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7 Ways This Nonprofit Digitized its Mission to Promote Interfaith Diversity

By Guest Author December 3, 2020

Dr. Eboo Patel, Founder and President of Interfaith Youth Core

America is one of the most religiously diverse nations in the world, yet too little attention has been paid to this important aspect of each person’s identity and worldview. Since 1998, Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC) has been dedicated to teaching people the skills to understand and appreciate religious differences, while helping organizations acknowledge and celebrate the religious diversity in both their workforce as well as their clients. Working in colleges, businesses, and civic life, we aim to make interfaith understanding and cooperation the norm in American life. technology has been an important partner in helping us to achieve our mission. Here are seven ways that a strong digital infrastructure has helped us to maximize our impact by personalizing our communications efforts and empowering us to make data-driven decisions.

1. Capture wide-ranging data

Our signature Interfaith Leadership Institute is attended annually by 700 students, faculty, and staff from campuses across the country. Salesforce offers a robust platform that allows us to capture important demographic information, like religious identity. Understanding the vast diversity of our constituents enables us to honor, rather than minimize, their views.

2. Personalize outreach efforts

We work with many higher education and civic leadership partners across the country. With Marketing Cloud, we can customize and facilitate outreach and communications plans based on our partners’ specific strengths. This highly personalized outreach helps us to form stronger relationships, ultimately resulting in a vast network of partners helping us build a more inclusive interfaith America. 

3. Strategize vital communications

Marketing and communications is always tricky to perfect, but especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. By leveraging Salesforce, we have been able to develop a more focused communications strategy. Marketing Cloud and Service Cloud enable us to understand what content is most important and then deliver the relevant content, resources, and curriculum to our partners. This has been especially critical during the pandemic when understanding the unique challenges each of our partners are facing is an important piece to the roles they play in shaping a nation that is welcoming for all. 

Young woman laughing

Yaa Baker, IFYC Coach and student leader at University of Rochester laughs during the 2019 Interfaith Leadership Institute in Chicago.

4. Racial equity and interfaith grantmaking

A big piece of our work is providing grants to partners within our network that are doing important work in the areas of racial justice and interfaith cooperation. Our webforms are fully integrated with Salesforce to enable seamless data inclusion of the people showing interest in our content, resources, and program examples. We’re then able to use this highly segmented data to deepen engagement with constituents through tailored outreach emails.

5. Capture and segment higher education data

We can now segment our audiences by whether they work at or attend a Historically Black College and University (HBCU), Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI), a Christian College, a public university, or a private institution. Further, we can understand whether or not a private campus is religiously affiliated. This allows us to tailor our messaging and ensure that we are including as many diverse identities and voices at the table as possible.

6. Curate a sophisticated individual giving strategy

By leveraging engagement plans, we have been able to build a strategy based on donor behaviors, including recency, frequency, amount, and potential giving capacity. By building a more comprehensive understanding of our donors and potential donors, we have been able to create individual giving strategies personalized to each donor. As a result, we’ve seen donors move seamlessly to higher value segments and lapsed donors re-engage.

7. Develop a curriculum to meet an important national moment

In this critical time for our country, we believe that interfaith leaders are uniquely positioned to meet the needs of this national moment. Using analytics from the data-driven strategies outlined above, we developed We Are Each Other’s. The campaign, which includes a set of curricula, funding, and connection opportunities, is designed to activate and support interfaith leaders responding to the current national crises. 

Group of young adults

Student Interfaith Leaders gather around the table for a text study.

Through this relationship with Salesforce, not only have we transformed our digital infrastructure, we’ve also formed relationships with the Salesforce employee resource group, Faithforce. Faithforce promotes intersectional and interfaith collaboration, learning, and celebration across Salesforce. This new partnership has been important in helping IFYC equip young people with the skills to be the professionals and civic leaders who make a difference at companies like Salesforce. 

This symbiotic relationship between IFYC and Salesforce, to use technology for good and to drive education and inclusion, is what helps propel the mission of both organizations.  Fortunately, Salesforce  is not alone in promoting equality and inclusion in the workplace — similar interfaith groups exist at companies like PayPal, Twitter, and Accenture. 

Inspired by the leadership of Faithforce, IFYC recently brought these four groups together for a presentation to other businesses that are interested in interfaith cooperation in the corporate setting. It’s efforts like these that have helped other corporations, like Walmart and Starbucks, realize the importance of religious diversity in the workplace and for their customers. 

This country is so fortunate to have a wealth of diversity within it. Celebrating that diversity is crucial to not just meeting this moment today, but exceeding it for generations to come.

Learn more about digitizing your mission to maximize your organization’s impact.

About the Author

Dr. Eboo Patel, Founder and President of Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC)

Dr. Eboo Patel is the Founder and President of Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC), a non-profit organization working to make interfaith cooperation a social norm in America. He is a respected leader on national issues of religious diversity, civic engagement, and the intersection of racial equity and interfaith cooperation. He is the author of four books and dozens of articles, and is a frequent keynote speaker at colleges and universities, philanthropic convenings, and civic gatherings, both in person and virtually. He served on President Obama’s Inaugural Faith Council.

Eboo holds a doctorate in the sociology of religion from Oxford University, where he studied on a Rhodes scholarship. He has been awarded the Louisville Grawemeyer Prize in Religion, the Guru Nanak Interfaith Prize, the El Hibri Peace Education Prize, the Council of Independent Colleges Academic Leadership Award, along with honorary degrees from 15 colleges.