Communities In Schools of the Dallas Region (CIS Dallas) Improves Coordination and Communication Across Programs with Exponent Case Management

Meet Communities in Schools

Communities In Schools (CIS) is a nonprofit organization that aims to help at-risk students from pre-K through 12th grade to overcome barriers to their education. Communities In Schools of the Dallas Region (CIS Dallas) is part of a larger organization with over 130 affiliates across the US. The program started as a dropout prevention program for at-risk high school students in the 1970s. However, since its establishment in Dallas in 1985, CIS Dallas has evolved to serve students in 130 public schools spanning 14 school districts.

Site Coordinators: The Key to CIS Dallas’s Approach

CIS Dallas’s approach involves placing trained site coordinators on campus who collaborate with existing school personnel to identify students who are at risk of dropping out, and have academic, attendance, or behavioral and mental health challenges. These coordinators work with the identified students to develop a customized service plan and provide individual, group, and school-wide services to address underlying barriers that may hinder academic performance, attendance, and behavior.

Navigating Mental Health Complexities in School-Age Children

There is no denying that the intersectionality between mental health in school-age children is complex. In fact, 1 in 6 US youth aged 6-17 experience challenges to their mental health each year and half of all mental health conditions experienced by adults began by age 14. To better support their students’ clinical mental health needs, CIS Dallas offers a clinical program where students with clinical mental health needs are referred to a team of licensed mental health professionals. The clinical team provides brief individualized or group therapy services to students on campus, meaning students can receive services at school during the day. Additionally, CIS Dallas offers after-school and summer school programming to complement their main programs.

ECM: A Revolution in Case Management

CIS Dallas’s size and scope can pose challenges when it comes to tracking student progress, referrals, and program outcomes. To streamline their case management and program management processes, CIS Dallas implemented Exponent Case Management (ECM), a Salesforce-based solution that streamlines case management, program management, and impact management. 

The Benefits of Exponent Case Management 

The new ECM system has enabled CIS Dallas to track student progress, referrals, and program outcomes in real-time. This means that site coordinators and clinical mental health professionals can provide timely and customized services to students in need. The improved visibility into who has worked with a student in the past has also helped CIS Dallas evaluate their programs’ effectiveness and identify opportunities for collaboration among staff members. This is a significant improvement from their previous state system, which only had contained data sets that made it easy to lose track of students.

One of the most significant benefits of the ECM system is its ability to link multiple students served into households. ECM’s unique and thoughtfully developed household data model, has helped CIS Dallas coordinate and communicate with family units across multiple locations, making it easier for site coordinators to provide targeted support to students and families in need.

Collaboration on the Salesforce Platform

CIS Dallas’s success with ECM is also a testament to the power of collaboration on the Salesforce platform. The third-party integrations that were set up have been incredibly helpful in communicating with parents, enabling the implementation of electronic consent forms and SMS functionality. These additions have streamlined communication between parents and CIS Dallas staff, making it easier for parents to stay up-to-date on their child’s progress and receive timely support.

Looking to the Future

While CIS Dallas is still in the middle of realizing the full benefits of their new system, being only about 30% live on the system currently, the improvements they have already seen have been significant. With better visibility into student outcomes and the ability to coordinate and communicate with families across multiple locations, CIS Dallas is well-positioned to make a positive impact on the students they serve. As they continue to use ECM, they will likely uncover new insights and opportunities for improvement, enabling them to further enhance their services and achieve even better outcomes for their students. We’ll be sure to follow along their journey and share updates as they become available. 

Want to dive deeper? We invite you to watch a fireside chat with Corinne Weaver, Chief Research, Data, & Analytics Officer at Communities In Schools Dallas, called “Empowering Student Success: A Fireside Chat on ECM and Mental Health Services with Communities In Schools Dallas.” In this discussion, Corinne shares her insights on how ECM has helped CIS Dallas improve their data management processes in an effort to better support at-risk students. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn more about how CIS Dallas is using technology to empower student success and stay tuned for more updates! 

Case Study: Orleans Public Defenders

Introducing Orleans Public Defenders

The devastating impact Hurricane Katrina had on New Orleans in 2005 is almost immeasurable. One of the many effects of the deadly hurricane was a complete criminal justice system breakdown at every level and the failings in representation for poor people. There were people who were incarcerated who didn’t know when they would be released and others whose release dates had come and gone, but yet remained imprisoned with no one advocating for them. Katrina highlighted the incredible need for legal representation and advocacy work for the thousands of marginalized men, women and children stuck in the cycle of the broken system. The Orleans Public Defenders (OPD) was founded in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and the devastation that it brought. Their mission is to fight for their clients by providing excellent client-centered representation, reforming the system and partnering with the community. With their unwavering commitment to this cause and the clients they serve, OPD has created a new standard for public defense in Louisiana.   

Alexis Orleans Public Defenders

The Right-Fit Partnership

The Orleans Public Defenders, a pro-bono client of Exponent Partners, needed a way to more efficiently and effectively capture, integrate and consolidate client data in order to dramatically increase the efficiency of their advocacy work. They needed the right partner to truly understand their mission and build a powerful, scalable system to allow them to measure their impact and more effectively do the critical criminal justice work they do. As a B-Corporation with a strong commitment to corporate values and social impact, Exponent Partners is committed to investing in work that fosters true systemic social progress. The company demonstrated this commitment by taking on Orleans Public Defenders as a pro-bono client partnership. Their project kicked off together in early 2021.

The Challenge for Exponent Partners 

The Orleans Public Defenders were facing multiple challenges at the start of their project with Exponent Partners. The most critical challenges relating to their information systems were as follows:

A fragmented system

Before starting their project with Exponent Partners, OPD’s Client Services Division was using a combination of Google Sheets, Excel and other files to track their program intake and client data on an ongoing basis. They were able to report on baseline metrics only and doing so involved many repetitive, manual processes. It was challenging for them to surface holistic, big picture trends to demonstrate the impact of their work.

Intake… and intake again

Staff and volunteer turnover and challenges with their systems resulted in many team members repeating the client intake process due to issues with continuity of records. This meant a lot of lost time and frustration in gathering information that had already been captured at some earlier point. This was particularly challenging as criminal justice advocacy work involves building trust with clients. There were many examples of clients having to repeat and relive their story multiple times as a result of data loss and staff transition. Not having continuity of records definitely worked against them and cost them critical time.

Challenges scaling up

The Orleans Public Defenders has established its organization as a criminal justice reform leader, and they have a lot more work to do. The challenges they faced on a daily basis with their fragmented, manual system cost them precious time and resources they could otherwise use to do more work and serve more clients. The time they spent tracking only the baseline metrics meant they were not able to easily access the data to report on the big picture trends. This made it hard to quantify the impact of their work and tell their stories effectively.

The Solution for Orleans Public Defenders 

From Excel to Exponent Case Management

The organization consolidated various data collecting and tracking mechanisms (approximately 18 separate files) into a purpose-built system: Exponent Case Management. Their client services staff members can now manage client referrals, complete intakes, coordinate complex service planning and tracking, and conduct a new assessment with a single, user-friendly system. 

Ensuring continuity and preservation of records

OPD’s team can now easily access the full data collection picture for their clients, allowing them to focus their time and effort on the go-forward plan instead of repeating sometimes painful data intake processes. Having a system with consolidated data allows them to pick up where they left off, even with the possibility of staff or volunteer turnover. This has allowed the team to greatly increase their efficiency and deliver more services to clients in need. In 2020, CSD worked with and advocated for 633 clients in more than 650 cases.

