Engaging the Next Generation of Scientists, Engineers and Artists

CRM, Website and a Live Class Registration System

Saturday Academy strives to engage motivated youth in hands-on, in-depth learning by connecting them to community experts as educators and mentors, offering over 850 STEAM-curriculum classes per year. But students and their families relied on paper class catalogs and the organization lacked tools for registration and outcome tracking.

After conducting an organization-wide survey of processes and technology, OMBU designed and built an integrated, solution-based new website and a nonprofit Salesforce CRM that enables families to register to classes and engage with mentors, and gives Saturday Academy real-time access to registration data, transforming how Saturday Academy engages with its community.

saturdayacademy.orgA screenshot of a Saturday Academy course detail page

The Visionary

Founded in 1983, Saturday Academy offers over 850 classes and camps, and over 100 internships for students, with focus on STEAM education and an emphasis on engaging underprivileged youth. Their vision is that all interested, pre-college students in the region have the opportunity to interact with experts and experience professional environments in ways that assist them in intellectual development and preparing for rewarding careers.

But Saturday Academy’s technology infrastructure kept getting in the way. An old Wordpress website was not just hard to manage, but offered families no way to discover and register for the exciting classes happening around them. So Saturday Academy relied on hardcoded web forms that fed data directly into an Access database. Over time, this database was overwhelmed with duplicate and erroneous data, with no way for Saturday Academy to extract reliable business intelligence.

Saturday Academy’s staff knew there was better technology out there, but they needed a partner who could help them package it into a custom solution that was affordable and sustainable for them. And they needed a data expert who could sanitize and migrate their legacy data for a fresh restart.

saturdayacademy.orgA screenshot of a Saturday Academy class registration page

The Solution

OMBU implemented a nonprofit Salesforce CRM to serve as the data store for all operational data: households, students, classes, registrations, internships, and donations. By building on top of Salesforce, we were able to provide Saturday Academy with enterprise business intelligence and reporting capabilities. We configured the Salesforce Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP), so Saturday Academy could access free licenses through the generous offerings from the Salesforce Foundation.

To reach parents, students, instructors, and mentors, OMBU designed and built a fun, easy-to-use website powered by the Drupal Content Management System (CMS). Parents can set up their household information online, and register their children for any of Saturday Academy’s many classes quickly and easily, and even be granted financial aid automatically to help make the classes accessible.

Saturday Academy’s unique internship program, Apprenticeships in Science and Engineering (ASE), pairs teens with industry mentors for a summer of on-the-job learning. Hundreds of motivated students apply for the program, so we designed a process that makes a multi-step application and screening process easy for applicants, and a portal for mentors to review and rank applicants. Finally, the process has a step for Saturday Academy staff to complete approval and trigger a series of automated emails communicating to the selected interns and mentors.

While we’re proud of transforming Satturday Academy’s online presence, making everything smooth and easy for parents and students, the most transformative part of the solution is the real-time data flow between the website and the CRM, and the reporting capabilities it unleashed for Saturday Academy. Leadership can now ask questions and gain insights instantly, such as seeing the breakdown of financial aid relative to family demographics, intelligence that previously would either have taken days of data processing or have been entirely impossible.

saturdayacademy.orgA screenshot of a Saturday Academy application review page

Technology Innovations

Real-Time Class Registrations
A live class catalog syncs between the website and the Salesforce datastore, so parents and students can see Saturday Academy’s classes and seating availability in real time. Parents can apply for and instantly receive financial aid, calculated based on their adjusted gross income.
Salesforce Business Intelligence
Website interactions and class registration report to Salesforce via a REST API, so Saturday Academy can run reports in real time to find out how classes are filling up, how finacial aid is being distributed, and maintain a suite of live operational reports.
Data Migration
OMBU wrote a migration script that processed over a decade’s worth of records from an Access database and supplemental spreadsheets, cleaning and consolidating a mountain of legacy operational data into Salesforce.