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Kesem Unlocks Growth, Expands Ability to Serve with Salesforce

Kesem provides year-round support services for over eight thousand children impacted by a parent’s cancer. Driven by its mission to be “a child’s friend through and beyond a parent’s cancer”, Kesem’s flagship program, Camp Kesem, is a free week-long summer camp that – along with their other innovative, fun-filled programs – fosters a lasting community for these children. Kesem is a unique combination of a centralized organization made up of unique college chapters across the country with more than four thousand student leaders who fundraise for the organization through peer-to-peer campaigns and campus events each year. In the past few years, Kesem has experienced incredible growth, more than doubling its number of chapters to over 105, and growing.

Unable to Grow

With increasing emphasis on grassroots, peer-to-peer, and event-based fundraising, as well a focused fundraising- and grant-seeking practice at the national level, Kesem’s existing system was unable to accommodate or scale to meet its needs. It was unable to edit donations, connect with its email marketing tool and accounting system, or provide accurate reporting on donations processed. Using a legacy product that had focused solely on donation processing, there was a lack of connection. “We needed to make sure our national team and chapters were working in coordination with each other,” says Cristin O’Leary Jones, Development Director at Kesem. With their old CRM, “Unless someone was working directly with a certain chapter, we really had no idea who they were soliciting or what funds were coming in. So, a check would come into the organization and we wouldn’t necessarily know who that donor was,” says Jones.

Given the limitations of its previous fundraising tools and rapid growth as an organization, Kesem was focused on building a scalable foundation when it came to Salesforce. That meant being able to maintain and track solicitation and donation activity, capture a 360-degree view of donors and their relationships, and continue robust peer-to-peer campaigns and events. Additionally, the development team required a system that would allow for tight integration with other key systems as well as accommodate program management needs in the future. Kesem chose the Nonprofit Success Pack as the hub of its solution alongside Classy to help manage donations and peer-to-peer fundraising.

Connected Kids, Connected Organization

Adopted by fundraising staff at both the national level and working with the more than one hundred college chapters, Salesforce has provided Kesem with the ability to have visibility to its constituents and their connection to the organization. With robust reporting tools and a comprehensive view of donors that allows for better segmentation and engagement, Kesem has been able to triple the number of chapters it can onboard each year. It also reported revenue growth from $3.1 million to over $10 million in the four years since implementing Salesforce. “Salesforce is part of the reason we’re growing. Before, we were limited by the number of chapters we could support; this year, we’re opening nineteen new chapters. That just wouldn’t have been possible before.” says Jones.

Kesem worked with implementation partner Cloud for Good.