Focusing on systemic change

OPD’s new system allows them to measure and track all of their critical advocacy and increases their ability to report on the big picture trends they’re seeing. With Exponent Case Management built on Salesforce, they’re able to easily pull data and reports to demonstrate how much money they’re saving the system, how many clients they’re serving, and what holistic trends they’re seeing in criminal justice in New Orleans. This will allow them to advocate more strategically at a systemic level, helping to create more equity in the system for New Orleanians and beyond.

Insights for Social Justice Organizations

The Orleans Public Defenders is the only public defense office in the state of Louisiana that takes a holistic approach to their representation. Like many social justice-focused organizations, their ability to generate data and provide insightful reports on the impact of their advocacy work is critical to them achieving their vision of reforming the system. Exponent Case Management, built on the foundation of Salesforce, allows them to both increase efficiency at a tactical level while providing critical high-level visibility to the full extent of the work they do. 2022 marks the start of a new era for the Orleans Public Defenders, where their information systems will fully support the critical work they do to serve their communities. 

Red Sign Representation is not a luxury its a right Orleans Public Defenders

Photos courtesy of Orleans Public Defenders

Case Study: Pace Center for Girls

From Point Solution to Platform

The Pace Center for Girls (Pace) mission is to provide girls and young women an opportunity for a better future through education, counseling, training, and advocacy. Pace applies a set of gender-responsive, trauma-informed and strength-based prevention and early intervention practices, including academic and social services, with the purpose of ensuring girls’ future opportunities and success. With a statewide network of 21 Pace Centers in Florida and supporting a system of care for girls in Georgia, Pace annually helps more than 3,000 girls, ages 11-18, get back on track to graduate from high school.

Graphic with callout text

Decreased amount of time to create reports: Reports that took 2 to 3 hours to create now produced in less than 30 minutes

Streamlined processes: Ability to document relevant metrics aligning social and academic services

Improved data accuracy: Easier to quickly identify and rectify data issues, which might have have gone unnoticed with the legacy solutions

“We wanted to have our program model and processes drive the system design, rather than having software dictate our program and processes. After evaluating several options, we realized that Exponent Partners offered a flexible solution that would meet our case management needs, as well as our academic requirements.”– Lymari Benitez, Director of Program Evaluation, Pace Center for Girls


Photo: Young girl wearing PACE t-shirt and smiling.


Needed a scalable solution to accommodate the organization’s growth

Pace’s growth was pushing the limits of the non-profit’s legacy system. With 21 day programs (four of which had opened during the last five years), 12 outreach programs (11 of which had opened in the past three years in Florida and one in Georgia), Pace needed the ability to easily integrate data across centers to gain an organization-wide view of programs and outcomes. “In our previous system, each of our centers was a separate entity,” said Lymari Benitez, Director of Program Evaluation at Pace. “We had to go through many steps to pull together data across all our centers for predictive and in-depth analyses.” Forecasting more growth in the future, Pace needed a solution with a flexible architecture that could keep data f rom each center separate, yet also provide the ability for management to easily aggregate information as needed.

Limited ability to track important metrics impacted reporting

Pace’s legacy system allowed the organization to document details related to social services and counseling sessions. However, most of the data in the system was qualitative. According to Lymari, “The system was designed as a big journal. We were capturing important information, but not in a way that we could translate to good measures or behavioral progress.” Similarly, goal completion was difficult to track. The legacy system also made it difficult to capture key metrics related to academic services. It was difficult to produce reports about grades and school credits. Managers were creating their own spreadsheets outside of the system to track academic information and had to do manual counts in order to aggregate the data needed for reporting.

Shortcomings related to data collection and accuracy

“One of our biggest issues was the ease of data collection and data accuracy,” stated Lymari. “Sometimes we would make changes to demographic information in our legacy system, but had to wait 24 hours for those changes to be reflected in a report.” Such a delay was problematic when Pace needed real-time data.Batch uploads were also a source of f rustration for Pace. According to Lymari, “We need to do a lot of batch uploads, especially for attendance. These uploads were painful because they not only took a long time to complete, but they were usually full of errors and error messages.” As a result, staff would have to manually and painstakingly review the imported data to verify its accuracy, and then spend time making corrections.

“The Exponent Case Management (ECM) and the Salesforce platform integration will play a key role in facilitating our long-term growth. Thanks to their architecture we have the flexibility needed to adapt and support our ongoing expansion of Pace’s centers and programs without compromising our program model.”– Lymari Benitez, Director of Program Evaluation, Pace Center for Girls



Pace worked with an external consultant to conduct a technical assessment of their legacy system, and to identify a replacement solution that would better meet the organization’s immediate and long-term needs. According to Lymari, “We were looking for a cloud-based solution that would allow us to do case management, while also capturing academics. It was also important for the solution to be easy to learn as we would need to train staff across our many centers to be self-sufficient.”

Pace selected Exponent Case Management (ECM) and Salesforce for the ability to include social and academic services, allowing the organization to move away from a standalone point solution and spreadsheets to a fully integrated platform. This combination provided Pace with the flexibility to customize objects to track academic information. “The alignment between social services and academics was essential for our program model and the integration of ECM and Salesforce provided the flexibility needed to capture and access all our key data in one place,” explained Lymari.

After selecting and working with Exponent Partners to configure ECM and Salesforce to meet Pace’s needs, the organization did a phased rollout of the platform. “Change management was a priority for us as we were deploying the solution to 375 users and we wanted to make sure we maximized buy-in without overwhelming our administrators,” said Lymari. This strategic approach has been instrumental in the successful adoption of the new platform.

Photo: PACE students sitting on a bench talking and laughing.


Scalable and flexible solution

“The architecture of the platform is one of the biggest advantages offered by ECM and Salesforce, as it allows us to easily make changes when we add a center or program, or create a custom object to capture a Pace-specific service like our Growth and Change System,” explained Lymari. “We now feel confident that our technology will scale with our organization, facilitating the future growth of our centers and programs, while enabling us to focus on the girls.” The ability to adapt the solution to reflect Pace’s language has been greatly appreciated and has further boosted user adoption. According to Lymari, “ECM and Salesforce offer us considerable flexibility, including the ability to integrate our own language into the system, which makes it easier for all staff to use the platform.”The ability to streamline some processes and ultimately automate others is also a significant step forward for Pace.

Track and report on metrics for individual centers, and aggregate data across centers reporting

ECM is helping Pace document key metrics across its 21 centers and 13 outreach programs. Pace now finds it easy to track key metrics and compare the results with plans and projections, both at the center-level and the organization-level.Moreover, the system structure allows for easy documentation as participant information is connected. “Everything is centralized into what we call the case record,” explained Lymari. This provides Pace with several advantages. “Instead of having to access multiple places to document information, participants’ information is organized in one place providing a holistic view of our girls. In addition, because key information is located together, it is easy to create a report type, select indicators, and develop a report that has the information we are seeking.”

Less time required to create reports

With ECM and Salesforce housing all of Pace’s Centers’ data in one place, the number of flat file reports required has decreased significantly, as has the amount of time spent creating reports. “I used to need two to three hours to run 21 reports, followed by SPSS or Excel to merge all the data into one place,” explained Lymari. “Now, all the data is available in a single report that takes me less than 30 minutes to create.”

Easier to collect data, plus enhanced data accuracy

“With our legacy system, batch uploads were time consuming as we had to go through the data to identify errors,” said Lymari. “Now, the batch upload is completed in two minutes, the changes are reflected instantly, and any errors are flagged and can be immediately corrected.” Administrators can also quickly identify if a problem with data is a center issue or a training issue, and plan accordingly to address the root cause.

Improved collaboration among teams and widespread use of the platform

ECM has significantly improved collaboration between social services staff and academic staff. This benefit is a direct result of members from both teams working closely together on important processes that are facilitated by the platform. According to Lymari, “Team members have clear motivation and specific goals for working even more closely together to benefit our girls.”The usability of the system has also been valuable. “ECM and Salesforce are so user-friendly that more people understand the system and are using it in their daily activities,” said Lymari. With 375 users on the platform, it is also helpful that more than one person can document information in the system at one time.

