Automatic Meal and Rest Breaks – An Employer’s Guide

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Breaks
Image by Engin_Akyurt from Pixabay

Different forms of rest breaks are important for your employees’ physical and mental well-being. When structured properly, they can have a positive impact on health and safety and also improve the productivity in your workplace.

Workday Breaks 

Breaks during the workday allow employees to rest during the workday. They could be in the form of rest breaks, coffee breaks and meal breaks.

Meal and Rest Breaks
Meal and Rest Breaks

Most national and EU regulations require specific breaks based on the number of hours worked. Depending on the country, some or all of these breaks could be paid or unpaid.

Break Times

Meal breaks and rest breaks are essential for workers during a long work day.  The U.S. Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not mandate an employer to offer meal or rest breaks to employees. But several states have their own laws that obligate employers to give paid and unpaid breaks to employees.

Whether it is mandatory or not, many employers do allot paid /unpaid time for lunch and other breaks. Federal law does designate what time is considered paid and unpaid.

Tracking Break Times

Lunch and rest breaks can be tricky to track. Some employees may forget to clock out. Others may forget to clock back in, when they start working in. This leads to either minutes being added to employee timesheets or being reduced from their time worked. This means that the timesheets are inaccurate and therefore payroll is inaccurate too. In order to make timesheets more accurate, many employers choose to implement automatic time deductions for meals and rest breaks. This ensure that employees get their daily breaks automatically deducted. This is great for employers who want to ensure that they are paying employees accurately. But many people still question the legality of automatic meal and break deductions.

Are Automatic Break Deductions Legal?

Yes! According to the U.S Department of Labor (DOL) and FLSA, it is legal for employers to automatically deduct lunch breaks. As long as the employee actually takes the lunch break. A legal meal break has to last at least 30 minutes according to the FLSA. The key is that employers need to communicate meal periods unambiguously to employees.

Unpaid Meal Breaks

States that enact meal break laws require a half hour break if the employee’s work day is longer than 5 or 6 hours. These meal breaks must be at least 30 minutes long, according to the FLSA. Meal breaks are uncompensated as the employee does not perform any work duties during this time.  If an employee works during the meal break, she has the right to be paid for that time.

Paid Rest Breaks

Rest periods are smaller breaks that are 5 to 20 minutes long. These breaks are compensated as they are considered normal working time. Some states require 10-minute break times for every 4 hours of an employee’s shift. These short breaks are generally considered to promote better productivity.

You can find more information about which hours are considered paid and unpaid.

Keeping Track of Breaks Automatically

Configuring Automatic Breaks
Configuring Automatic Breaks

You can keep track of your employee’s work times by implementing an easy-to-use time tracking app in your operations. With the Mobile Time Tracker’s Auto Breaks feature, you can automatically deduct time from employee timecards, based on the specifications that you have set up. You can add as many break rules as you need to ensure that your employees break times are properly accounted for.

Why use the Auto Breaks Feature?

Managers and Administrators have a lot on their plates when it comes to tracking employee times. Week after week, they need to make sure that all employee work and break time is recorded automatically. The Time Tracker’s Auto Breaks feature does the heavy lifting for you. It can automatically apply the break rules, based on the rules that you have set up.

Make sure that you are complying with all federal and local laws concerning break times. That way you avoid trouble with employees, DOL and FLSA. And you make sure that your payroll is accurate.

 

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Have you converted Volunteers to Donors?

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Convert Volunteers to Dono

Looking to grow your donor base? A fantastic place to start is to convert your Volunteers to Donors. According to Abila’s Donor Loyalty Study, 75% of those who volunteered say they are more likely to donate. That is an overwhelming statistic and one that nonprofits should leverage. Studies also show that volunteers donate 10 times more than non-volunteers.

So how do you convert volunteers to donors for your nonprofit? Here are five best practices to help you convert volunteers to donors.

Acknowledge Volunteers like you do Donors

Treat your volunteers right. They may not make monetary contributions.  But the time that they donate to your nonprofit has a tangible monetary value. According to the Independent Sector, the  value of Volunteer Time in 2019 was $ 25.43 per hour. So a volunteer who spends 10 hours with you, has made a contribution of over $ 250 to your nonprofit.

