Dasra: Strategic Philanthropy, Streamlined

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Since 1999, Dasra has strategically connected Indian non-profits to philanthropists. Dasra believes that equipping donors and social entrepreneurs with knowledge, funding opportunities, and support networks will dramatically transform India’s social sector. To that end, Dasra helps build capacity within non-profits and social enterprises, educates donors about their areas of philanthropic interest, and conducts research on India’s development sector. Different units work to cultivate donor relationships and advise social change organizations.

Before working with Vera to implement a new data management system, intra-organizational data sharing was a challenging, time-consuming task for Dasra. Teams collaborated to execute complex tasks – for example, preparing profiles of sectors such as women’s empowerment – using Excel, Word, PowerPoint and PDF documents.

Shortly after selecting Vera to participate in its Social Impact Leadership Development program, Dasra engaged Vera to transform their data management system from a series of shared drives packed with documents to a single Salesforce system that would standardize information sharing across teams and facilitate collaboration.

This chart from Dasra’s CRM dashboard offers insight into the affiliation of Dasra event attendees.

“When we began working with Vera, we were looking for a partner who could help us bring all our processes onto a single software platform,” said Arjav Chakravarti, Dasra’s Associate Director of Impact Assessment. “Vera enabled us to achieve precisely that – they suggested that we use Salesforce, helped us think through complex requirements, and built a system that has been a critical driver for our growth.”

Vera worked with Dasra’s Fundraising team to build a customized system to capture and track information on the hundreds of donors with whom Dasra collaborates. Having a single, organization-wide source of truth allows Dasra to manage mass emails and important events with greater ease and increases transparency by tracking grants from funders to social organizations.

Vera further customized the Salesforce system to support Dasra’s Advisory Research and Due Diligence teams. The teams create comprehensive sector overviews and highlight leading social organizations that work in those sectors. The new system has helped standardize the Due Diligence process so that other teams can have quick, consistent access to information about organizations, thus facilitating organization-wide knowledge transfer.

“The Salesforce system that Vera built for Dasra is being used by the entire organization,” Arjav says. “It has helped us integrate functions that previously operated separately, significantly increase our ability to engage with stakeholders, and manage our business processes.”

Common access to previously siloed datasets has meant that Dasra staff members spend fewer hours wrangling with documents and more time on their core areas of work. Their high rate of user adoption and weekly meetings to share Salesforce learnings embody the organization’s enthusiasm for, in Arjav’s words, embarking on a “journey to build Dasra’s future growth around technology.”

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