Work: Nonprofit & Foundations
MicroMentor - LinkedIn for the Little Guy
Dayspring provides creative, development and salesforce.com consulting in one cohesive team
MicroMentor is a nonprofit project supporting microenterprises—businesses generally employing 5 or fewer employees but which nevertheless account for close to 90% of all business entities. When looking to create a new Web 2.0 site which would dramatically advance its offering, MicroMentor selected Dayspring.
MicroMentor, a division of leading international nonprofit Mercy Corps. MicroMentor is focused on expanding business opportunities for microentrepreneurs by connecting small business owners with business mentors.
Microentrepreneurs typically face a "social capital" gap, finding it difficult to connect with the people that will help their businesses succeed. MicroMentor is at the forefront of connecting mentors with entrepreneurs via the Web. MicroMentor had an existing Web application which was serving its needs—to a certain extent. As MicroMentor looked to dramatically scale the number of business mentoring relationships it could support, it sought to upgrade its website interface, adding an intelligent match engine and taking advantage of social networking paradigms to grow its reach.
MicroMentor's project team envisioned a Web site that would allow mentors and entrepreneurs to connect with each other and manage their mentoring activity, would make intelligent match suggestions, and would integrate with MicroMentor's CRM solution from salesforce.com for reporting and case management.
MicroMentor selected Dayspring through a competitive bidding process as the partner best positioned to help MicroMentor realize its design and engineering vision. Dayspring led the project team through a Discovery and Design process where functionality was identified, prioritized and specified via graphic design concepting and Web prototypes.
Dayspring's development team, following an agile development process, provided the flexibility that allowed MicroMentor to implement its vision and incorporate usability feedback along the way. The data model of the existing website was upgraded to allow for and encourage multiple mentoring matches for a single user and to allow entrepreneurs to eventually play the role of mentors as well. MicroMentor's historical database and several thousand users were seamlessly migrated to the new system as part of the effort.
Force.com API is the Glue
Integrating the custom Web application with the Salesforce CRM involved:
- Creating a host of custom objects within Salesforce CRM to support the new functionality
- Two-way messaging between Salesforce CRM and the MicroMentor Web app to keep all information in synch and available to the right users in the appropriate user interface
- Unified reporting of data initiated at either end of the integration link
A social widget, like the one on this page, allows MicroMentor to distribute configurable feeds of site activity. This one shows all mentoring requests within 50 miles of San Francisco.
After the successful launch, a later enhancement was initiated to create an Affiliate Administrator Portal allowing authorized partners to monitor group member activity on the MicroMentor site via the salesforce.com Customer Portal product.
Technologies employed: PHP, CakePHP, MySQL, Force.com API, jQuery, PayPal.
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