Are you telling your volunteers how much you appreciate their time and effort? Try and do that at as many opportunities as possible. If you can, try to quantify their activity into how much money or time they’ve saved your organization.

For example, “The supporters that you brought to the Annual Walkathon helped us raise an additional $ 5000 this year. This will help us serve another 100 people. Your time and effort helped make this possible!”

Track all volunteer activity

Do you track all volunteer hours diligently? Do you have reports that tell you how many hours a volunteer spent with you this year vs last year? Can you track volunteer retention rates?

Tracking each volunteer interaction gives you a better understanding of the volunteer’s engagement with your organization. And, if you don’t know how the volunteer helped, how can you appropriately thank them?

Tracking all the volunteer hours spent with your organization provide great statistics for grant requests too.

Acknowledge Volunteer Milestones

Volunteer Awards Report
Volunteer Awards Report

Tracking all volunteer hours lets you keep track of specific volunteer milestones. Set up simple acknowledgements or rewards for when volunteers complete specific hour-based or time-based milestones. For example, a volunteer reaches 50 hours this year or completes 3 years of volunteering with you. Reach out to the volunteer. Make a public gesture. Show them that you are aware of their effort and interest in your cause.

Give your volunteers opportunities to share their experiences

Social media share
Social media share

Give your volunteers easy ways for them to share their experience on social media. Use their experience quotes on your website, in a newsletter. Talk to your volunteers about why they do what they do. They can become great ambassadors for your cause. And that may inspire their friends to become donors to your nonprofit.

Ask your Volunteers

Finally, just get down and ask your volunteers for donations. Communication is key, whether it’s with volunteers or donors. According to the Institute for Fundraising, 8 out of 10 people donate after being asked to do so. Don’t assume that your volunteers know your cause and therefore will donate automatically. Maybe they don’t know that your organization needs the money; they may just know that you need volunteers. They may not even know the best or easiest way to donate.

So a simple , straight forward ask may suffice. Perhaps you could set up a way for volunteers to donate a small amount every month. Think of it as a SIP donation plan for volunteers. They could give you $ 10/20/50 every month. That may be easier for some volunteers.

Have you already converted some volunteers to donors? How did you do it? Do share your stories with us.

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Automatic Case Time Tracking in Salesforce

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Assume that your Customer Support gets a Case that comes in late Friday evening. It doesn’t get worked on until Monday morning. While your Support Team spends just 10 minutes working on the Case, the Case Age calculation tells you that it took almost 3 days to close! Throws your Case handling metrics completely out of whack, doesn’t it? So how do you find the actual time spent on the Case?

With the Mobile Time Tracker version 1.52, we’ve introduced a new Lightning Component to automatically track time. You can select the Objects that you want to automatically track time for. Your Salesforce Administrator can set up the Lightning Component for any/all objects that you want automatic time tracking  for. In this specific case, your administrator sets up and activates the Track Time component for Cases.

The Track Time Lightning Component

Automatic Time Tracker component
Automatic Time Tracker component

Now, every time an agent opens the Case View page for a specific Case, the timer automatically tracks time spent viewing the Case. If the agent closes the view page or navigates away to a different page, we automatically update a Time Detail log. Let’s say your agent navigates to a specific Case multiple times, then we create a Time Detail log each time. Assume different agents access the same Case, then each agents’ time is tracked against that Case. And your agents do not need to click on a timer or do anything special. All she does is View the Case that she’s working on. Finally, a simple Salesforce report gives you a summary of all the time that has been spent by one or more agents on that Case.

Increased visibility

Case Time Report
Case Time Report

Your Case metrics are no longer skewed by night times, weekends or holidays. You get clear insight into actual time spent by agents on Cases. You no longer need to guess why some Cases take longer than others. The data and statistics are clear and compelling.

Accountability

Your staffing decisions, reports, stats to leadership and service bills to customers all have solid data to back them up. Respond to questions about time spent with confidence.

Native Salesforce component

The Track Time component integrates seamlessly into your Salesforce Lightning environment. All time tracking data is safely stored in Salesforce. That makes integration with billing and payroll systems simple and effective. And with Salesforce, it’s easy to create any additional reports you need.