Facilitating a shift from accounting and performance management to research and evaluation

Looking forward, Pace expects ECM to allow the organization to move beyond the measures that are being tracked every month and shift towards research and evaluation. This change will allow the organization to answer more important questions about how the programs are operating, integrating information across departments.

Tracking Breakthrough’s Impact with Data

Breakthrough has spent the past 30 years supporting its community with programs that support a range of needs, including housing, employment, education, and violence prevention.   Watch the video below or read on to discover how Exponent Case Management has supported Breakthrough in tracking impact for the community they serve. 

Meeting a Real Community Need

Breakthrough was started in 1992 in response to an increasing number of adults in the North Side of Chicago facing homelessness. Arloa Sutter, Founder and Executive Director at Breakthrough, explains, “I founded Breakthrough just because people were in need, and they were coming to our church wanting help. So, I put on a pot of coffee and started getting to know people, heard their stories, and then did what I could to come up with an appropriate response to the challenges to help them to come alongside and help them achieve their goals.”

Making an Impact on People’s Lives

Breakthrough began to grow quickly, launching its first employment program in 1993 and its first housing program two years later. This growth has continued at pace, with Breakthrough now offering over 18 programs, covering a wide range of needs and having an impressive reach. Arola explains that Breakthrough now works with about 65% of its community members, “We’re working with over half of our community. Last year, we served 13,000 people in a community of about 20,000.”

The Importance of Tracking Impact With Data

Photo: Breakthrough staff member sitting with partner and entering data into laptop.

As Breakthrough grew, tracking the impact of each program and the organization overall became increasingly important. “We want to have an impact,” explains Arloa. “We can’t do that without the numbers and the data. We can tell a lot of good stories, but are we really making an impact in the community and in people’s lives? For that, we need data.”

To better support Breakthrough’s programs and empower staff at all levels to track and see the impact of their work, the organization selected Salesforce and Exponent Case Management (ECM). “Like most grassroots organizations, we’ve used a variety of different methods to manage our data,” stated John Smith, Chief Administrative Officer, Breakthrough. “The main reason we chose to go with Exponent Case Manamgnet was the scalability of the platform. We needed something that would adapt and grow with us, and that’s what we find in the Salesforce platform and in the ECM app.”

Starting With the Most Crucial Program Data First

The organization chose to do a phased rollout of ECM, initially moving their data and program management across for a small number of their programs across to ECM, but Breakthrough now uses ECM for the majority of their programs. 

Choosing which programs to focus on first was an important decision. “We started our ECM implementation with the programs that we thought it would be most crucial to have data for right away: homeless intervention, support centers, shelter programs,” explains Yolanda Fields, Chief Program Officer, Breakthrough.   

Like any transition to a new system, moving to ECM had its own challenges. These challenges were easily overcome with support provided by the expert ECM implementation team. Yolanda explains, “It was a process that wasn’t easy, right? But I think what made it manageable was our ECM implementer was available. The people that we had assigned to our team really took the time to understand our environment.”

The expert ECM implementation team understands the complexities of moving services to a new system and ensures they understand the programs they support. Breakthrough found this invaluable in moving their programs across to ECM. Yolanda explains, “What made it manageable was our ECM implementer was available. The people that we had assigned to our team really took the time to understand our environment.”

The Importance of Data in Supporting Clients

ECM, and the data it has enabled Breaktrhough’s staff to capture and effortlessly use, has been critical to Breakthrough’s ability to provide for their clients, who often have multiple needs. “Recently, there was a woman who came into our support center,” said Yolanda. “I think our staff recognized that she had co-occurring disorders of chronic health problems with mental illness. And so, we started down the path of helping her to ensure the income that she needed. In order to do that, you cannot even imagine the amount of documentation and dates that are needed.”

This means the implementation of ECM had immediate benefits not only for Breakthrough’s staff but also for the people it serves. According to Yolanda, “Because we were able to document her episodes of homelessness, we were able to say to the attorney, ‘Here is all of the information that’s needed to help her secure disability income.'”

The benefits of Breakthrough’s use of ECM have been far-reaching. “The use of ECM helps us to manage the data and then really to make real-time decisions and programming,” states Yolanda. ECM supports Breakthrough in tracking the impact of their programs and making key resourcing decisions, “It helps us to decide how we are going to use our resources, and so I think all of that is a part of helping us stay organized in our work, but also impactful and effective.”

A Real Partner in the Social Services Sector

ECM is dedicated to being a true partner for the human services organizations that use ECM, and this partnership is appreciated by Breakthrough. According to John, “With the team behind ECM, I found that we had a real partner in the social services sector who knew best practices from the field and could understand our needs as we were talking about our programs. If there were questions about how to do things, you know that they have the expertise in-house in order to come up with a real solution.”

Now, more than ever, Breakthrough’s executives are motivated by the tangible impact that the organization is having on its community, and they can see this impact clearly as they are using ECM to track the impact of their programs. “What keeps me going is the people that I come in contact with every day,” explains Arloa. “We have staff who are flat-out heroes here, who I wish I could profile and tell their stories. We get to see people get up after they have fallen, and we get to see the glow in their eyes.”

John shares similar sentiments, “I don’t come to Breakthrough because I’m punching the clock to get a paycheck. I come to Breakthrough because I feel called to be a part of helping this organization become more effective and more faithful in what we do, and ECM is part of that. Exponent is definitely open to partnering with you as you use their product.”

How Could ECM Benefit Your organization?

Our human services organization experts would love to work with you to see how ECM can impact your programs and enable you to track and report their impact effortlessly. Why not get in touch today, or register for our demo webinar to discover more about how ECM could help your organization?

Chicago Benchmarking Collaborative

The Chicago Benchmarking Collaborative (CBC) was launched in 2009 and is an innovative nonprofit collaborative that uses data to improve outcomes for more than 4,200 low-income individuals in Chicago.

Exponent Case Manager (ECM) has empowered CBC to easily create reporting dashboards that draw on data from across the Collaborative’s six members. In this case study, we will learn more about CBC’s innovative approach and how ECM helps CBC make a difference through data.

Increasing Impact Through Data

CDC comprises a diverse mixture of education and human services nonprofits that collaborate with low-income individuals throughout some of Chicago’s most underserved neighborhoods. Christopher House, a family of schools that provides a range of support services for their families, is the Collaborative’s Project Manager. The CBC’s goal is to increase the impact of Collaborative’s programs focused on low-income children and families by sharing data and effective practices.

The CBC identified three key triggers of success for their data Collaborative:

  • First, partners see each member’s value to the Collaborative and share a common vision to increase their impact by making data-informed program improvements that will be more likely to deliver on outcomes.

  • Second, leadership is most important in sponsoring change to organizational culture to become data-informed. They communicate the vision and expectations to staff, establish a sense of urgency for the work, and make resource commitments to ensure change happens successfully.

  • Lastly, there is a need for accurate data and a software platform to effectively evaluate programs, create reporting dashboards, and for learning groups to discuss how to improve based on data.

The Benefits of a Shared Approach to Data

CBC has identified several key benefits of a collaborative approach to data reporting and shared reporting dashboards. These include:

  • Greater transparency and insights: By sharing data-driven best practices and strategies, the Collaborative’s members can learn from their peers and make improvements that increase their impact.

  • Streamlined reporting: Centralized, interactive dashboards reduce the amount of time spent producing and querying reports, enabling the Collaborative’s staff to conduct in-depth data analysis.

  • Cost savings: New partners joining the Collaborative benefit from a fully designed case management system and reporting platform rather than building one themselves.

