Join our Captains Club for 35% off Dreamforce Registration →

Close this search box.
The Best of Dreamforce 2021 Nonprofit

The Best of Dreamforce 2021 Nonprofit

Using Technology To Bring Real Change

At Dreamforce 2021, Salesforce’s biggest event of the year, we heard incredibly moving stories about how nonprofits are using Salesforce platforms to dramatically change the lives of the people they serve. For instance, we heard how one of our customer Trailblazers, Centro Legal de La Raza, worked to implement a Covid rental assistance program by setting up a portal with Salesforce in just a few weeks, enabling people to quickly and easily submit documentation. The result? Over 60 million dollars has now reached people in need.

Nonprofits have partnered with Salesforce to make incredible visions a reality while strengthening the relationships they have with their volunteers, donors, and boards. Read on to hear more stories from Dreamforce 2021’s Digital Transformation for Nonprofits series.

Why Nonprofits Need Cutting-Edge Platforms

According to a McKinsey study done in 2018, less than 30% of digital transformations succeed, and only 16% of respondents said such transformations led to improved performance and long-term, sustainable change. Salesforce is helping organizations improve those numbers. 

One of the most poignant examples of a successful transformation comes from the International Justice Mission (IJM). A global organization that protects people in poverty from further violence, IJM partners with local authorities in 24 program offices in 14 countries to combat trafficking, slavery, and other forms of violence. In partnering with Salesforce, they implemented a technology that enables them to actually locate connections between criminals and criminal organizations. What they have found is that the technology really works. Since its implementation, they have seen an 80% reduction in violence against children in the Philippines, and they’ve seen similar numbers throughout the developing world. Not only that, but they have a 2030 goal of protecting half a billion people, rescuing many millions more, and making justice unstoppable. “We have our truth that is quantified by data that our programs actually work,” says Bernardo Sandoval, Global Chief Information Officer at IJM. “We can actually end these types of injustice within our lifetimes in the developing world, and technology is the accelerator that will allow us to do that at scale.”

Making a Vision a Reality with Justice Data Solution

As huge as this 2030 mission is, Gary Haugen, CEO of IJM, believes in it wholeheartedly, because technology now has the power to produce conclusive data. “What the struggle for justice is about is trying to uncover the lies of oppressors and abusers. Before the tools of digital technology, this was all done manually…this would take months and months,” he says. “Digital technology has now made it possible to do this kind of search for truth with unlimited speed and with absolutely undeniable clarity, so now we are bringing the tools of technology to bear on the search for justice.” JMI has been able to bring rescue and restoration to more than 60,000 individual clients, and according to Haugen, the even bigger change happens when you can scale that and actually change justice systems. “Salesforce is enabling us, through our Justice Data Solution, to actually scale the struggle for justice because we’re bringing the tools of technology to the fight for truth,” Haugen says.

Sandoval echoes this optimism, and he was never a “Salesforce Koolaid drinker” to begin with, he says. “When I joined IJM and there was this incredible passion and vision to do this technology initiative, I took a step back and gave pause…many say their use case is complex; ours really was…Salesforce, as it is today, can actually support operations. It can be used to scale out and to standardize operations across our investigation teams, our prosecutors, our attorneys, our aftercare, our M&E, and tie that together with our grants and our donors so that data flows very freely across the entire enterprise.” 

Though theirs is certainly a success story, it hasn’t been without its difficulties.

Common Tech Challenges for Nonprofits and How To Overcome Them

As all nonprofits know, implementing a digital transformation is not easy, especially when it requires a massive overhaul, but it is well worth the effort. “There is no pixie dust,” Sandoval says. “There’s no technology that can just be purchased and applied to solve business challenges. The business needs to be equally as accountable as the technology team to actually deliver the result.” 