More uses of the Track Time component

Assume that you set up the Track Time component on your Salesforce Accounts object. Law firms can easily use the Track Time component to track time that lawyers and paralegals spend on specific customer accounts. Now you can manage billable time with minimal effort.

Set up the component on Opportunities or Leads.  You get complete insight into how much time your Salespeople are spending on each Opportunity.

Set up the component on Projects. Now you have a view of the time your operations team spends on Projects.

The possibilities are endless with automatic time tracking.

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5 ways to manage your business while on vacation!

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—Pngtree—fresh sea travel graduation tour_912789Vacation time isn’t just a perk for employees – business owners and entrepreneurs need a break just as much, if not more. They are a time for spending much needed time with your family and/or friends as well as for de-stressing and revitalizing yourself, while refreshing your mind with new ideas. But not only is it common for small business owners to not take vacations, they are known to worry when they do take one.

But the fact is that a vacation is one of the best things that you can do for yourself, your business and your customers:

  • A vacation gives you a physical and mental break.
  • You’ll learn that your employees and customers can live without you for a few days. Perhaps, you’ll even discover a key employee who can be your trusted lieutenant.
  • You’ll come back with a refreshed perspective and new ideas for your business
  • Most importantly, you’ll avoid burnout and resentment that can destroy employee and customer relationships.

With all the technology available today, you can thwart vacation anxiety and go on a relaxing vacation with things running smoothly in your absence. Here are some tips to get rid of vacation anxiety while you’re away, whether you’re relaxing on the beach, hiking up those mountains or chasing animals on safari.

  1. Choose the right person to hold the fort for you: The absolute first thing that you should do is to select a trusted employee to stand in for you. Make sure that it’s someone who knows your business well. Ensure that you transition smoothly by going over routine and unexpected tasks with her/him. Figure out what issues constitute an emergency where s/he should get in touch with you right away.
  2. Communicate with your customers and staff: Problems arise if customers expect you to be around but can’t get in touch. Tell them about your vacation plans in advance. Remind them before you leave. Let them know who’ll be in charge and what they should expect. Make sure you tell your employees too. Keep them informed of how much/little time you plan to spend on work-related matters. Clarify your expectations, so that your team knows how and when to reach out to you.
  3. Set boundaries for yourself: Just as you set boundaries for your customers and employees, set boundaries for yourself. Forty percent of travelers agreed that their smartphone was the most important thing that they take on vacation. And that they check work emails often. But let’s face it, it’s not a vacation if you stay glued to your phone all day. If you’ve committed to staying in touch via email every day, pick convenient time slots and stick with it. If you plan on spending an hour every day on work, ideally pick a 30-minute slot in the morning when the rest of your vacation group is getting ready and a 30-minute slot in the evening when you can check emails, calls, chats. Avoid the temptation to check in more frequently.
  4. Manage your phone and email: You may be on vacation, but the rest of your world isn’t.
    • Set up an email auto-responder and a voice mail message clearly stating the dates that you will be out of reach
    • Tell people that you will get back to them after you return if it is a non-urgent matter
    • Make sure that the message has details of who they should get in touch with for urgent matters
    • If there is an issue that you need to deal with, do it in the time that you’ve set apart for work
    • Only respond to critical matters. Make a note of the other matters, so that you can deal with them after you get back
    • If there is something really urgent and critical, then a face to face meeting with your stand-in or other employees or customers may be necessary. Use Facetime. Google Hangouts, Google Duo or Skype for a live video-chat.
  5. Stay in the loop with collaboration tools: If your team uses a web-based collaboration tool such as Trello, Asana, Slack or Evernote, use it to stay in the loop – but within the boundaries you’ve set for yourself. If your team uses project management or time tracking tools, you can check your daily/weekly reports. Again, within the time boundaries that you’ve set for yourself. With access to tools like this, you’ll realize that you can troubleshoot in real time, without being tied to your office desk. And that your business is running just fine.

Running a business on vacation, may be a challenge. But it’s definitely something that can be done. All it needs is some planning and preparation and making use of technology to stay in touch. So if you’re off on a vacation, go on. Have a great time!

 

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6 Top Time Clock Rules for Hourly Employees

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As an employer, you have many responsibilities but perhaps the most important one is complying with government rules and regulations. Recently, the time clock rules for hourly employees have changed and you need to make sure that you  comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). You need to be compliant in recording work hours, breaks, overtime and calculating wages for hourly employees.

