The Telling Room

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Organization Background

The Telling Room in Portland, Maine, is dedicated to the idea that children and young adults are natural storytellers and that the power of creative expression can change communities and prepare youth for future success. Focused on young writers ages 6 to 18, the organization seeks to empower youth through writing, to build confidence, strengthen literacy skills, and provide real audiences for students. In 2015, the Telling Room was presented with a National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award by First Lady Michelle Obama.

Our Work

Over the last several years, we’ve partnered with the Telling Room to provide strategic advisory and software implementation and support, including business-grade email, a modern cloud-based file system, and maintenance and upgrades to their custom Salesforce Nonprofit CRM instance. As the organization expanded, it became clear they would need an upgraded CRM to meet their evolving needs. We performed a software analysis and strategic roadmap that included an inventory of the current state of their software, as well as a prioritization of needs and requirements based on interviews with each of the key stakeholders.

What we learned from our longstanding relationship with the Telling Room and our interviews with staff was that their major focus was continuing to enhance the way that the Telling Room communicates to each and every person that the organization touches. The need to get a 360-degree view of each relationship put a major emphasis on donor management functionality within any possible CRM option. Other top priorities were usability and scalability so that the software could meet their needs as the organization continued to grow. The system would need to integrate with new peer-to-peer social networking tools so the organization could reach more parents, students, donors, and business sponsors online. As a nonprofit, they also needed a program that would provide top-notch self-service and customer service. We presented a shortlist of critically evaluated software that met all of this criteria and performed an in-depth analysis of fit and scope. Using a weighted scale, we presented the Telling Room with three options and made a recommendation that they ultimately wound up choosing. In collaboration with the software company, we helped roll it out, identifying along the way opportunities for the tool to integrate with other modern marketing platforms, such as their email and website. Now, the Telling Room has a software system that allows them to input anyone who ever interacts with the organization — whether it’s a student, parent, donor, or volunteer — providing a 360-degree view of interactions, and ultimately allowing them to fundraise more strategically.

In order to integrate the new CRM into their existing website, we were also tasked with performing a full remediation of security and performance on TellingRoom​.Org. We continue to maintain their site to this day to ensure it is in tiptop shape from a speed, functionality, and security perspective, while also providing strategic advisory so that the Telling Room continues to most efficiently digitally reach its audience.

The Takeaway

By careful listening and detailed analysis, we were able to steer a growing organization toward a modern nonprofit CRM and donor management system that will revolutionize their organization and the way they raise money, ultimately allowing them to do more of the impactful work they do.

The Telling Room