This accountability is key to a successful digital transformation, and it includes having a strong Board of Directors that will ask the tough questions, says Haugen. When asked what advice he would give to other nonprofits taking on a big tech initiative like this, he had the following advice:

  • Build a strong Board
  • Make sure the CEO and leadership team have an authentic vision about the way technology can be transformational, an accelerator that can take you to scale
  • Find the allies on your board who have an appreciation for technology’s capacity to truly change lives. If you can have some conversations with those board members and bring them into vision, they can be ambassadors of that vision for others on the board

As for the technological side of it, Sandoval says they approached the project with humility. Rather than going to the tech team and saying, “We’re going to tell you what to do,” they respected that the team is comprised of experts in their field. There’s no technology that can simply be purchased and applied to such complex problems. “The business needs to be equally as accountable as the technology team to actually deliver the result,” Sandoval says.

Lastly, JMI used Experience Cloud for Nonprofits to set up a donor portal that

  • Gives donors a seamless experience, where they can engage with IJM on one platform 
  • Allows donors to manage their profile and contact information, update giving amount, change payment options and frequency, and retrieve giving history or tax statements
  • Improves donor retention by enabling donors to self-serve, freeing up time for the IJM team to focus on fundraising growth

Finding Truth in Data

As the above case exemplifies, Salesforce technology can give nonprofits the tools to acquire data that enables them to make real change in real time.  It can do many things for your organization, such as

  • Bring current projects to scale to have an even greater impact
  • Manage complex programs
  • Bring the data to bear on what is possible

Exciting Innovations Coming out of Nonprofit Cloud

Slack for Nonprofits

Salesforce’s newest collaboration platform helps those in and outside of your organization to communicate and collaborate from anywhere. It consolidates information from multiple sources and systems, creating a whole new virtual headquarters for the whole organization. Slack for Nonprofits also allows external stakeholders, volunteers, donors, and board members to engage directly with staff. It integrates with Nonprofit Cloud Case Management, allowing case managers to work from a single system and react to changes in real time, rather than having to switch to a different tool or tab in their browser. It gives case managers one seamless experience, allowing them to work from anywhere, save time, and meet clients’ needs.

Experience Cloud for Nonprofits

Experience Cloud for Nonprofits is a new digital front door for your constituents to engage with your nonprofit, streamline self-service, and share the story of your mission’s impact. It enables organizations to cultivate strong relationships with stakeholders and clients, increase transparency, and put your engagement data to good use so you can personalize your touch points.

Einstein for Nonprofits

AI-driven Einstein for Nonprofits is an expansion to Salesforce’s fundraising solution that will help organizations understand a donor’s likelihood to become a recurring donor through data-driven insights and preset criteria, like donation history and volunteer engagement. If the volunteer engagement is high, Einstein for Nonprofits will add this volunteer to the marketing campaign list to encourage volunteers to become recurring donors using a pre-built template. In just a few clicks, you have a sophisticated donor journey; over a few weeks, the volunteer receives a series of inspiring stories about their personal impact, the end of which might be an ask to become a repeat donor. With this platform, volunteers can enter monthly donation, designate the program of choice, agree to donation fees, and indicate interest in upcoming events. This strengthens the relationship between your organization and dedicated volunteers, ensuring more lifelong supporters and mutually supportive connections. 

Volunteer Portalalso built on Experience Cloud for Nonprofits, allows volunteers visibility into their real-time impact, strengthening their personal connection to the organization they are helping, and to the real-time impact their volunteering efforts have on people’s lives.

In addition to all of these digital enhancements, continued innovation to products like Elevate* (only available in the US) and Marketing Cloud for Nonprofits (available to our global nonprofit community) have been launched recently, improving the donor experience by integrating fundraising with a donation platform.  

And last but not least, Nonprofit Cloud and our Customer 360 continue to provide nonprofits the information they need to personalize experiences for every client, donor, and stakeholder.

Check out more!

As you can see, there are some amazing opportunities for nonprofits to use Salesforce platforms to guide their digital transformation, paving the way to a brighter, more equitable future. 

To hear more about how nonprofits are making the most of these platforms, visit Salesforce+.


Blog Featured Images 1200x630 (9)
The Salesforce Admin's Guide to Continuous Innovation Services (and Why It Matters)
Featured Images 1200x630 (2)
How to Turn Banking Customer Complaints into Growth Opportunities with Salesforce
Blog Featured Images (3)
Pulling growth levers within Salesforce: PE Strategies for Quick Wins & High ROI