The Department of Labor (DOL) is very strict about enforcing time clock rules. If you break these rules,  your company can be penalized with substantial fines for every lapse. The best way to ensure that you fulfill federal and state time clock rules is to use a good time tracking software system.  Ensure that the system tracks employees clocking in and out at the beginning and end of their workday. And lets them check in and out of specific jobs/projects.

Hourly Vs Salaried Employees

When understanding the FLSA rules, the most critical thing is the difference between salaried and hourly employees.

A salaried employee receives pay based on an annual sum or salary. As the employer, you decide the pay period – weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. A salaried employee is not obligated to complete a time sheet, though you may use one for project management or other tracking purposes. The salaried employee’s pay is based on the salary as a whole, rather than on the actual hours worked. So, if a salaried employee works a little over or under the normal 40-hour work week, the employer doesn’t need to keep track of their work hours.

An hourly employee, gets paid by the hour for the number of hours that they worked. As the employer, you decide how many hours your hourly employee must work. Some US states and cities have authorized predictive scheduling laws that mandate that hourly employees be given a specified  amount of notice of the hours they need to work.

An hourly worker is obligated to record their working hours through a timesheet or timecard system that the employer must verify.

Time Clock rules for Hourly Employees

To help you with your FLSA obligations with hourly employees, we reviewed the important rules that you need to keep in mind. These rules are for your hourly employees clocking in and out and tracking their work hours. Here are the top 6:

  • Time tracking system
  • Reported Hours Rounding
  • Maintaining time sheet records
  • Clocking in and out
  • Confirming hours
  • Clarifying time tracking policies

Time Tracking System

The FLSA does not obligate you to use any specific kind of time tracking system.

Mobile and web time tracking
Mobile, web & Salesforce time tracking

You are free to choose any type of system to track employee time as long as it is accurate. It’s important that the system that you use tracks actual hours worked including any breaks.

dftly’s Time Tracker app is used by many businesses to track time for individual employees and teams. It works on mobile devices, on web pages and within Salesforce, with all time tracking data securely inside Salesforce, regardless of what device it was recorded on. Click here to see how your employees can record their time easily and accurately, wherever they may be working.

Rounding work hours.

The FLSA allows you to round your employees’ reported time to the nearest specified increment. You are permitted to round your employees’ time up or down. For example, if you are rounding off in 10-minute intervals and your employee finishes work at 5:16 p.m., the time should be rounded up to 5:20 p.m.

You need to round up and down fairly. If you are always rounding down (where minutes are deducted), you may be breaking overtime and minimum wage laws.

Make sure that your time tracking system automatically rounds up or down to ensure accuracy and fairness. If the rounding up has caused your employees to be entitled to overtime, then you are obligated to pay that overtime, based on the overtime laws for your state/city.

Maintaining time sheet records

Employers are required to keep time cards (or other records) that demonstrate how your hourly employees wages were calculated for a period of at least two years. The two-year period is required by the US Department of Labor and you are required to provide access to the Wage and Hour Division access to inspect your records when necessary. So make sure that your time tracking software can store timesheet records for as long as necessary. With the Time Tracker, since all records are stored securely in Salesforce, you can always maintain time records for the necessary time-frames.

Clocking in and out

As the employer, you can decide whether your hourly employees are allowed to clock in early or clock out late. However, it should only be a few minutes and not hours. With the Time Tracker, you can easily add a limit on clocking in early and clocking out late. In addition, you can configure the Time Tracker to automatically log out or check out an employee after a certain number of hours or minutes for mandatory break times.

Confirming hours

Your hourly workers should have the opportunity to confirm their hours at the

Employees verify worked hours
Employees verify worked hours

end of every pay period. Although a good time tracking system would have recorded the work time accurately, your hourly employees should be able to review and verify their hours,

Your time tracking system should give you or a designated supervisor/manager with the functionality to approve time cards. In addition, you or the manager should receive emails notifications if there are any anomalies in the time cards.

