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By Mark Koenig

Last year we challenged nonprofits to submit for the “Extreme Cloud Makeover– Nonprofit Edition.” The idea was to provide the staff of one deserving nonprofit with a flexible, effective, cloud-based system that users love. We offered to extend an existing salesforce.com implementation, “extreme makeover” style, using the muscle of multiple Appirians and the power of technology we have developed through hundreds of customer engagements and the CloudSpokes community.

We received more than two dozen heart-felt entries and narrowed them down to three finalists.  Then we asked our employees to choose the winner. Apparently our team has a soft spot for man’s best friend, because they voted Can Do Canines the first Extreme Cloud Makeover winner.

As their name suggests, Can Do Canines is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for people with disabilities by creating mutually beneficial partnerships with specially trained dogs. Their canine companions are trained to assist their clients who have disabilities including mobility, hearing, diabetes, seizures, and autism. The dogs and all necessary training are provided free of charge to those in need.

Today, Can Do Canines relies on FileMaker Pro 5.5 as their main database to store and track information about clients, dogs, donors, volunteers, and vendors. And, like many organizations, they also tracked related information using spreadsheets. Having dramatically outgrown their database and spreadsheet tracking capabilities, they needed a new system that would enable them to stop putting effort into keeping all that data up to date an in sync and instead on training the dogs and matching them with people in need.

For the last few weeks, starting just before the holidays, the Appirio team has been hard at work with the Can Do Canines team, designing and building this new cloud-based system from the ground up.  Today, we are on the ground conducting training with the users on their new system. The new system enables Can Do Canines to eliminate the once onerous process of tracking canine medical and training records, client applications, training documents and proper forms. And it moves them to a state-of-the-art technology foundation that affords them the opportunity to steward this information with much more confidence that indeed it will remain safe and secure.

The cloud-based solution is built on salesforce.com using the nonprofit starter pack (NPSP). Additionally, we are using components from the Appirio Cloud Asset Library, as well as CloudWorks, to make it easy for the Can Do Canines team to make the most out of the capabilities of Salesforce to capture and share information about its constituents. In an effort to truly match Can Do Canines needs with appropriate technology solutions, we reached out to Conga (AppExtremes Inc.) – the most popular document generation and reporting solutions for Salesforce – who graciously donated three licenses for three years.

We’re excited to be doing training this week and hope the staff enjoys their move to the cloud. I’m anxious to share how the “silver lining” of cloud computing is helping Can Do Canines achieve results and will share how the new cloud-based system is improving how the organization runs in the next few months. In the meantime, feel free to follow the project on the Silver Lining Facebook page.

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  1. Can Do Canines is an awesome group of people. Let’s just say *a little bird told me* they had once of the most troublesome database setups imaginable. They deserved better… and now they’re getting it! It will help them immeasurably.

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