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Five students displaying their wooden paddles at the edge of a pond.
Client Story
A pin icon representing locationSt. Croix, MN Icon representing the classification of this org Arts & Culture

Marine Mills Folk School Replaces Spreadsheets with Neon CRM and Runs Hundreds of Programs a Year

Customer Profile

  • Solutions Used:

    Neon CRM Neon Websites
  • Customer Since: 2021

  • Outcome: Gained efficiencies and increased the number of classes they could offer

Despite all the technology available today, the Marine Mills Folk School focuses on an unplugged, deliberate approach. They do it to foster community, build traditional skills, and ultimately work toward world peace. Sound like a big goal? It is. And they’ve only been doing it since 2018.

Although they’re a young organization that dealt with setbacks due to the pandemic, Marine Mills Folk School was experiencing growth to the point where their system of Google Sheets and Google Docs was becoming cumbersome and difficult to navigate. This is when their Program Director, Kirsten Skoglund, started exploring CRM solutions for their organization.

Since Marine Mills Folk School’s main funding comes through the classes they offer, Skoglund did her due diligence to research the event functionality of every platform she evaluated. “This may seem backward from most nonprofits since most of them have fundraising as a priority,” Skoglund remarked. “What is really unique for our organization, though is we charge a tuition fee and a materials fee for our classes. We need to track those separately. Neon CRM was the only platform where we could do this.”

Student at a Kuksa Carving Class
Student at a Kuksa Carving Class

With Neon CRM, we’re not spending so much time on administrative tasks because everything is in one place. 

– Kirsten Skoglund, Program Director, Marine Mills Folk School

About 10 months after implementing Neon CRM, Skoglund decided to also switch their website to Neon Websites. This made their registration process smoother and eliminated the burden of duplicating efforts in Neon CRM on their old WordPress site. They were able to get rid of a lot of paper by including waivers in their new registration forms.

“We were very concerned about transitioning websites because we were hanging on to something we knew, and we were transferring to something we didn’t know. And the new website has worked really well for us.”

– Kirsten Skoglund, Program Director, Marine Mills Folk School

Now, Skoglund releases 100+ classes at a time. All of the automation through Neon CRM and Neon Websites has saved Skoglund and her team tons of time, allowing Marine Mills Folk School to double the number of classes they offer.

How Neon One Supports Them

As a non-tech person, Skoglund appreciates all the opportunities Neon One offers for training, especially the open office hours. “The open office hours have been really, really helpful because I can listen to questions, and some of them might be mine,” Skoglund exclaimed. “Even the monthly release webinars are helpful to learn about other things you can do with the platform.”

What’s Next

Skoglund has fine-tuned her process for getting classes published, and can now turn her attention to other things Neon CRM enables Marine Mills Folk School to do, like send newsletters, track grants, and communicate with volunteers.

Lessons Learned

Many organizations are comfortable with the system they have, even if it’s cumbersome. Skoglund recommends talking to a lot of people before you make a decision. Switching systems takes time and energy, but when you know you made the right decision, it’s all worth it.

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