Clarifying time tracking policies

Use photos to avoid buddy punching
Use photos to avoid buddy punching

As the employer, you must inform all hourly employees of the policies and procedures regarding your time clock rules. We suggest that you include it as part of your employee handbook and provide training on how to use the time tracking system. Policies that should be explained include:

  • What happens if employees are caught tampering, or attempting to tamper with the time tracking system
  • The consequences if employees are caught trying to commit time theft
  • What happens if employees are caught buddy punching (trying to clock in and out for their colleagues).

Make the right choice for your business

Given the importance of adhering to time clock rules, it may be impossible to adhere to state and federal requirements, with just manual time cards. Investing in a good, accurate time tracking software system is the right choice for most businesses. It’s not just about potential legal and compliance problems, but you could be losing money on payroll, if you are not correctly calculating work hours with overtime and rounding.

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Checking in volunteer groups with V4S Kiosk

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Checking in volunteer groups is one of the toughest things to handle for volunteer managers. Having a group of volunteers come in to volunteer together is fantastic. But tracking those new volunteers and their work time? Now that is a real challenge for you as a Volunteer Manager or Coordinator.

Multiple volunteer signup by number
Multiple volunteer signup by number

Volunteers for Salesforce gives you the functionality of adding in the number of volunteers that come as a part of a group. The point person for a group can set the total number of people in the group. This screenshot shows you how a group leader signs up a group of 20 volunteers using V4S Personal on her mobile.

But that’s really all you can record with the standard Volunteers for Salesforce data structure. The fact that the group leader is bringing in 19 other people, other than herself. There’s no way to track who the individual members of the group are. Or any of their contact information.

Extend volunteer value

For your organization, that individual volunteer data is critical. You want to be able to keep track of every volunteer that ever comes in touch with your organization. A volunteer that comes as part of a group could very likely become a repeat individual volunteer.  If you build a deeper relationship and extend communication with that volunteer, she or he could contribute to your organization by becoming more involved.

Working with group volunteers in V4S Kiosk

Based on requests and interactions with several of our V4S Kiosk customers,

Checking in group volunteers
Checking in group volunteers

we’ve now introduced a new feature to check in multiple volunteers that come in as part of a group. If the group leader comes in a little earlier than the Job / Shift start time, then she can Signup the other volunteers in her group to the specific Job / Shift. Note the

Volunteer group dropdown
Volunteer group dropdown

way that the Add multiple volunteers screen is set up in V4S Kiosk. If you have multiple volunteer groups that are coming in, you could sign up people from different groups using the same screen, by selecting the right group name for the specific volunteer that you are signing up.

If your organization requires that each volunteer sign a waiver form, you would be able to set that up. When the individual volunteer checks in to start work on the Job / Shift, she would be asked to read and sign a waiver form, right within V4S Kiosk.

Volunteer data in Salesforce

volunteer data in salesforceAll the new volunteers signed in on the V4S Kiosk get added to Volunteers as Salesforce as Contact records, with the configured Volunteer Group field updated. If so configured, the Date Waiver signed and the actual waiver signed along with the signature is stored inside Salesforce. Now you have the luxury of being able to get to all volunteer data easily and securely, right inside Salesforce.

Just imagine how much effort and time you would save with group corporate volunteers. Additionally, using the Waiver add-on would give you the ability to save effort with tracking volunteer waivers and being compliant legally. Now isn’t that something you should be checking out?

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Time tracking in Salesforce

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Two years ago, we started down the route of time tracking on mobile devices for field and remote workers. All data from the mobile devices synced back into Salesforce in near real-time. Our goal was to give field workers the ability to get their work times into Salesforce on a mobile. We did build a simple way to track time automatically within Salesforce, but it was quite limited in functionality.

From our market research, we saw that there was a need for time tracking data to be synced to Salesforce. Since invoicing, project management and payroll were all within Salesforce, that work hours should be in Salesforce too made sense. PSA apps, ERP apps… all included time tracking as a part of their functionality. And those apps tracked work time for employees who worked within Salesforce. So, we decided that we would not play in that space – at the time.

Mobile and web apps

Mobile Time Tracker Clock out
Mobile Time Tracker Clock out

Our initial focus was on the mobile space where field workers and remote workers could track their work times. Our goal was to enable workers to track time easily and with little fuss on their familiar phones. Soon after, based on customer requests, we rolled out a Web-based Time Tracker. This was meant for workers who were not comfortable using mobile apps. The one big feature that we added in the Web version was the ability for users to enter time after the fact. This enabled workers to enter their time at the end of the day. Soon we rolled out the capability to enter multiple lines on a timesheet. Now, people who worked on multiple jobs during the day could enter a full timesheet once a day or week.

