muscular dystrophy association

Annual operational savings
Volunteers across the US
Number of IT systems before Salesforce

The Problem

Operational Inefficiencies
and Technology Debt

Current donation, financial management, and operations processes as separate islands of data that are not interconnected, resulting in inefficiency.

The Solution

A one platform Quote to Cash
Salesforce Solution

Analyze and refine business processes. Leverage Salesforce and Certinia to streamline and connect departments under one roof.

The evolution

Operational Savings and Data Driven Decision Making

With strategic and tactical help from VFP Consulting, the Salesforce/Certinia platforms will allow MDA to achieve two important milestones:

These changes will be the backbone of MDA’s future and will empower tens of thousands of volunteers and staff in 84 offices across the country.

One of America’s best-known and well-loved charities, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, was founded more than 70 years ago. MDA has been known for its innovation over the years, including the first celebrity telethon in 1956, to investment in ground-breaking science and care, and that transformation continues with a new digital strategy. Today, they are embracing a new round of innovation to streamline the organization, serve the many committed donors and volunteers, and continue transforming lives through science and care.

They faced issues including:

That means Mike Kennedy, as the new CFO in 2018, needed to align MDA’s people, maximize the processes that support their communities, and pace the team through a digital transformation that landed them with a one-platform Salesforce strategy with Certinia ERP Cloud.

“I don't give recommendations easily. But I can for VFP - I appreciate that they are more than a software implementation company, and have become my partners in a massive transformation.”

Michael Kennedy

EVP & CFO, Muscular Dystrophy Association

The evolution of a 70-year old charity to a modern Quote to Cash infrastructure

The first phase of this project was to identify where MDA was in their technology journey, and where they needed to evolve. It started with a collaborative discussion. We came to the table with a mutual understanding of “we need to get this done together.”

It wasn't an implementation team, it was a project team. VFP and MDA were delivering real results and real transformation for the MDA user base. MDA had antiquated and disparate front and backend systems, and worked with 64 different systems, none of them were talking to each other. Once this core problem was identified, we decided to implement Certinia as the single end-to-end processing platform.

"Stephanie and VFP joined us in the early session with Certinia we agreed we needed a common platform," said Kennedy. "The plan was to make MDA a data-driven organization, and that's what we did."

“I joined MDA as CFO because I’m passionate about helping people, and I have the corporate background to do it right. My first step was to modernize the tech infrastructure so we had the financial data we needed. Corporate and Not-for-profit are no different in this respect. Unless you have accurate, trusted insights into the flow of cash you are guessing when you make decisions that impact people’s lives.”

Mike Kennedy


As time was of the essence, we were able to implement Certinia and the entire digital transformation in seven months. MDA now enjoys real-time information via Certinia software, which has made a world of difference for them.

During to the implementation stage, VFP spends the time upfront, taking three to six months for evaluation and consultation. In order to prepare for the actual implementation stage, we take our time in order to ensure the project moves forward smoothly. This isn't a plug and play solution, it’s a process. We train and test. We ensure we have a project team system prepared and ready for all system users' questions.

Phase two starts post-implementation. The newly implemented cloud-based platform provides new information for analysis. This allows you to make data-informed decisions and break old habits, discovering faster cheaper, and better ways to do things. As Michael Kennedy says,

“There’s nothing worse than deciding with your fingers crossed because you only have 60% of your information, where now you know I have almost all the information, we know exactly when to hire, exactly when to grow, exactly when to show up to work. These are answers to exactly how to keep our vendors at a very good cost structure and, it's all information that easily flows through now. But, it starts with building that singular platform, having the ability to track information at the point of contact. After phase I we were able to save over 10 million dollars a year on operations. It wasn't a one-time shot because now we are going into the second and third years of it. So, at the end of 2021, I have 30 million dollars in savings and it doesn't stop there, it allows us to be more efficient. When we started 40% of our fundraisers were frustrated and that’s down to 5%. Now, you get a lift because that's a lot of people who are dedicated to the business.”

When $10,000,000 in annual operational savings is just the beginning

Phase two is about knowing we made these operational savings but now we have all this data and we are learning how we can make decisions and how we can use that data. The whole point is not just implementation and savings, but transformation, is the way your business thinks about making decisions. This kind of information it's not just a static report. It's not just information presented to you in one format, and it always has to be dynamic, all being able to drill down to the details.

It’s important to keep in mind that innovation is not a single action or a set strategy. Each step towards innovation opens the door to new questions, new actions and new strategies. In the spirit of innovation, we've helped MDA build a platform that allows for that constant change and evolution. That platform is Certinia.

“Our team embraced the change - and we worked through it together. After a year, we realized our annual operational savings were $10 million +. That’s boring now. What I get excited about is working with our leadership and board to make decisions to help MDA grow and prosper in the next 70 years. That means being smart about our donors and understanding where our support comes from. You need a great CloudERP to make that work.”

Mike Kennedy


Making strategic decisions with the data from the single source of truth

Phase Three capitalizes on the new data in order to create a strategic path for the company, allowing the agility to adapt faster to new events. This was the case with Michael during COVID pandemic, which forced MDA to take a step back to reassess. By incorporating our business consultancy recommendations, we were able to lead MDA to an increased growth mode.

It’s important to keep in mind that innovation is not a single action or a set strategy. Each step towards innovation opens the door to new questions, new actions and new strategies. In the spirit of innovation, we've helped MDA build a platform that allows for that constant change and evolution. That platform is Certinia.

“If you’re embarking on this journey, then best advice I can give is to choose a partner with a passion for your business. I know with our partner TeamVFP providing guidance and expertise over the last 3 years - and many more ahead - MDA will continue to thrive.”

Mike Kennedy