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Pro Bono Pro helps Refugee Transitions & Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project

By Cheryl Timoney May 27, 2015

Giving back to the community has always been a passion for Shenal Shroff. So she said yes when a Salesforce colleague asked for her help on a pro bono project with Refugee Transitions (RT). Shenal is a Business Solutions Sr. Manager at Salesforce and RT is a nonprofit dedicated to improving the lives of new immigrants and refugees. It provides high-need, low-income newcomers with education, family engagement, and community leadership services to improve their English language, job, life, and academic skills.

Shenal said that the project involved several components including upgrading them to the Nonprofit Starter Pack 3.0. They created a new data model with custom objects catered towards their use cases, mapping objects from the old system to new system, and migrating thousands of records in Salesforce.

Refugee Transitions is now able to analyze donor data, track donations, send reminders for upcoming pledges, and keep track of corporate matching grants. With an app Shenal developed using Visualforce, volunteers can request shifts and log hours and RT can send out confirmations automatically.

Refugee Transitions was happy to have Shenal’s help, according to RT Director of Strategy and Development, Jane Pak. Thanks to Shenal, Jane said, “Refugee Transitions is in such a better place.”

Refugee Transitions by Agustina Perretta Refugee Transitions Boys’ Camp in the Presidio. Photo by Agustina Perretta

Shenal was happy to help: “It has been a beautiful journey for me. I got a chance to meet with a few students and their volunteer teachers and listen to their stories. I realized how many students benefited from Refugee Transitions and how it could change their lives,” Shenal said.

Since then, Shenal has gone on to work on other pro bono projects. Now she’s working with Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project (CTAOP). They intend to use Salesforce for outreach, creating leads, and contacts. They also want to develop an S1 mobile app.

Even though each project is different, Shenal always starts out the same way, “I need to know how they run their business, what their pain points are–how I can make their work easier so that they can focus on their core work.” Typically, Shenal works with the nonprofit for 4 to 6 months. “We have a few discovery sessions where we walk through the process end-to-end, often on paper or maybe on excel sheets.” Shenal said this is key to devising ways to streamline processes. Often, the nonprofits need help managing donations, running reports, and of course, managing massive amounts of data.

Why does she continue to work pro bono? “The feeling itself. It’s satisfying that you are helping someone who needs help–helping build a better community. It’s amazing that Salesforce let’s you do it.” To Shanel, pro bono work gives you an amazing sense of satisfaction. “I would highly encourage other Salesforce employees to enroll for pro bono volunteering. It gives us an opportunity to step out of our daily jobs and learn about different causes in the community. It goes beyond just system implementation; it has a bigger impact to the entire community. You can make a difference!”

Learn more about Salesforce.org Pro Bono Program