Time sheet entries on mobile, web or in Salesforce
Timesheet entries on mobile and web

With more customer requests, we added more functionality to both the Web and the mobile apps. We introduced configurable fields that could be displayed on both the mobile and on web apps. A new Team time tracking app on the mobile lets a single Team Lead check her entire team in. We updated the mobile app to allow configurable geo-tracking and photographs. This feature allowed us to minimize buddy punching. We introduced addresses that could be opened in Google/Apple maps to help field people find their next job-site. On the web app, we added an Approval mechanism for timesheets. Now managers and supervisors can approve/reject time entries for team members.

Over a year and a half, both the mobile app and the web apps grew with more functionality. But we did not do much on the Salesforce time tracking functionality.

Time Tracking in Salesforce

Over this calendar year, though, we’ve seen a renewed interest in time tracking inside Salesforce. To the point where now, over 60% of our leads are looking for Time Tracking within Salesforce.

The May 2019 EU Court of Justice ruling and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requirements have pushed time tracking to center stage. Any business that has employees is now affected by regulatory compliance for time worked, overtime calculation and break time compliance. And that has pushed interest in time tracking within Salesforce.

Time sheet entry in Salesforce

Luckily for us, because of our Mobile app, we had a lot of functionality within Salesforce already. The objects themselves, reports,  dashboards – all these existed. We have now added a number of other functions that make life easier with Salesforce. Some examples:

  • A Lightning component that can be added as a Time Tracker pop-up from the Salesforce utility bar, to track time against ANY object, including the one that the user is currently working on.
  • A multi-check in time tracking option that helps enter their complete timesheet for a day or a week at a time, after-the-fact.
  • A Summary Timesheet page that helps users within Salesforce select a date and add/see all the time entries for that day, so users can make sure they’ve recorded all their work for a given date.

Overall, we now have one of the strongest offerings for time tracking, be it on the mobile, on the Web or within Salesforce. And the best part is that you could have a combination of users, some using our mobile app, some on the web and others inside Salesforce. Regardless of where the time tracking happens, Salesforce is the single repository of all time tracking data. So integration with payroll, invoicing and ERP systems becomes that much easier.

We are thrilled to say now that we are the Timekeepers for Salesforce!

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Youth activism – how gen Z has real power to influence the future!

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Greta Thunberg

I watched spellbound as Greta Thunberg made her powerful, moving speech to world leaders at the UN Climate Action Summit. I was struck by how young people have risen to the major challenges facing us. The last 18 months have been full of political, environmental and social change. Issues such as sexual harassment, LGBT rights, regime changes, US gun control laws, democracy movements and climate change have taken center stage. And in every single case, it’s young people who have been at the forefront of these movements. From the US to Europe and from Sudan to Hong Kong, it’s young people who have taken the leadership role.

September 20 protest

Let’s take last Friday’s Global Climate Strike as an example. In August 2018, Greta was alone in skipping class to protest climate inaction. Following her lead, young people have been walking out of school in larger numbers. It culminated in last Friday’s Global Climate Strike. Worldwide, over 4 million people in 2000 cities joined the school strike. That’s remarkable growth in just over a year. Young people have addressed both the US Congress and leaders at the United Nations Climate Summit.  This has been a spectacular month for youth activism.

Youth activism in making far-reaching changes is not new. Hermione Granger’s S.P.E.W. is a case in point 🙂 But more seriously. A look back at recent social and environmental movements prove that youth activism CAN shape the debate around climate change.

A proud history of activism

We are approaching the 60th anniversary of the Greensboro sit-ins where

Civil rights protest
Civil rights protest

students flouted segregation by asking to be served.  Young people played an important role throughout the American civil rights movement’s crucial points. They helped to desegregate schools, challenge racism and increase voter registration. The Vietnam War protests, the Tiananmen Square protests, the Hong Kong democracy protests, the Arab Spring and the US gun control protests are notable youth movements over the last 50 years. The common theme in these protests was that there was a single clear authority to protest against.

