Skip to Content

Pro Bono Profile: Powering A Brighter Future With Jobs4Refugees

By June 20, 2018

Pro Bono Profiles
Abdullah Hassoun, a 26-year-old professional land surveyor from Syria, arrived in Germany uncertain about his future.

“In the beginning, everything was difficult and very complicated,” Abdullah explained while filming a video for Jobs4Refugees, a Berlin-based nonprofit. “I’m so happy that I found a job in my field of work. I hope that Jobs4Refugees will be able to help many more refugees the same way they have helped me.”

Powering A Brighter Future With Jobs4Refugees

Jobs4Refugees (J4R) was founded end of 2015 to help newcomers like Abdullah restart their professional careers in Germany. J4R brings together skilled refugees with prospective employers. Newcomers learn the German way to write a CV, apply for a job and prepare for an interview. On the other side, employers receive support to overcome uncertainty about regulatory hurdles and residency status.

1 Million Reasons to Scale Quickly

Right from the start, scaling operations was a key concern given the recent influx of newcomers to Germany — more than 1.4 million since 2015. “We started out manually tracking each client’s education, skills, and experience in spreadsheets. We quickly realized this system would stifle our growth,” said Franziska Hirschelmann, COO. “Using Salesforce, we are now able to manage our active clients and employers much more efficiently.”

J4R had very close connections with a US-based nonprofit that was working in a similar sector and had already been using Salesforce for a while. They had heard great things about us and our social enterprise model. Our own Bayly Bulkeley connected with J4R and got the ball rolling.

Jobs4Refugees staff and Salesforce volunteers hard at work together.
Jobs4Refugees staff and Salesforce volunteers hard at work together.

Claudia Garz, Senior Solution Architect, was the first Salesforce employee to volunteer. She met J4R in July 2016 to discuss their vision and short and long term objectives. “They were excited about Salesforce and about having found a scalable platform that would support them to make it as easy as possible for refugees and employers to find and help each other and stay connected,” recalls Claudia. “It was very rewarding to see their eyes open to the vast possibilities with Salesforce.”

Sometimes It Takes A Village

With the support of Salesforce volunteers, J4R implemented Sales Cloud with the Nonprofit Success Pack to track information about refugees, employers and job openings. This enabled staff to quickly and easily match newcomers with job opportunities based on their skills, work experience and education. Volunteers also helped J4R integrate its website with Salesforce to capture potential new clients and employers as leads.

“Implementing Salesforce cut our administrative time by at least 50% and sped up the employment matching process. As a result, we have been able to steadily increase the volume of job applications submitted by our clients,” says Franziska.

A second team of volunteers is currently helping J4R implement Salesforce Community, creating an online portal for refugees to apply for jobs and for employers to post job opportunities. Newcomers will be able to easily apply for multiple jobs and track the status of submitted applications through the portal.

Salesforce employees Irem Yolas and Tobias Plewka (left) with J4R staff Stefan Perlebach, Rene Füchtenkordt, and Franziska Hirschelmann.
Salesforce employees Irem Yolas and Tobias Plewka (left) with J4R staff Stefan Perlebach, Rene Füchtenkordt, and Franziska Hirschelmann.

“When the first refugees started applying for jobs in the community portal that was the most rewarding moment for me. It feels good knowing that my skills helped them take steps toward a better future in Germany,” said Irem Yolas, an Associate Project Manager at Salesforce.

To date, more than 16,000 refugees have signed up for J4R’s services and over 400 employers have offered positions through

A special thank you to the amazing pro bono team at Salesforce: Claudia Garz, Tobias Plewka, Saba Shaikh, Rahul Bansal, Stefan Talkenberg, Marco Badorrek, Irem Yolas, Garret Glaser, Sang Pham, Bernadett Sinko, Steve Cogan, Sven Kretschmann and Werner Held.

Need help using Salesforce to increase your impact? Our Pro Bono Program combines two of our greatest assets, technology and talent, to help organizations become more efficient and effective in achieving their mission. Apply today!