Graphics with text summarizing Case Study Overview

What Was CBC Aiming To Achieve in Its Move to ECM?

CBC identified a number of key outcomes it wanted to achieve by moving to ECM.

Need for a streamlined process for data collection

Before moving to ECM, some partners reported that data collection wasn’t user-friendly. The process for inputting data often involved multiple pages and navigation challenges. By streamlining the process, partners could spend more time analyzing data and making comparative insights.

Desire to improve data quality and empower individual partners

Higher quality data would lead to more valuable analysis and insights that Collaborative members could use to inform plans for data-driven improvements. With better quality data, including shared reporting dashboards, Collaborative members could also learn from each other and implement successful strategies and practices in their programs.

Need to reduce the amount of manual work required to aggregate data

Before implementing ECM, reports that detailed numbers and percentages were relatively easy for CBC to create. Still, data visuals had to be created outside of the CBC’s software by copying and pasting information into PowerPoint. This manual process was cumbersome, time-consuming, and introduced room for human error.

“We wanted a more streamlined process for data collection and easy to navigate pages for data entry, so that we could produce cross-agency reports on a set of common outcomes and outcome indicators that partners use for comparative insights. We now have a shared platform with interactive dashboards that are a huge timesaver, and that allow partners to drill down on specific data points within those outcome results.”– Traci Stanley, Director of Quality Assurance, Christopher House, and Project Manager, CBC

Photo: children at Christopher House walk down hallway with instructors.

How CBC Implemented ECM

After the CBC decided to replace its existing solution, the organization issued an RFI to understand four vendors’ functionality, capabilities, and pricing. CBC then used the information provided by the vendors to complete a comparative analysis, supplemented by input from peer agencies.

The desire to have one shared platform that everybody could access ultimately led the CBC to select Salesforce and Exponent Case Management (ECM), an innovative Case Manamgnet solution for Salesforce. “The combination of the Salesforce platform and ECM would enable us to create dashboards and data visuals for our outcome results,” explains Traci, the project manager for the CBC. “We would gain the ability to easily aggregate those outcome results by different demographic types and results for students in specific neighborhoods.”

ECM’s Implementation Experts took time to understand CBC’s requirements. This involved a deep dive into the organization’s requirements, including the target population, assessments that needed tracking, and day-to-day activities of different functional roles.

“The discovery process was very thorough and captured our Collaborative needs, some of which were in alignment, whereas others were agency-specific,” explains Traci. From there, ECM’s experts designed and implemented ECM for CBC. This process was fully collaborative and enabled ECM’s implementation experts to solidify details about what would get built and for which programs. As a result, Traci says, “We went from having many different programs, each capturing a few participants, in our previous system to fewer, larger program buckets that capture more participants.”

Photo: Two school children sit at table playing with cards.

What Impact Has ECM Had on CBC?

CBC is clear that ECM has had a significant impact on the Collaborative. These impacts include:

Simpler data capture

When doing an intake, partners using ECM now can capture all intake information and demographics in one place, providing a complete picture of a family. This efficient intake process saves valuable staff time. This time can be used for service delivery and to analyze data, look for trends, and determine ways to use the data to increase the CBC’s impact.

Streamlined reporting

The Collaborative can create detailed reports and reporting dashboards that contain easy-to-understand data visuals in one place, using ECM and its link to Einstein Analytics. “Einstein Analytics will take some of the mystery away from program staff who, in the past, have been looking at aggregate data reports that may show they’re not doing well in a certain area, but they can’t drill down to see which kids are struggling,” explains Traci.

By using ECM, Collaborative members have a greater ability to drill down into the data and access information for their own agency related to a specific program. “Having that information is crucial because each partner can individualize their approach in a program based on how specific kids are doing.” Thanks to ECM’s easy-to-use data dashboards, the Collaborative’s members also gain the ability to aggregate results in more meaningful reports to meet their unique needs.

Enhanced ability to consolidate multiple databases and ensure data integrity

Staff can now upload data from non-ECM users onto the Einstein Analytics shared platform and incorporate that data into dashboard reports for the Collaborative. The ability to be solution-agnostic when it comes to data sharing makes it easier for the Collaborative to recruit new partners. Data integrity is also better as manual work related to the creation of charts and visuals has been eliminated.

Increased cost savings and cost efficiencies

New members of the Collaborative benefit from design and configuration savings. If they choose to adopt ECM, they also benefit from a fully designed case management system and reporting platform, which can be configured to meet the needs of their individual programs. Additionally, cost efficiencies have been achieved as ECM’s experts can configure multiple systems in an uninterrupted period as a single project rather than as separate, standalone projects.

Einstein Analytics has also achieved cost savings, allowing Christopher House to build dashboards for multiple organizations that can log in and access their outcome reports.

“We are now in a position to help new partners get up and running and support them as we expand the Collaborative. The more partners we recruit, the bigger the data set that we have to benchmark with, which is exciting.” – Traci Stanley, Director of Quality Assurance, Christopher House, and Project Manager, CBC

Established effective practices

The Collaborative uses data provided by ECM’s reporting dashboards to inform decisions about establishing program practices and strategies. For example, rather than working in silos, collaborative members can now examine data and hold group discussions to explore what contributed to those results. Members can then determine which best practices can be shared and implemented in their individual organizations to increase their impact on the children, youth, and families in CBC’s community.

Improved quality of services

The data that ECM has empowered the Collaborative to collect and analyze seamlessly has enabled the Collaborative’s members to make programmatic changes and professional development. This has led to the Collaborative seeing better outcome results and an increase in the overall quality of their programs, which ultimately benefits students and families.

For example, as a result of comparing data using ECM, the Collaborative’s members identified early math as an area for improvement across all organizations. Christopher House then organized and led a six-month math professional development cohort for teachers from all CBC partner organizations. As a result, the average math score across all collaborating organizations increased by nearly 25 percent.

Increased transparency and insights

By using a standardized set of measures, Collaborative members have access to valuable benchmark data and can easily see how their program results stack up against those of other partners. In addition, sharing data, best practices, and strategies is a game-changer compared to partners’ past attempts to benchmark against their own data from the previous year.

How Could ECM Impact Your Organization?

The team at ECM count it as their privilege to help human services organizations make a bigger impact on their communities by empowering them to collect, use and analyze data easily, whether as individual organizations or as collaboratives like the CBC. Why not reach out to ECM’s experts to see how ECM could benefit your organization?

How United Way Impacts Student Success With the Help of Exponent Case Management

United Way Bay Area offers a pioneering SparkPoint program that works with low-income individuals and families in college and community programs on all aspects of their financial health, helping them achieve financial prosperity. Watch the video below or read on to explore how Exponent Case Management has helped United Way manage this program and impact student success.

Helping Students Achieve Financial Stability

College student Eric Torres knows the challenges of being a single parent all too well. “I’ve been taking care of my son since he was two months old, and he is my ambition to get through school,” said Eric. “It has been a really tough struggle trying to pursue my degree here because I didn’t have any childcare. So, if I didn’t have someone to watch my son, then I simply couldn’t go to school.”

Eric became a client of United Way Bay Area’s SparkPoint program, which serves students and community members one-on-one. According to Chad Thompson, SparkPoint Program Director at Skyline College, “When someone comes to SparkPoint, oftentimes they are coming because they have no other recourse. They are coming because they are hungry or because they have no place to live.”

The demand for United Way’s SparkPoint program is increasing. Flor López, SparkPoint Program Services Coordinator and Financial Coach, explains, “School just started, and we have an alarming amount of homeless youth. I have the privilege of being able to work with students and community members one-on-one and help them complete their financial goals.” 

