“Salesforce has it all. Not only is it hugely reliable and aligned with our needs, but it also offers a professional, flexible solution that will help us achieve our goals.” - Katka Vokrinkova, Global Technology Director, Impact Hub Network

Impact Hub brings locally rooted global network closer together with Salesforce

Mariam is trying to set up a new project through her local Impact Hub in Mali, empowering young girls to forge careers in the technology sector. There are no similar projects in the region, or indeed the country, so Mariam turns to Sofia, a Berlin-based social entrepreneur who’s set up a tech-sharing initiative, for help. They’re continents apart, but come together online to share stories and contacts.

“With Salesforce, members can meet new people, develop contacts, discuss relevant topics, and find information on events,” says Katka Vokrinkova, Global Technology Director at Impact Hub. “The great thing is that they’re not limited by location, and they reach beyond their local area to a regional, national and global level.”

Founded in 2005 in London, Impact Hub partners with companies and organisations focused on social innovation. As a global platform for empowering social change, Impact Hub oversees a 100+ strong network of hubs in more than 60 countries, which foster entrepreneurship and business development. To foster their members’ ambitions most effectively, they provide a variety of supporting services, such as incubation and acceleration programs, knowledge resources, co-working space and now also a virtual platform for connecting their initiatives globally with the right talent, resources and tools to make maximum impact.      

Members make faster and better connections.

With 16,000 current members and 10-12 new cities signing up every year, each bringing an average 100 new members a time, rapid growth prompted Impact Hub to look for a better way to connect its 1,400 staff, member community, and the millions of people benefiting from their work.  “Our previous system relied on emails and manual processes, and was complex to manage,” said Vokrinkova. “That’s all changed with Salesforce.”

Since 2017, the team has been using Community Cloud to facilitate vital connections between its many members. “Everyone wants to be able to connect to other people doing similar work around the world,” said Petr Skvaril, Global Partnership Director. “In reality, many start-ups are focused on solving a local problem and don’t look beyond their immediate region. With Salesforce, we can facilitate better connections at a global level.”

Community Cloud also allows members and Impact Hub partners to run simultaneous live events across a variety of global regions, for example 300 events were coordinated across 40 cities to launch a new initiative, without the need for time-consuming, manual processes. Meanwhile, partner organisations looking for innovative start-ups can search Impact Hub’s community to identify prospects and connect with members.

Exchanging information without borders.

When members need to connect or collaborate with other organisations, Chatter and Global Search provide access to a vast network of skilled workers; finding a good designer to help build a website, for example, is a breeze as the platform knows no national boundaries. It also helps organisations to search for relevant content or local support groups as they grow their business. 

“We love hearing about how people have made connections and what happens next,” said Vokrinkova. “One group in Amsterdam was really successful in doing this, and its members are now in touch with other people who are now working together on sustainable packaging, which wouldn’t have been possible before. We can facilitate those introductions and it’s great knowing we laid the foundations for a potential business partnership or relationship.”

Better data management will produce more sales leads.

Impact Hub currently uses Sales Cloud as a backend database for CRM, and plans to leverage data held in Service Cloud to implement a knowledge management system and measure its impact better. Richer insights will also support smarter sales with partners, both on a local and regional level. “We’ll be able to sell memberships and services to local users, while the global tool will help us access other locations in the region,” Vokrinkova added.

Working together to meet sustainability goals.

Although Community Cloud has been released to 15 locations and a pool of 2,000 users, Impact Hub’s rollout is only just beginning, and by the end of 2019 it hopes to have 37 locations onboarded with 5,000 active members. 

As the organisation grows, Salesforce is helping it to achieve ambitions to quadruple growth in the coming years and to help it build connections to better address sustainability initiatives across the world. Gabriela Gandel, Global Executive Director, points to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, which focus on global challenges related to poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation, prosperity, and peace and justice. “Salesforce helps us break out of silos more effectively than before by coming together on one platform to address serious world issues,” she said. 

For example Evrnu, an organisation creating sustainable textiles, was just an idea before its founder went through Impact Hub Seattle’s Fledge Accelerator programme and made contacts at networking events. Meanwhile, a student who created drones as part of his thesis found them in high demand as part of the rescue mission in the aftermath of Typhoon Haylan in the Phillippines, which killed 600 people. At Impact Hub Manila he launched SkyEye to leverage the technology to fight rural poverty, and has partnered with a UN-led NGO coalition project to undertake pre-crisis mapping to help people better prepare for natural disasters.

Support from a trusted partnership.

To get the biggest impact from its Salesforce deployment, Impact Hub is working with IT partner Vera Solutions, which offers remote support from its offices in Mumbai and Cape Town. “Having a partner who is closely aligned with Salesforce has been great for making strategic plans and to help us develop our platform,” explained Gandel. 

As a Salesforce Premier customer, Impact Hub has used support services to help with upgrades and maintenance, such as building triggers in workflows to make its CRM platform more efficient. “With Salesforce, we have scalable and flexible infrastructure to build on, and an innovative partner to help us be more competitive.”

The organisation is also planning to integrate Salesforce with its finance system in the future and to develop a programme management app to deliver a more joined-up experience to members. 

 “Salesforce has it all. Not only is it hugely reliable and aligned with our needs, but it also offers a professional, flexible solution that will help us achieve our goals,” said Vokrinkova.

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