By: Latasha Morrison, Founder & President, Be the Bridge
In this moment, it’s critical that we confront the history of racial injustice that is an undeniable part of our country’s foundation — one that still fuels a movement for equity, calls for change, and protests for justice like those we saw in America in 2020. Be the Bridge works to empower people and culture toward racial healing, equity, and reconciliation. This work is needed now more than ever.
Our members — individuals like you — share a common goal of creating a healthy dialogue about race and reconciliation in the U.S., with an emphasis on developing understanding of racial disparities and injustice. We support members, who we call “Bridge Builders”, with tools, training, and resources for racial literacy. We also create opportunities to gather and discuss history and personal experiences with the goal of fostering understanding by learning from one other.
From Data Silos to a Single Source of Truth
Be the Bridge started in 2016 as a truly grassroots effort to bring people together in a shared vision of racial reconciliation. Our membership grew steadily, and we began to see communities growing organically throughout the country. Our initial community-building initiatives relied on social media and our infrastructure was a collection of disconnected tools.
As we grew, we knew we needed a centralized place for all our member and supporter data. We had information across social media platforms, our online donor database, with our partner organizations, and on our website through merchandise sales. These disparate data silos made it impossible to understand community members’ interactions with Be the Bridge at every level, to connect with supporters in a personalized way, and to have control over our data rather than relying on social media platforms to provide it.
and the number of contacts in their system by 1195%.
Since implementing Nonprofit Cloud in March 2020, we’ve increased our monthly donors by 320% and the number of contacts in our system by 1195%. Having Nonprofit Cloud allowed us to centralize all of our critical information and, more importantly, get a comprehensive view of our donors, members, and supporters. In addition to insights into our supporters, we’re also able to track product orders and donations, and understand exactly how members interact with us through social, web, and email.
By shifting our information away from data silos and third party tools and into one centralized system, we can better understand and serve the needs of our members. As we look to grow in 2021, Salesforce allows us to understand where new opportunities for growth and impact are.
We Have the Data — Now What?
We worked with an implementation partner to get our data flowing into Salesforce. But we didn’t really know what to do with it after that! Luckily, one of our members works for Salesforce and shared information about the company’s commitment to philanthropy. We applied for pro bono support to implement Salesforce Maps, which would allow us to visualize our supporters and community members.
In less than a month, we went from install to insights thanks to a dedicated group of Salesforce employees. We started with a discovery session where we listed out our needs, worked through implementation, and wrapped up with hands-on training. The process was very helpful in getting our team more familiar with the ins and outs of the system, and we gained a lot of confidence in what we could get from this new tool.
One of our big “aha” moments was when we saw the map of the U.S. that showed where our supporters and donors were located across the country. We had no idea how many donors we had in Colorado! That’s the kind of mission-critical information that’s impossible to get from a spreadsheet. Now that we have moved our community and donor information into Salesforce, we can actually see important information that enables us to make data-driven decisions that will maximize our organization’s impact.
With Salesforce Maps, we can visualize relationships and where our community-building efforts can be focused. We can now see an actual map of our community group leaders and members, all of our online store customers, and where our donors are located. These insights enable us to improve and further strategize on how to engage with our community members in the future. One lesson we’ve learned is to build a technology roadmap for the big picture, even if it won’t be implemented fully for many years. You might be surprised at how soon you need it.
Maximized Data = Maximized Impact
Our philosophy has always been bridge-building by focusing on truth, justice and reconciliation. We work to change the conversation — to train others to have a new lens and gain a different perspective. This sort of deep, transformational change can only happen through relationship building. As we continue to grow, having the tools that can multiply those relationships and bring more people into the conversation is imperative.
Racial reconciliation isn’t easy work — and doing this work at scale requires the right systems and tools to create meaningful and lasting change. We call it bridge building because our shared humanity and inherent interconnectedness is essential to repairing bonds that have been broken. We make right the injustice and brokenness in ourselves, in our communities, and eventually, in our society.
Want to learn more about digitizing your mission to maximize impact? Here’s the Three-Part Playbook you need for your digital transformation in 2021.
About the Author
Founder & President, Be the Bridge
Latasha founded Be the Bridge in 2016 to encourage racial reconciliation among all ethnicities, to promote racial unity in America, and to equip others to do the same. Bridge-building has always been a part of who Latasha is. She is also a speaker, New York Times bestselling author, reconciler, bridge-builder, and leader committed to educating people on cultural intelligence and racial literacy. Latasha is here to help change the conversation and train others to have a new lens and gain a different perspective.