Tracking Impact of Student Success

United Way needed a case management system that could cope with the complexity of their programs and enable them to track clients across multiple services provided as part of the SparkPoint program. Chad Thompson, SparkPoint Program Director, explains, “A student can come in and be experiencing food insecurity, and we can provide groceries to them, and then we can talk to them about how saving money on these groceries can be a starting place for opening a bank account or saving money for an apartment.”

United Way found Exponent Case Management (ECM) to be the perfect solution, enabling them to track students in their SparkPoint program and easily see the impact of their programs. Nicole Harden, Vice President of Economic Success at United Way Bay Area, explains that this tracking and reporting is vital to United Way, “We want to make sure we are reporting accurately the work that is actually happening on the ground. We want to be able to tell their stories.”

The benefits of using ECM became immediately apparent to United Way. The combination of tools they were using before couldn’t cope with the complexity of their programs, making reporting a challenge and preventing them from tracking students across programs. ECM handled these tasks easily. Nicole explains, “We had multiple databases that we were using, and anyone can tell you that that is super difficult!”.

United Way has also found that ECM’s ease of use has enabled its staff to spend more time working with clients. Chad explains, “If we didn’t have ECM, we would probably use spreadsheets to track what we were doing or try to use some software that wasn’t customized for us. It would take a lot more time, and our coordinators and our financial coaches wouldn’t be able to spend that time working with our clients.”

Getting Students the Help They Need

ECM enables United Way to track behavior change. According to Nicole Harden, VP of Economic Success at United Way, “We are able to track all of the services that folks are being referred to or that they are receiving when they are working with our centers.”

ECM puts key client information and tracking in the hands of client coordinators and financial coaches, making it simple for them to ensure all clients get the help they need, whether in the form of public benefits, counseling, housing, employment, financial aid, or other areas.   

Making Reporting Easy With ECM

ECM enables United Way to meet its funder reporting requirements, effortlessly produce end-of-year reports, and generate reports to support new grant applications. Chad explains, “We can easily customize our ECM software to make sure our reports are already tracking information that we have to include in our grant applications and end-of-year reports, making our job much easier.”

ECM and United Way – A True Partnership

United Way has also appreciated the service offered by ECM and the team behind ECM’s knowledge, passion, and expertise in supporting human services organizations. 

“Exponent Partners has been great to work with and has tailored their solutions for our program so we can really maximize Exponent Case Management to meet our needs and aspirations,” explains Jacqueline Chan, the Director of Data and Evaluation at United Way Bay Area. She adds that, “Exponent Case Management has made it possible for us to track detailed information about our services and impacts so we can leverage data insights to constantly improve our SparkPoint program. Our program would not be what it is today without ECM.”


Photo: Trainer standing in front of room talking to rows of trainees sitting at computers.
Norman Cheng of United Way Bay Area leading a staff training on Exponent Case Management (ECM). 

Empowering United Way To Make a Difference

Photo: Students walking around Skyline College campus.
Photo: Eric entering Skyline College campus.

Eric’s path hasn’t been an easy one. “Given all the obstacles that I’ve been facing, it does get to the point where you feel like quitting sometimes. I don’t have that option because I know if I quit, I’m not helping my own situation or the situation with my son. I’m doing a lot of this for him,” stated Eric. ECM has made it easier for United Way’s SparkPoint program to ensure that Eric gets the help that he needs to thrive in the future. Eric explains, “It is a lot of support that I’m getting here, and here I am pursuing my dreams and trying to build a better foundation so that me and my son can have the best future possible.”

How Could Exponent Case Management Make a Difference for Your Organization?

Exponent Case Management is transforming data and case management in nonprofits across the country. We’d love to explore how ECM could make a difference in your organization. So why not get in touch with one of our experts today or watch our on-demand webinar to discover more of ECMs revolutionary features?

Case Study: Breakthrough


- Improved Staff Efficiency: Reduced weekly report prep time by 50%
- Streamlined Intake Process: Reduced intake processing time by 20%, saving an average of 25 hours per week
- Easier Access to More Data: Able to meet the detailed reporting demands of grants in less time

“We have a strategic goal of improving outcomes measurement and management. With our previous solution, we were tracking all the information we needed, but being able to get it out and compile it in a meaningful way was a huge challenge. It was painful knowing we were tracking all this data, but we were unable to let it tell the story.” – John Smith, Chief Administrative Officer, Breakthrough

Client Description

Breakthrough partners with those affected by poverty to build connections, develop skills, and open doors of opportunity. Breakthrough is intentionally located in and works alongside residents in East Garfield Park. Each year, Breakthrough has the opportunity to work with over 6,000 local residents and their families.


Data was siloed in two separate systems that weren’t integrated
Breakthrough implemented the Salesforce Nonprofit Starter Pack in 2009 for donor management, and also used the solution for its CRM, marketing, and some volunteer needs. In 2011, the organization also implemented a point solution for case management, based on a promise that the product offered the ability to track efforts to measurable outcomes. Unfortunately, this promise never materialized as most of the implementation budget was spent on building out individual programs, and structuring records and assessments.

Case management point solution was closed, inflexible, and obsolete
“We pride ourselves on being a learning organization that tweaks and changes as we learn,” explained John. “The solution we selected and built for case management was obsolete by the end of year one. It didn’t give us the flexibility that we needed to adjust as we evolved.”

Unable to understand an individual’s involvement across the programs and services
In order to see multiple assessments for a single client, as well as the related case management notes, staff had to visit multiple program profiles for that individual. This cumbersome process made it time-consuming to gain a holistic view at the client level.

Manual and labor-intensive reporting
Limited report capabilities required staff to export data into Crystal Reports and try to manipulate it manually. According to John, “We were tracking all the information we needed, but being able to get it out and compile it in a meaningful way was a huge challenge.”

Lack of alignment with business processes
“The model in our case management solution didn’t align with the business processes of our different programs,” said John. As a result, instead of supporting and streamlining Breakthrough’s business processes, technology became a barrier. “Some of our programs just stopped using our case management solution altogether and instead tracked data on our various programs in a massive online spreadsheet.”

Impossible to find an in-house expert for both solutions
Breakthrough needed an administrator who knew both systems well, so that the organization wouldn’t have to rely on consultants to make changes or pull data. “We couldn’t find that unicorn who had technical expertise in both Salesforce and our case management solution.”


With an expansion planned, Breakthrough was motivated to make a change. “We knew that we were going to have to invest in some sort of system if we were going to improve how we were managing metrics,” explained John. The organization sought a flexible platform with an open architecture that would enable cross-departmental collaboration, while supporting growth without relying on consultants. “We also wanted robust reporting and visualization tools, including dashboards.”

Committed to finding a system that leveraged the “reliable and scalable” Salesforce platform, Exponent Case Management (ECM) was identified as the best option. “This combination of solutions ensures that we don’t have siloed case records,” said John. “It also enables us to have one person—a full-time admin— build the expertise in-house to manage the entire platform.” Breakthrough is now using the Salesforce platform and ECM for numerous departments: Fund Development, Volunteer Engagement, Adult Support Network, and Youth Network.


Gained ability to easily build detailed reports and visually-pleasing dashboards
Staff productivity has increased thanks to the ability to produce reports more efficiently with ECM. “Now, I spend only 5 hours per week creating reports, instead of 10 hours,” explained Yolanda, Chief Program Officer at Breakthrough. The organization can now meet the diverse reporting needs of individual program managers or decisions makers with data on donors, volunteers, and programs. “We can build reports and dashboards that pull together data across programs at the client level to help us try to answer some of those deeper questions and draw bigger conclusions,” said John. Additionally, now that it easier to pull data from a single system instead of two different ones, Breakthrough is better able to meet the detailed reporting requirements of funding partners.