A tough challenge

Today’s young climate change activists face a much tougher challenge than their predecessors. How do you get change when there is no single entity that can pass the required laws and guidelines? Change will have to come from protests individually in each country.

Student activists in Davos
Student activists in Davos

While getting through to politicians is tough, global business leaders may be a better audience. With an estimated purchasing power of US$ 44B globally, companies are looking to tap into Gen Z’s purchasing power. And recent campaigns by young activists have succeeded in making some companies change their ways.

Young activists have used social media and digital platforms in innovative ways to connect with each other and to organize leaderless protests. Companies that want to understand how these digital natives use social media, are racing to connect with them.

As with any activism, persuading people to change is always an uphill task. But

Gandhi quote on environment
Gandhi quote on environment

the one thing that today’s youth activists have shown is their desire for a better society. Governments, corporations and ordinary people – all need to buy into tackling climate change. If the young activists can speed up this process, then more power to them! After all as Mahatma Gandhi once said “The earth, the air, the land and the water are not an inheritance from our forefathers, but on loan from our children.

 

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Measuring Nonprofit Impact and Outcomes – data is key!

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After School ProgramsAs an organization, your nonprofit’s impact, perhaps it’s very existence is based upon the outcome it has on your community and stakeholders. Underlying everything that you do are some key questions that you should be able to answer:

  • Do our programs make a real difference to the people that we serve?
  • What evidence of impact can we show to our funders and other stakeholders?
  • Given that our resources are finite, what programs should we focus on?

Answering these questions means that you need to have the data to back it up. Unfortunately, there’s no magic wand that you can wave to bring all the data together. It means putting in place systems and technology to gather the data in as easy a manner as possible.

In this article, we talk about nonprofits that focus on after-school programs, summer camps, sports programs, music, dance and art programs. Especially ones that deal with children and youth. In the time that we’ve worked in this area, we found that there are three basic  pillars that you need for success.

  1. Automate manual tasks (get more face time with the kids)
  2. Build your systems for scale (do it right and you will grow)
  3. Track the right data (prove your impact and secure more funding)

Automate Manual Tasks

Class Attendance Tracking
Class Attendance Tracking

Software can help to automate tedious, manual processes. One example of this is attendance tracking for your programs. Instead of spending time, manually completing this task with clipboard and paper or a spreadsheet, use a mobile app to automate this process. It not only saves you time on the front-end, but lets you gather additional data that you can use later to review for county / state compliance requirements and to review individual student attendance. If you use Salesforce’s Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP) and Volunteers for Salesforce (V4S), you already have the basic building blocks in place. It’s simple to configure V4S’s Jobs and Shifts structure to track course and class enrollment and attendance. Most importantly, this automation puts time back in the hands of your staff members or volunteers handling the classes. Time that can be spent interacting with the students face-to-face, giving them more hands-on help.

So automate those mundane tasks quickly, and give the children the attention they need to get the most out of your programs.

Build your systems for scale

With the education and crime problems that youth are facing in our society, nonprofits that work with youth need to step up and have a bigger impact to help with the problems. Research indicates that nonprofit organizations that grow, prepare systematically for growth. This means that you need to put in place plans and priorities. You need to have in place systems and processes that will help you scale to the next level. Fortunately, if you are already using Salesforce NPSP, you already have in place a system that will grow with you and scale infinitely with you. What you need to do is ensure that you put in place the right criteria for your programs and make sure that they are properly tracked in Salesforce.

Track the right data

Track relevant outcome data
Track relevant outcome data

You need to track the data that will help move your nonprofit’s mission forward. So decide what those outcomes should be. Outcomes could range form improving grade-level reading or math skills for elementary school students to improving standardized test scores for high school students. With Salesforce, you get the breadth and depth of platform to collect any amount of data for any size population very easily. And with the wealth of reports and dashboards, you can analyze the outcomes you want accurately and precisely. You can communicate easily with student stakeholders, giving them updates about individual students. With the ability to prove your impact to funders and grant makers, the more likely you are to receive additional funding.

So train your staff and volunteers to properly use your software for data collection. Show them the big picture and convince them that collecting data is worthwhile. After all, it’s measuring the outcomes of your efforts that matter. And that’s possible only with the right data.

 

 

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