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10 Innovative Nonprofits Using Technology to Build Resilience Through Crisis

By David Ragones September 2, 2020

As demand for nonprofit services surges, 85% of nonprofits agree that technology is key to their long-term success. 

Today, we’re thrilled to introduce our Nonprofit Cloud Summer ‘20 Release to help nonprofits simplify and optimize their digital journeys. We’re enhancing our current offerings in fundraising, marketing and engagement, program management, and recently launched the Outbound Funds Module for grantmakers.

The shift to digital is more imperative than ever for nonprofits to navigate this new normal and deliver more impact. Don’t just take our word for it — hear from 10 of our incredible nonprofit customers who are using our technology in innovative ways to drive results and support their communities.  

Robin Hood Multiplied its Donor Base by 300% in 2020

Robin Hood reimagined their gala as a broadcasted benefit concert with Tina Fey, raising $115M and gaining more donors, which meant more data. In preparation for end-of-year giving, they implemented Insights Data Integrity, which found 10X the number of duplicate contacts in Nonprofit Cloud, saving them money, time, and creating a better donor experience.

“Data empowers us to achieve our mission to lift New Yorkers experiencing need out of poverty, measurably and sustainably.” – Sheila Kelly, Chief Advancement Officer, Robin Hood

Upaya Achieved a 153% Increase in Funds Raised by Reimagining a Virtual Gala 

In less than a week, the Upaya team transformed their annual gala into a virtual black-tie event. Upaya’s online community donated $306K, surpassing their $200k goal, to continue their mission of creating jobs and scalable businesses for people living in poverty. 

We made the decision to cancel the in-person Gala and attempt to engage with our donors in a way that might recapture as much of our goal as possible.” – Kate Cochran, CEO, Upaya

Kelly Cochran and the team at Upaya raised over $300,000 from their virtual fundraising gala

Upaya’s virtual gala raised $306k–well over the organization’s goal.

Wsparcie dla Szpitala Trained up 30 Volunteers and 360 Local Coordinators to Support Two-Thirds of all Polish Hospitals

In March, with Poland’s borders shut, COVID-19 infections rising, and crucial supplies dwindling, local support groups popped up here and there to help hospitals on the frontlines, but they were overwhelmed by the task of coordinating their donations. Jakub Tabedzki of Clorce and Jakub Jasiczak from Poznan University of Economics, stepped up to transform grassroots assistance efforts into a cohesive and efficient network of hospital support. 

“In five days the developers at Clorce built a service, based on’s package for NGOs, that allowed hospitals to create lists of what they needed. We started with five volunteers, who we trained in Salesforce on the fly – teaching them how to create leads, convert and manage leads – and they onboarded 100 hospitals over the phone.” – Jakub Tabedzki, Clorce

buildOn Reached 100% of Their Target Goal When Providing Units of Critical PPE to Those in Need Where They Work–in Cities Across the U.S. and Eight Countries Globally

As the pandemic progressed, buildOn had to pause their in-person programs, but that didn’t stop them from digitizing new community experiences to bring in transformational donor gifts. In order to share with donors what they’re doing globally, they have created digital “One buildOn” projects to engage all stakeholders in service. Their first, making masks, produced 45k masks by students and donors in the U.S., and community members in Nicaragua, Guatemala, Haiti, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Mali, Malawi, and Nepal. During the process they were able to engage relevant supporters through integration of external data sets and internal CRM information.

“If we hadn’t dug deep and done all the work to digitize our mission over the last few years, we wouldn’t be so well set up to succeed.” – Eric Dayton, Director of Data, buildOn

Hospital workers wearing personal protective equipment.

buildOn produced 45,000 masks.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of America created a new Community platform for 120,000 Bigs and Littles in Eight Weeks 

BBBSA needed to quickly pivot their 1:1 mentoring experiences to virtual and deliver a safe and user-friendly space for volunteer mentors, or ‘Bigs’, youth ‘Littles’, guardians, and support teams to communicate and engage. They did so by enabling tracking of conversations, activities, youth development plans, and support requests on one platform. 

“We are stepping up to keep kids connected and supported during this time of social distancing, school closings, and stress related to the coronavirus crisis. We’re committed to continuing to connect Bigs and Littles virtually when in-person mentoring is not possible”Jarrod Bell, CTO

Big Brothers Big Sisters of America built a new community platform in 8 weeks.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of America built a new community platform in 8 weeks.

The Center Met a 40% Increase in Demand for Services During the Pandemic 

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit New York City in March, The Center implemented a new chat function in just three week to meet the demand for a 40% increase in demand for its services. The center is the heart and home of NYC’s LGBT community, providing programs for health, wellness and community connection and needed to act quickly to provide essential services at scale. After a two week sprint with volunteers through’s Pro Bono Program, they launched a chat support option on their website, providing another way to communicate directly with clients in real time with an added layer of privacy. 

