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Health Care for All Uses Salesforce for Grassroots Organizing

By: Luis Sevilla

The Objective

Health Care for All (HCFA) is a nonprofit whose mission is to advocate for health justice in Massachusetts by promoting health equity and insurance coverage access for all. HCFA works towards its mission in various forms. The most common one being the HelpLine — a state-wide multilingual phone service that provides navigational assistance to Massachusetts residents. The HelpLine is operated by counselors who assist people in enrolling in public benefits and encourage them to get involved in improving healthcare in Massachusetts. Many of those people then become community leaders or volunteers for health justice through HCFA’s grassroots campaigns.

HCFA counselors use Salesforce to track phone calls and health coverage statuses, but they had no system for tracking engagement and their advocacy efforts. HCFA teamed up with Idealist Consulting to optimize the HelpLine and make Salesforce functional for their advocacy efforts. 

The Problem

HCFA has been using Salesforce for its HelpLine for over six years. It worked great for contact and call management, but the functionality was restricted to those functions. They collected a lot of data relevant to healthcare enrollment, but the system wasn’t set up to store data that HCFA organizers could use to improve or streamline organizing efforts. 

The organization as a whole knew Salesforce had more potential. Because the use of Salesforce was mostly restricted to HelpLine, much of the advocacy work, such as email outreach, was done manually. This made it tough to track what campaigns people were a part of, know what activities they participated in, or see the level of interest in participating. To increase efficiency, they needed Salesforce to support more than their HelpLine efforts and reflect the rest of their business processes. The team at HCFA recognized that they would need to customize Salesforce to reflect their advocacy and organizing efforts while also upgrading to Salesforce Lightning.

The Solution

To ensure that they would get the most out of Salesforce, Idealist Consulting went through an in-depth discovery process with HCFA. “We were concerned that it would be an arduous and difficult process to be able to update the system because it was so highly customized,” said Chris Noble, Health Justice Campaign Organizer at HFCA. But during the discovery process, HFCA staff found it easy to communicate what they needed from the new system.

The consultant from Idealist  created Salesforce automation to streamline and improve the organization’s advocacy efforts. The changes would start with the HelpLine: instead of organizers having to manually reach out to potential advocates, the consultant built automation to engage a person that was recently established on healthcare benefits with the help of a counselor. This customization helps HCFA track how interested people are in working with them and notifies organizers, helping them prioritize talking to the most interested people. Better tracking allows organizers to know which participants want to be community leaders and which are just looking to volunteer. With richer information, organizers can now send more relevant resources based on a participant’s skill set. By optimizing their use of Salesforce to streamline their grassroots organizing, they can efficiently empower their constituents to fight for a better healthcare system in Massachusetts.

The Result

After revisiting HCFA’s use of Salesforce and then optimizing the system, HCFA can now assist the people who needed help with their healthcare coverage in becoming leaders and health care justice advocates in communities across Massachusetts. To put it simply, it's now easier to create advocates for health care with the start of a phone call.

In their words:

“[Salesforce] has firmed up our digital organizing capacity in a way that we couldn’t before,” said Noble.

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