Today over 2 million individuals in the U.S. are affected by autism and nearly 80% of them are unemployed. Spectrum Works, a non-profit organization that provides career training and employment for individuals with autism, is looking to change this staggering fact.
Spectrum Works is unique in that it partners with businesses to integrate individuals with autism into their workforce. This gives individuals with autism the opportunity to demonstrate their potential and, at the same time, provide companies with a new source of talent. Each employee earns a competitive wage while working alongside those without autism. Spectrum Works also provides career training for high school students with autism, allowing them to easily transition into a job after school.
In addition to building inclusive workforces for companies, Spectrum Works also creates social enterprises by partnering with companies to sell products produced by workers with autism. Spectrum Works first collaborated with Green Distribution, the largest custom screen-printing company on the East Coast, and producer of branded items for Harley Davidson, Universal Music, Disney, and the NFL, among others. Thanks to their partnership over 40 employees with autism use Green Distribution’s infrastructure to produce high-quality screen-printed products. All of the revenue generated by these employees helps Spectrum Works support their efforts to gain employment for those on the autism spectrum.
Since their founding in 2013, Spectrum Works’ goal has been to scale their social enterprise employment model nationally. With their pilot with Green Distribution deemed a success, they are replicating the model in a second organization and expect to expand to a third organization later this year. Here’s a look at the challenges Spectrum Works was facing and how they’re now able to scale their model thanks to the solution Silverline built for them on the Salesforce Platform:
Prior to their Salesforce implementation, Spectrum Works was using Microsoft Excel to track donors, employees, customers, orders of screen printed items, and donations. These Excel sheets did not capture the necessary information for effective reporting and critical fields were often left blank. Donor relationships were kept only in memory and there was no streamlined grant application or approval process in place.
Silverline implemented the Salesforce Nonprofit Starter Pack and customized the Platform to fit the dynamic needs of Spectrum Works; a traditional nonprofit and an organization that builds social enterprises.
Donor relationships were created, by affiliating contacts to one another, and can be viewed on the Relationship Viewer. Additionally, along with donor history, all screen printing business can be tracked and reports can be generated. Spectrum Works’ grant process was streamlined thanks to reports and automated approvals. Reminders/tasks were implemented to enhance their grant follow-up process. They also have a library of documents, making it easy for grant writers to find the information they need, wherever they are located. They also have the ability to track employee information.
Spectrum Works now has one location to keep all of their business and nonprofit data. They have a holistic view of the individuals who touch the organization, both business and otherwise, allowing them to now view everyone as potential donors. Thanks to their new grant process they can focus on obtaining specialized grants to provide more services to individuals with autism. Spectrum Works also has greater visibility into their employment processes, allowing them to run more effectively and implement the workforce development model in additional companies.
April is autism awareness month. To help Spectrum Works continue their year-round work to help individuals with autism join the workforce and live productive, fulfilling lives, please consider making a donation.