“Despite the need to be socially distant right now, we’re utilizing the power of technology to connect in many ways including providing crucial health and wellness services.” – Jeffrey Klein,  Esq., Chief Operating Officer for The Center

The Center implemented a chat function in just 3 weeks to connect with clients through the pandemic.

The Center implemented a chat function in just 3 weeks to connect with clients through the pandemic.

92Y Saw a 25% Increase in New Website Visitors After Shifting to Virtual Content 

When the pandemic hit and 92Y paused in-person programming, they shifted to fully virtual content: “92Y Now” and “92Y Anywhere,” and daily, personalized emails with Marketing Cloud. This virtual content, which includes live and archival videos, interactive masterclasses, and classes for adults and children resulted in a 25% increase in new website visitors. 

“Reimagining how we serve our community in-person and online has created new audiences and new programs. Salesforce makes it possible to welcome new patrons, while encouraging existing patrons to discover new programs AND enjoy old favorites.” – Kent Davidson, Managing Director, 92nd Street Y

Boettcher Foundation Processed Grants Faster Than Ever Before to Invest $1M Within a Month for Research Aimed at Fighting the Pandemic

The Boettcher Foundation launched a rapid response COVID Biomedical Research Innovation Fund to quickly grant money to organizations researching the virus and other pandemics. Within a month, they processed over 120 grant applications, selected the six most promising organizations to grant funds to, and got the money out the door. 

“This was unprecedented for our Foundation to turn around a rapid response RFP using external reviewers while relying entirely on technology. The Salesforce platform gave us the capability to build a customized application and efficiently manage the volume of proposals we received. ” – Curtis Esquibel, Director of Communications and Community Engagement.

AgeUK Scaled Their Operations, Logged Over 2,000 Calls and Trained Over 80 Volunteers in Five Days 

Age UK Hythe & Lyminge, located in the coastal town of Hythe in Kent, needed to stay connected with thousands of aging and vulnerable people in their community. Originally volunteers used only spreadsheets, pens, and paper, which was slowing them down as well as causing security issues. Now, with Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud, Platform and Mobile technologies, they’ve been able to centralise contact details from lists provided by local health centres, create a flow-based call script for volunteers to make calls and automate follow-up tasks, and effectively report insights to stakeholders. 

‘We would not been able to meet the need at this challenging time without Salesforce and their commitment to us’ – Hayley Ross, Service Manager, Age UK Hythe

AgeUK scaled operations to stay connected with its aging community in just five days.

AgeUK scaled operations to stay connected with its aging community in just five days.

Made in Hackney Did a Year’s Worth of Volunteer Hours in 4 Months

Due to COVID-19 and the need to social distance, Made in Hackney was no longer able to provide in-person community cookery classes. Using Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud they were able to quickly spin up referral forms on Salesforce to capture those in urgent need of food. They also recruited and trained hundreds of volunteers on the same platform to support all aspects of this new service. Additionally, they’re working to record feedback on quality of service provided in order to make improvements and offer more personalized welfare experience.

“Salesforce has empowered us to launch an emergency frontline food delivery service in a matter of days. Without it we would have really struggled to respond to the unprecedented demand for our services and manage the volume of data pouring in on a daily basis” – Nynke Brett, Operations Manager/Salesforce Admin, Made in Hackney 

Made in Hackney’s community meal chefs provide emergency food service to communities in need in the U.K.

Made in Hackney’s community meal chefs provide emergency food service to communities in need

As the nonprofit community continues to navigate a rapidly changing landscape, we’re here to support. 

Learn more about our Summer ‘20 Release by looking at our Summer ‘20 Release Overview for a deeper dive, or register for our Release Harbor Tour on September 16, 2020 at 11 a.m. PST, and check out our new Nonprofit Cloud Demo.

Any unreleased services or features referenced in this or other posts or public statements are not currently available and may not be delivered on time or at all. Customers who purchase Salesforce applications should make their purchase decisions based upon features that are currently available. For more information, please visit or call 1-800-667-6389.

About the Author

Dave Ragones, Senior Vice President & General Manager, Nonprofit Cloud at

Dave Ragones, Senior Vice President & General Manager, Nonprofit Cloud at

Dave brings a deep passion and commitment to the nonprofit sector. Six years ago, he co-founded his own non-profit, Piedmont Makers, dedicated to support and inspire K-12 S.T.E.A.M. education in the East Bay, California and beyond. He also served on the board of the Piedmont Education Foundation, which raises over $3 million annually for the Piedmont Unified School District.