Preloader Image
two people moving a rock off a hiking trail

Rocky Mountain Youth Corps

Streamlining operations to support boots on the ground work.

The Mission

Rocky Mountain Youth Corps (RMYC) engages the strength and potential of youth and young adults to make a difference in themselves and their community through meaningful service opportunities, educational experiences, and employment. RMYC strives to meet the needs of the communities and public lands of northwest Colorado by offering a variety of programs and services for youth.

people working on a trail in the mountains

The Problem

In 2022, RMYC approached Idealist Consulting to help streamline its operations, including managing students, partnerships, and grant-related activities. Before engaging with Idealist Consulting, RMYC faced several challenges. They operated primarily through spreadsheets and documents, managing everything from student intake to grant processes and partner interactions in disparate systems.

Idealist Consulting consultant Bill Simpson notes, “This project was all about productivity, with the goal of freeing them up from a lot of aggravating data entry. So they can build out the Youth Corps, which is their real goal”.

Crew leaders were manually recording critical information, including time tracking, which was then transferred to spreadsheets. It was clear that their small, hardworking team needed a more efficient, automated, and centralized system to cut down on unnecessary time spent doing manual data entry.

woman digging a trench

The Solution

To address RMYC’s challenges and move them to a more cohesive system, Idealist Consulting implemented a phased approach.

Phase 1: The initial focus of the project was on migrating core business operations, including grants, agreements, and partnerships, to Salesforce. This created a unified system and laid the groundwork for subsequent improvements.

Phase 2: With RMYC’s business operations streamlined, the project team pivoted to focus on crew management. Custom objects were assigned to handle the various components of crew information and assignments. Automated features were added to help create time sheets automatically, relieving the burden of manual data entry for crew leaders.

A key goal in phase 2 was ensuring that the system catered precisely to RMYC's needs. The challenge, as consultant Bill notes, was “to create a system sophisticated enough to meet their requirements, yet simple enough to only include what was necessary”. RMYC staff were able to learn how to use the system at each phase of the project including using flows to manage ongoing operations, helping them build confidence as the project progressed. For a small agile team like RMYC, it’s critical for them to feel empowered to not only use their system, but have the skills to shape and grow the system in the future.

Phase 3 (current ): The current project phase involves integrating FormAssembly with the new system to streamline external user interactions. Crew members and other stakeholders can now input project hours directly and use their new time-tracking functionality, easing the data collection process. This dynamic interaction enhances reporting capabilities, allowing RMYC to have real-time insights into crew, program, and agreement-related activities.

Phase 4 (future): Looking ahead, the team is excited to start building out robust invoicing capabilities. Liz describes the team’s goals: “We’re all just looking forward to pulling more and more information into the system”.

Leveraging the wealth of data now available in Salesforce, the team will be able to prompt and collect all relevant invoicing information. They will also be able to reduce their reliance on manual entry in spreadsheets with new expense-tracking functionality. The aim will be to automate the generation of custom invoices, reducing manual efforts and ensuring financial data seamlessly integrates with RMYC's finance system.

"We’ve had good buy-in because we’ve completed the project in phases. We could slowly get used to it and build confidence."
Liz Hartstein, Data Systems Manager at RMYC

The Result

From the beginning, the Idealist Consulting team saw the importance of aligning the pace of implementation with RMYC's operational rhythm. The phased approach proved successful in allowing staff to maintain their existing responsibilities while building confidence in the new system gradually. Liz, our key RMYC partner throughout the project, was trained to manage the system using flows, ensuring long-term sustainability and user adoption.

The success of the RMYC project offers valuable lessons for other organizations undertaking similar transformations. Consultant Bill Simpson reflects on three main takeaways from this project: 

  • The importance of organizations committing to owning their solution
  • Staying flexible and embracing change
  • Acknowledging that refinement is an integral part of the journey

In implementing Salesforce, RMYC gained significant improvements in operational efficiency, freeing up valuable staff time for other initiatives. They also saw benefits in more streamlined processes in many of their essential program functions, reduced data inaccuracies, faster access to important information, and a dynamic system that will grow with the organization into the future.

To be able to track and find all of our records in one place is huge for our team.

rmyc logo
Liz Hartstein, Data Systems Manager, RMYC