Improved visibility into performance management
By centralizing data on the Salesforce platform with ECM, Breakthrough staff now have all case records and case assessments in one place. “We are able to monitor progress towards outcomes, in real-time, with flexible dashboards and reports that help us understand the impact of our services.” said John. Management can now see enrollments at a glance, so if they are below average at any given time, staff can make course corrections earlier or ask the right questions.

Enhanced data quality
Staff appreciate the improved data management, which makes it easier to identify when there are issues that need to be addressed. “Staff can now see, at a glance, how we are doing. They can quickly identify data quality issues, and immediately take action to resolve them, rather than waiting for quarterly reports to be assembled,” stated John. “They can also see the broader impact of what we are doing.”

Better user experience and improved security controls
Breakthrough’s staff now can see participant data in a more streamlined interface that requires fewer “clicks” to get at the information they need. On the security front, granular security controls allow for permission-based data access. According to John, “Having all data on one platform provides a holistic view of an individual or a family and their engagement with Breakthrough, while giving us the security controls to ensure that, on the backend, staff only see what they need to see.”

Prepared for future growth
Any need for additional functionality between Salesforce and ECM is met through different apps available on the AppExchange. According to John, “There’s generally a pretty affordable app that will meet our needs, easily extending the functionality of the platform. Salesforce offers incredible scalability—the sky is the limit!”


Case Study: Institute for Family Development


- Improved Efficiency for Billing Tasks: Reduced billing prep time for programs by 80%
- Increased Access to Custom Reports: Instead of waiting up to a month for a custom report, users can create their own in minutes
- Allowed Staff to Focus on Value-Added Tasks: Administrative staff no longer pull data from multiple sources—saving them 10–15 hours per month

“Having a single system used by all teams reduces our administrative requirements substantially, while allowing us to easily report on outcomes across programs.” – Mary Lynn Antush, Assistant Director, Institute for Family Development

Client Description

The Institute for Family Development (IFD) provides a range of innovative and cost-effective in-home services to children and families. IFD’s mission is to develop, deliver and disseminate evidence-based child welfare programs to keep children safe, strengthen families, and reduce the need for placing children into state-funded care.


IFD implemented an online client information system in 2005. Although the solution offered many benefits over paper records, as the years passed, the legacy system’s cons out-weighed the pros.

Inability to scale with the organization
With IFD’s HOMEBUILDERS® model being replicated across the country, the lack of scalability presented challenges and created numerous data silos. “Our legacy system couldn’t accommodate all our teams in a single system,” explained Mary Lynn Antush, Assistant Director, Institute for Family Development. “As a result, we operated five duplicative systems serving various team groupings.”

Difficulty creating reports
Without the ability to automatically limit the information that was included in a report, IFD’s legacy system couldn’t be opened up to all users for self-service. Instead, an administrator had to create unique reports for every team throughout the country to ensure data security and privacy protection. Limited administrative bandwidth for this task meant that some employees did not have access to the reports that they wanted. Additionally, reporting on outcomes across programs was labor-intensive as it required the administrator to pull information from five systems, export it into Excel, and then dedupe it for analysis.

Complex billing processes
Billing forms for several of IFD’s programs in Washington required administrative staff to produce detailed billing reports in a format that met funders’ requirements. Employees had to pull the data from the organization’s legacy system, rekey it into Word or Excel, and then package it in a specific way before it could be sent to a funder. This involved process left administrators with less time to provide therapists with much needed support.

Desire for enhanced user-friendliness
An easy-to-use system would minimize training requirements, while increasing user adoption and ensuring model fidelity as the HOMEBUILDERS Program expanded to other states beyond Washington. The concept of having a system that is mobile-friendly was also of interest as it would boost productivity for practitioners when they are in the field doing client work.


With changes to state requirements around data security and data protection, combined with the fact that IFD’s legacy software was no longer going to be supported by its vendor, IFD was motivated to find a new solution for its client information needs. The organization was clear on its requirements. First, IFD wanted a solution that could accommodate all teams implementing the HOMEBUILDERS model, and allow the sharing of information across case records, employee records, and team records. Second, the system had to meet all HIPAA requirements, along with a host of documentation requirements associated with clinical interventions. Third, enhanced reporting features were a must-have, not only to meet funders’ needs, but also for IFD’s own fidelity management. Finally, an intuitive user interface was essential to maximize adoption and facilitate a smooth transition between systems. Since the solution would be used by partner agencies, in addition to the nonprofit’s staff, security and accessibility were also top of mind for IFD.

IFD evaluated several options, but quickly dove deep into Exponent Case Management (ECM). “We were just really excited about ECM from the beginning, largely because it was on the Salesforce platform,” explained Mary Lynn. “We knew that it was going to keep up with the times, rather than fall behind them, due to Salesforce’s constant innovation and heavy investment in ongoing development.”

“In today’s environment, having data that is clear, accurate, complete, easy to access, and that looks good is important,” stated Mary Lynn. “ECM was able to check all those boxes and more.”

In an effort to get set up quickly and simply without putting too much strain on resources, IFD opted to use Exponent’s ECM Start-up Service and focused initially on the institute’s HOMEBUILDERS program. ECM has since been expanded to support all 10 services that IFD offers.

The adoption of ECM has impacted a broad range of IFD’s key stakeholders:

  • Program staff are using ECM as their main client information system, entering all client contact information and assessment information into a clinical record. They rely on the summary information in the record to guide the services provided throughout the intervention.
  • Supervisors get up to speed quickly by reviewing the summary information, as opposed to digging deep into records. These summary fields also serve as important measures of model fidelity, allowing the monitoring of clinical services and tracking of activities.
  • Staff in the Training and Consulting Division use ECM to monitor the model fidelity of local and out-of-state teams. They create site review reports as needed and use data from ECM to review the activities for a specific family when they participate in a consultation.
  • Administrative staff generate reports via ECM, and send them to referents, funders, and providers.
    On a big picture level, leadership can see the effectiveness of the HOMEBUILDERS program, monitor teams’ performance, and track the number of placements that IFD has prevented.


IFD’s implementation of ECM kicked-off in late 2016, and the organization went live with the solution in Spring 2017. The nonprofit now has 360 users on ECM across 50 teams, nationwide. The breadth of ECM’s impact is impressive and has been truly transformational for IFD.

Consolidated systems, while enabling scalability and flexibility
ECM eliminates the need for multiple systems, and scales with IFD as the organization grows. The capacity to exchange data through an API for coordination with other electronic records will also be a benefit for some of the agencies in the future. According to Mary Lynn, “This functionality is important because some of IFD’s provider agencies are using separate medical records systems for other programs they provide.”

Simplified report creation process
“We no longer have to gather data from multiple reports and systems, export it into Excel, and then rearrange it,” said Mary Lynn. “With ECM, we can pull in data from the user record, case record and even agency record into the same report.” In a single click, the interface with Conga Reports allows ECM users to immediately generate pre-formatted reports that are ready to be sent to the referent without any additional tweaking.

Enhanced security features
Prior constraints related to data security have been addressed by ECM, thereby empowering staff. According to Mary Lynn, “Thanks to the Salesforce reporting tools, teams can take responsibility for their own reporting requirements, freeing up administrator’s time.” Based on Salesforce, ECM also provides the level of security needed to maintain HIPAA compliance for medical records.

Gained valuable insights into outcomes and model fidelity
“We are now able to generate many different types of reports— across all programs/agencies—that help us show model fidelity and outcome measures,” explained Mary Lynn. IFD’s caseload dashboard, for example, provides real-time data regarding how clinicians are progressing towards their annualgoal of serving a specific number of clients. With ECM’s roll-up features, practitioners can easily and quickly see the number of interventions they are averaging each week. This key indicator lets both the practitioner and their manager know if their performance is on-track. Similarly, exporting to Excel and creating formulas is no longer required for pro-rated intervention counts and the number of weekly consultation meetings. These key measures are now generated automatically, and real-time data is easily accessible.

