloud created a Salesforce Customer Community for Dallas Habitat. The Community (online portal) allows potential clients to check their eligibility and complete an application. Once accepted into the program, homeowners can monitor progress on sweat equity, action plans, and budgets. They can also register for housing education classes and access an online knowledge base. The result? Habitat affiliate staff experienced significant time savings in processing applications and completing the intake process, resulting in happy homeowners and satisfied staff.  

Blaine Cowart of Dallas Habitat for Humanity reported the following after one day of using the new functionality:

Today we launched our new program application process, using the Salesforce Community/FormAssembly approach for our first cohort of applicants… and it’s safe to say that “excited” would be a serious understatement! We’ve intaked several applications today, and things have gone very smoothly. Our clients have shared that they’re blown away by how quickly we were able to contact them regarding next steps. We’ve taken a complicated 1-2 week process, and automated it to under an hour. We’ve also increased our class registration numbers by 400% just today, due to clients’ clear understanding of next steps, and their ability to easily register through the community.

How can potential clients apply online?

Coastal Cloud employed a tool already in use at Dallas Habitat (FormAssembly) to create an eligibility check and application form for interested homeowners. Coastal Cloud configured the community so that potential  homeowners can only check eligibility and complete the application once without manual override by affiliate staff, thus reducing the extensive duplicate problem previously faced by Dallas Habitat. Homeowners register for the community and are directed to first complete the eligibility check. The data is stored in Salesforce, and if the homeowner passes the eligibility screen, they can complete the full application. All of the application information is also stored in Salesforce. Habitat staff review the data and choose to approve or reject the applicant. Regardless of application status, homeowners can still take advantage of the free education resources in the Customer Community’s knowledge base. 

Homeowner Community Landing Page with Application Form link
How can homeowners see and interact with their client information?

Once accepted, homeowners can see their client file (Service File) in the Customer Community. They can also view and update certain types of records, such as action plans and budgets. Homeowners can upload files as needed, and those files are then available for the Habitat staff to view as well. As homeowners navigate throughout their records in the Customer Community, they can also use a tool called Chatter to communicate directly with their housing counselor or case worker (Habitat affiliate staff). Staff are able to see messages and respond back to the homeowner as needed. The Customer Community increases transparency and communication between homeowners and Habitat staff. Homeowners can see exactly the next steps they need to take in the housing counseling and homebuyer readiness process and can easily touch base with staff without calling or driving to the affiliate office. Similarly, Habitat staff have all of the information they need at their fingertips to manage their homeowners’ progress through the program.

Client Budget with Chatter request from housing counselor

 

Is there anything Coastal Cloud wants Habitat affiliates to know before pursuing an online portal?

The Salesforce Customer Community product is a separate product from HomeKeeper and base Nonprofit Cloud Salesforce licenses. The Customer Community licenses give external users (homeowners) access to the portal. The Customer Community is not pre-built; Coastal Cloud uses configurable templates provided by Salesforce to create a portal tailored to each affiliate. Coastal Cloud can work with your affiliate to determine your specific needs in an online portal, and create a Community that provides your homeowners with exactly the access and information they need.

 

Coastal Cloud is a Salesforce platinum consulting partner and a Salesforce.org Premium consulting partner. Coastal Cloud has partnered with over 600 companies and nonprofit organizations to complete over 2,000 Salesforce implementation projects. Our Nonprofit Solutions team has direct industry experience in the nonprofit sector, as well as deep consulting experience working specifically with nonprofit organizations. You can reach the Coastal Cloud Nonprofit Solutions team at kathy.brown@coastalcloud.us.