ZotForce: UCI’s Comprehensive Advancement Solution

By Ashish Regmi. To prepare for 21st century fundraising, UCI’s University Advancement began reassessing its technology infrastructure in 2015. The assessment revealed a combination of legacy technologies, homegrown fixes, and a highly non-integrated environment resulting in disjointed experiences, increasing technology debt, and delayed process delivery. In addition, extensive backend work was needed to prepare data for a growing number of business processes.

University Advancement urgently needed a complete overhaul of its technology infrastructure. With full support from management, we embarked on the journey that ultimately resulted in ZotForce, a modern advancement and constituent management system integrated with a flexible and scalable Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform.

At the start, we were presented with a basic choice: Stick with long-established software vendors in the advancement arena and a relatively closed platform, or take a calculated risk and move into the highly flexible and integration-friendly platform of Salesforce. We opted for Salesforce to benefit from its flexibility in customizations, integrations, app exchange products, and highly aggressive feature development schedule.

Sales Cloud coupled with the Affinaquest application provides all advancement and constituent management functionalities, including gift processing. This enables us to provide, via ZotForce, highly visible data, mobile-friendly data consumption capabilities and system-integrated reports and dashboards.

Here are the various functionalities we have deployed.

  • We utilized MuleSoft to seamlessly integrate ZotForce with our accounting application, grateful patient feed from the UCI Health system, and other various applications, significantly reducing the time it takes to load/retrieve data from our systems.
  • Analytics Studio provides us with instantaneous decision support analytics capabilities integrated within the ZotForce environment and has prepared us well to take necessary steps toward predictive analytics in the near future.
  • With Community Cloud, we were able to create beautiful, modern and highly engaging communities for UCI’s alumni, parents, and other constituents.
  • We are utilizing Marketing Cloud’s email studio to send personalized communication, Journey Builder to plan and execute email marketing plans, and Marketing Cloud Connector to seamlessly sync data between Sales and Marketing Cloud.
  • Two integrated event applications, Eventbrite and Aventri, are utilized, along with journeys created for events in Marketing Cloud, to send event invitations and record event registrations and attendance.

As we transitioned to ZotForce, we spent a considerable amount of time on pre-conversion data cleanup. We also tried to transform existing business processes to better utilize the capabilities and features of the new system. Currently, we have completely paperless online gift processing, which has resulted in a significant reduction in gift load and processing time. This is because ZotForce integrates with online giving forms, the giving day platform, and payment gateways. We are able to provide excellent and timely support to our end users utilizing the Cases functionality in Sales Cloud. We have created multiple custom solutions in ZotForce using custom objects, process builder and apex coding to meet our business needs and data standards.

ZotForce has enabled UCI’s University Advancement and Alumni Relations division to successfully respond to its growing/changing engagement, communication, informational, and analytical needs. It has improved the efficiency of its fundraising efforts, increased the effectiveness of its communication, increased the quality of services provided to internal and external constituents, obtained substantial business process efficiencies, significantly improved the speed of information delivery, and enabled better coordination across all advancement and alumni relations units within UCI.

Ashish Regmi, executive director, Digital Transformation & Innovation, University Advancement, UC Irvine.Ashish Regmi is executive director, Digital Transformation & Innovation, University Advancement, UC Irvine.

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