Simplified billing processes
ECM makes the billing process substantially easier for several of IFD’s programs as billing reports are now created automatically in a format that staff can send without making any changes. “Before, it used to take us up to 10 minutes to prepare the billing form, but now it takes about 2 minutes,” explained Mary Lynn. (In 2017 alone, these programs served more than 1,300 families.) The automation of this process gives administrative staff more time to support therapists, which in turn means that therapists can dedicate more hours to providing clinical services.

Easier to use and more accessible
ECM’s intuitive user interface has made the system easy to learn and has enabled its rapid adoption across the organization. “ECM is definitely easier to navigate and is more intuitive than our legacy system,” explained Mary Lynn. “Both ECM and Salesforce mirror the technology that we use in our daily lives, and that increases adoption of the tool with minimal training.” Field-Level Help enables clinicians to easily and quickly access in-context definitions and instructions, which are used to accurately complete assessments. ECM’s mobile feature allows practitioners to enter their service notes in between clients, while the details are fresh in their minds, rather than waiting until they have a WiFi connection. According to Mary Lynn, “I see only upside ahead of us with ECM.”

Download a PDF of the case study

How California Human Development Revolutionized its Case Management with ECM


- Reporting: Reduced prep time from 2 weeks to 1 day
- Quality Assurance: Monitoring program delivery remotely and automatically saves time and ensures better product
- Data: Enhanced visibility into data used to secure a $5 million grant

"ECM helps us capture, analyze, and act on empirical data. The data informs the way that we provide excellent services and helps to secure resources to further our mission." – Anita Maldonado PhD, Chief Executive Officer, CHD

“ECM helps us capture, analyze, and act on empirical data. The data informs the way that we provide excellent services and helps to secure resources to further our mission.” – Anita Maldonado PhD, Chief Executive Officer, CHD

California Human Development (CHD) is a non-profit organization who have been waging the War on Poverty for over 50 years. Inspired in service to their state’s farmworkers, today CHD serves people of low income from many walks of life. CHD gives 25,000 people a year in 31 northern California counties a hand up to the American Dream.

Exponent Case Management (ECM) has the privilege of working with non-profit organizations like CHD, helping them to streamline and improve their case and data management which has delivered a wide range of benefits for CHD.

What successes has CHD experienced by using ECM?

CHD have experienced many improvements and successes since they have been using ECM, which we will explore in detail later, but these include:

  • Quicker Reporting: CHD has reduced its prep time for reports from 2 weeks to 1 day
  • Quality Assurance: CHD has been able to monitor program delivery remotely and automatically, saving time and ensuring a better service
  • Successful grant applications: The enhanced visibility into data provided by ECM was pivotal in CHD’s success in securing a new a $5 million grant.
  • Why not watch the video below to see how ECM was pivotal to CHD’s response to the 2017 Calfornia Wildfires? 


What challenges was CHD facing before using ECM?

Just like most non-profits, CHD experienced a number of case, system and data management challenges before working with ECM.

Inefficient processes

Like many non-profits, CHD worked with a combination of paper case files and spreadsheets sprinkled across the organization’s three offices. Unfortunately, this meant that CHD couldn’t easily aggregate data and create reports which created a lot of extra stress and work. 

“Reporting around specific date ranges, such as a calendar year or fiscal year, was extremely difficult,” explained Kai Harris, Director of Programs at CHD. “We spent a lot of time compiling information and manually counting paper files to get the data we needed. The process for creating even simple reports was a real challenge.”

A narrow view of their client base

The legacy paper and spreadsheet systems that CHD was using also meant they had a narrow view of their client base.

“We didn’t have any way to monitor client needs as they changed over time or to identify trends without first doing a significant amount of work,” said Kai. “Just trying to answer basic questions often required several phone calls and meetings, that were followed by delays as we waited for someone to dig through paper files or create a report.”

Lack of visibility into performance

CHD’s previous system for case management meant they couldn’t easily or fully understand the performance of their services or identify trends over time. Kai reported, “It was difficult to answer programmatic questions about what was working or wasn’t working, beyond anecdotal stories shared by case managers.”

Data silos across multiple locations

Like many non-profits, CHD delivers services across numerous locations, which has resulted in a fragmented approach to case management. Before implementing ECM, the referral of a client from one location to another was done over the phone, without the data being formally captured and shared. These ‘warm’ hand-offs meant that CHD couldn’t see how many clients in one program were being referred internally and were being provided with additional wrap-around services.   

The data silos also meant staff delivering services had to complete their own counting and reporting, taking their time away from service delivery. For example, in the organization’s Immigration program, CHD had to rely on staff in remote offices to do their own counting and reporting before sending data for the head office to aggregate and report on manually.

How did ECM help….

CHD implemented ECM to help them streamline and improve their case and data management processes in its Day Laborers and Immigration programs, which included the use of ECMs Workforce Development Module.

Throughout CHD’s implementation and ongoing use of ECM was were guided by ECMs expert staff, who Kai described as “real experts in their domains.”

CHD has been impressed with ECM and has a longer-term vision of expanding the solution to its other programs and integrating it with other funding-mandated tracking systems, for example, implementing our HMIS module for their affordable housing program to simplify reporting.

What impact has ECM had?

ECM created streamlined processes—from intake to reporting

At all stages of CHD’s programs, the processes have been significantly streamlined and improved. For example, CHD’s intake process has been transformed, “the time from a client coming in and doing an intake to when CHD knows they are a client has been reduced to basically zero,” remarked Kai. “Improvements to our processes have led to enhanced transparency and allow us to course-correct faster.” 

CHD’s reporting has also been streamlined, reducing the time to produce some reports from two days to build to seconds. “Before, it would take a significant amount of time to put together programmatic reports. Using ECM, we can now generate pre-built reports in a single click. It is a real game-changer.” Kai remarked, “Thanks to ECM, now the data is just there and accessible from any of our offices. We can monitor progress at the client, staff, and organization levels at whatever intervals we determine without taking additional staff time to pull those reports.”

 ECM’s dashboards also empower CHD to track progress across multiple programs in real-time and to pull data directly from ECM when reporting to a funding source, significantly reducing the time it takes to produce these vital reports. For example, an annual report for one of the organization’s primary funding sources used to take two weeks to prepare, but thanks to ECM, CHD can now create the same report in a day.

ECM has led to a noticeable shift towards a more client-centric strategy

CHD’s staff have found that thanks to ECM, they have a 360-degree view of each client. This means they can effortlessly ensure smooth client hand-offs between programs and that referrals are followed up more efficiently, leading to a better service for service users. “Clients are less likely to fall through the cracks because we have a record of referrals being made on both sides,” explained Kai. “That referral can be followed up on in a systematic way, rather than relying on memory or post-it notes.” For example, staff in CHD’s fire relief program can quickly and easily check potential immigration remedies while providing fire relief-related support and making direct referrals as needed.

As less time is spent on completing certain tasks or preparing reports, ECM has enabled staff to focus most of their time on clients. For example, the automation of specific tasks has given CHD’s Immigration program staff the ability to communicate proactively with DACA clients who need reminders of their anniversary to renew.

Staff are no longer required to assemble reports or travel frequently between offices to share information. This means they can concentrate on delivering direct services, meeting more clients, increasing their outreach, and expanding the number of cases they handle – resulting in more clients receiving the valuable support offered by CHD.

ECM has led to improved visibility into performance

CHD’s management now has greater visibility into the demand and performance of its services. For example, in CHD’s Immigration program contract deliverables are monitored in multiple locations and management can now see the program’s pipeline of clients across different categories. 

