United Way of Salt Lake responds to 25% more grant proposals and increases community impact with Asana

United Way of Salt Lake
  • United Way of Salt Lake logo
  • Headquarters
    • Salt Lake City, UT
  • Organization size
    • 90+ employees
  • Youth impacted
    • Reach nearly 1.5 million youth

Asana impact

  • Respond to 25% more grant proposals because process is streamlined
  • Save 15% of time on planning for routine projects and work by using templates
  • Onboard more volunteers and provide volunteer support for partners and community events

In 2013, a young woman named Nour and her family left their home and extended family in Syria to find refuge—and a better life—in Utah. They didn’t speak English or have any money. With the help of United Way of Salt Lake (UWSL), Nour enrolled in a UWSL community school, learned English, and got paired up with a mentor to guide her through her high school experience. In 2018 she graduated high school and is now saving for college and volunteering for UWSL.

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together” is emblazoned on the United Way of Salt Lake’s website as a reminder that through partners and community, they can help thousands of people like Nour in their area. By working with partners and volunteers to improve educational opportunities and life outcomes for those in need, UWSL helps hundreds of thousands of people like Nour achieve new educational heights.

Bill Crim, the organization’s CEO, looks at high-level metrics like their donor base and company culture, while members of his team—Katy Shoemaker, Grants Manager, Amy Ahrens Terpstra, VP of Collective Impact Partnerships, Luis Miranda, Director of Capacity Building, and Courtney Dean, Volunteer Engagement Manager— manage programs across the organization.

As UWSL’s team has grown over the past few years, they’ve also expanded the scope of their work. They have taken on more volunteers, hosted more events, brought on more partners, and built programs for mentorship and community in the Salt Lake area. All of this added work—and added team members—led to a sense of chaos among employees as well as what Bill calls “email overwhelm.” Work across the organization was siloed and scattered, leading to a lack of visibility into what employees were doing and making knowledge sharing difficult. Bill recognized that this was a suboptimal way of working to achieve their goals, so he set out to find a way for the organization to work more effectively.

United Way of Salt Lake team

The search for a solution

Obsessed with finding a better way to work, Bill began searching for a work management solution. He came across Asana and tested it out with his assistant, then with a larger team. Finally, he selected Asana because it was the best solution that met his criteria:

  • It was simple and easy to use
  • Communication functionality was built in, so the team could move away from email
  • It integrates with the other tools they use, such as Google Drive, Outlook, and Slack
  • Work could be accessed from any device via the mobile app

Once he had tested it with a team, UWSL started to roll Asana out organization-wide. They identified power users to lead trainings, aiming to have a champion within each team. To help new hires get moving faster, they also built Asana training into their onboarding process and leaned on Asana’s Customer Success team to run some trainings.

“With Asana, our whole organization is so collaborative. It's broken down silos between teams and projects, helping people realize where they fit into the larger scope.” –Katy Shoemaker, Grant Manager

United Way of Salt Lake at school

Moving work forward—for their team and their community

The UWSL team has seen numerous benefits since rolling out Asana across the organization, including responding to more grant proposals and shaving time off of routine tasks. Here’s how:

  • Every team member knows how their work contributes to the organization’s goals: By tracking team priorities alongside departmental and organizational goals in Asana, everyone sees how their work is contributing to the bigger picture.
  • Processes for large initiatives, like grant proposals, are streamlined: Using templates allows the team to take on 25% more grant proposals and apply for even larger grants because they know that no steps will fall through the cracks.

“With Asana, we can submit 25% more grant applications each year and are able to apply for larger grants that impact the work we do in a more meaningful way.” –Katy Shoemaker, Grant Manager

  • They can provide more volunteer opportunities for their community and partners: Managing volunteer requests using a Google Form helps the team staff their initiatives more efficiently by automating the volunteer management process.
  • The hiring process is more collaborative: Tracking the recruitment process in Asana makes the steps of the process clear because every step is outlined in a project and everyone involved in the process can check in on candidates.
  • Everyone has clarity on responsibilities: By using Asana to manage internal meetings, action items are assigned in real time so next steps are clear.

“I love the clarity of expectation that Asana brings to the work we do. It makes us better communicators about how we drive work forward.” –Amy Ahrens Terpstra, Vice President of Collective Impact Partnerships

Evolving to better serve their community

UWSL is always evolving to increase their impact and reach, constantly looking for new ways to create more meaningful partnerships and change their community for the better. At the core of what they do lies an engaged team and steady stream of funding for successful initiatives. Without these two elements, their work would be impossible. For UWSL, Asana plays a crucial role in keeping employees engaged, making responsibilities clear, enabling them to pursue greater funding opportunities—and ultimately helping them take their community to greater educational heights.

“In complex organizations, you need some way to keep everybody on the same page. When you let silos develop because there's no organization-wide view into what's going on—that's the worst possible way of working. Asana gives us a single platform across every team to share work, to communicate, and to follow up with each other.” –Bill Crim, CEO