CHD also utilizes the improved data visibility to determine if the organization is on track to meet its goals and see where new resources need to be allocated or new strategies developed. Faster and better visibility into the program’s fee-for-service revenue has also been helped CHD’s head office monitor demand at remote offices. “ECM enables us to easily see cases as they come in and project the related fee-for-service revenue while also ensuring that we meet our targeted contractual obligations for free-to-client services. In addition, this valuable data helps direct where we want to go programmatically.”

CHD has made use of the flexibility within the Salesforce system that ECM is built upon to develop their programs. Kai shared that “Salesforce is a system that easily connects to and talks to a lot of other systems, giving us a lot of opportunities to grow in diverse areas”.

ECM has improved data accuracy, fidelity, and depth

CHD has also utilized ECM’s tools to increase the accuracy and depth of their data, especially when it comes to demographic information. CHD has achieved this by using ECM’s powerful ability to set required fields, complete data validation, and add in-line documentation. “With ECM, we have significantly faster feedback loops and can immediately dig into the root cause when we see an issue,” stated Kai. “For example, I can easily run a quality assurance report that shows gaps in intake data. Based on that report, I can quickly follow-up with staff, identify training deficiencies, or see what is happening programmatically where this information isn’t being collected, and then take action in a timely manner.”

ECM has allowed CHD to respond to unexpected events 

ECM is flexible, which has allowed CHD to quickly establish new programs in response to natural disasters and other unexpected events. For example, within several weeks of the Northern California fires in 2017, Kai used ECM to launch CHD’s “One-Stop Wildfire Relief and Resources” program with minimal support from Exponent Partners. “We were designing, building and running the program all at the same time’ Kai remarked. “ECM was really key in being able to run that program as quickly as speedily as possibly’ Having been involved in the implementation of ECM, and by using the success documentation provided by Exponent Partners, I was able to quickly clone one of our existing programs in ECM and change the settings to match our needs for the fire relief program.”   

ECM has been pivotal in securing funding. 

CHD has been able to take advantage of the data from ECM to secure additional funding and empower program growth. For example, CHD used ECM to effortlessly leverage data around needs assessments, client numbers, and the project needs overtime related to assisting immigrants affected by the fires. This enabled CHD to secure a $5 million grant from the state. “ECM enabled us to start tracking our clients, build our numbers, and tell our story in a way that resulted in significant funding that has allowed the program to grow to what it is now,” explained Kai.

Can we help your organization revolutionize its case management?

We’d count it as a privilege to help your non-profit organization transform its case management and data systems. So why not reach out to one of our experts today for a free consultation?   

Download a PDF of the case study

Case Study: Meda


  • Provided a holistic overview of families in Promise Neighborhood
  • Increased collaboration & service integration across partner agencies
  • Unified partner data for better program decisions & collective impact

“My favorite part of working with Exponent Partners was the Design and Build phase. That’s a really creative part of making the vision that you have come true.” – Michelle Reiss-Top, Technology and Data Systems Manager at Mission Economic Development Agency

Client Description

Rooted in the Mission and focused on San Francisco, Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA)’s mission is to strengthen low- and moderate-income Latino families by promoting economic equity and social justice through asset building and community development.


Siloed work

MEDA is the lead agency for the Mission Promise Neighborhood (MPN), a community school collaboration funded by the U.S. Department of Education. Promise Neighborhoods provide supportive cradle-to-career services for families so their children may succeed in school and lift themselves out of poverty.

MEDA wanted to show progress on the indicators of success mandated by their funder while also addressing the unique needs of San Francisco families. However, each of their 20+ partners kept its own records, locking away insights. To view shared progress, the collaborative would need to create a collaborative database to track their collective impact work.

Varied partner capacity and data collection

The collaborative had a goal of collecting more and richer data. MEDA sent an evaluation team to each partner to conduct data assessments and find out its capacity. Capacities ranged from high to low, and partners used diverse methods to collect and store data. They needed a system that was easy for many levels of users to interact with daily. “It’s important to know your partners’ data truth: to see how they’re really working with and accessing their data,” noted Michelle Reiss-Top, Technology and Data Systems Manager at MEDA. “It helps when thinking about the design, onboarding, and flexibility of your community technology solution.”

Duplicative manual work

Working and collecting data separately meant that partners needed to enter data for shared clients separately, and use precious time conveying duplicative information via spreadsheets.


Exponent Partners implemented Exponent Case Management and Salesforce Communities for MEDA on the Salesforce platform, providing a 360-degree view of clients and enabling close online collaboration between partners. Their solution features case and program management, intake and assessment, service tracking and planning, referrals, and client records. With Communities, MEDA can aggregate and share their data, create reports and dashboards, and collaborate.


Data that informs program decisions

Exponent Case Management allows MEDA to compare assessments all the way from baseline to the latest, helping them to analyze longitudinally. These assessments link together and can be easily flipped through in sequence. Custom formula fields help them make sense of the assessments, which provide percentage change and delta, and show them how close individuals are to specific outcomes. “We have certain thresholds we want people to achieve towards financial stability, like a credit score of 650,” says Reiss-Top. “But we also know that sometimes a positive trajectory is the best victory we can get.” MEDA is able to track indicators toward desired outcomes and make changes to their work based on this understanding.

MEDA and MPN also work to meet 15 indicators of academic success as dictated by their funder, the Department of Education. MEDA’s family success coaches hear about family needs more than any other staff. As these coaches collect data in case notes, they check off the most common needs and are beginning to build their own set of data on assisting families. “We can use this data to shape local policy, inform program decisions, leverage the power of agencies together as a collective, and use the information to know what clients need most,” says Reiss-Top. The data not only overlaps with their funders, but also tells a larger story about how the agency and Promise Neighborhood can provide a stable environment for school children.

Holistic overview of family progress

With their case management solution, MEDA and MPN are able to measure progress over time for families receiving wraparound services. A household record in the system displays a holistic overview of the family, sharing parents’ and children’s overall situation and services they are using. Two summary charts show a breakdown of member services and program referrals for household members. Formulas auto-calculate eligibility for benefits like Medi-Cal and Covered California.

At any time, staff can zoom in on individual records, such as outbound referrals, assessments, and case records (also a tracker for program enrollment), which are organized neatly. They can drill down into individual case records and see aspects like the amount of direct services individuals are receiving, classes they are taking, important financial indicators like credit and savings, and their path to graduation. These overviews allow MEDA and partners to see how families are doing and identify additional support they may need.

Increased collaboration and service integration across partners

MEDA was able to collaborate more closely across its partner organizations using some key features in Exponent Case Management and Salesforce Communities. When referring out to partners, they now make use of a handy “search need” feature that allows them to find partner agencies by specific descriptions, requirements, even transit options. Much of the manual burden is alleviated by workflows that auto-send messages when a referral status is changed on an individual’s record: which provide the new referral agency with the request, notes, and key contact information, and share the result with the original requester. They can pick up the phone or return to Salesforce and manage their referrals there. “One unexpected benefit of these emails was that staff started to click ‘reply’!” notes Reiss-Top. “Staff at different agencies are engaging in dialogues about shared clients. It opened up a line of communication they simply didn’t have before!”

Salesforce Chatter also increases communication across partners. Agencies in different buildings can mention staff in records or tag each other on a conversation about a family. These are not a mirror image of the data, but live records they can edit together and add to. “It gives a sense of ‘we’re all in it together,’” Reiss-Top says. “The feed and groups create a virtual workspace that helps us take action and share ownership on a deeper level.”

In MEDA’s journey to collective impact with MPN, they can also begin to view service integration, from dashboards pulling partner data on services and referrals, to breakdowns of families supported by partner agencies, to the overall number of families engaged in asset building. This can help them learn the impact of their collaboration.