"Salesforce has been the organizational nerve center for Little Kids Rock. We use it in virtually every aspect of our work." - Dave Wish, Founder and CEO, Little Kids Rock
Little Kids Rock Makes Fundraising and Program Management Rock with Salesforce
“It takes a village to raise a child.” Little Kids Rock (LKR), a music education program that brings instruments, curriculum, and training programs to public schools, understands this better than anyone. But what if the people in that village can’t talk to each other? Raising a child quickly becomes a difficult task.
When it was founded back in 2002, LKR began launching programs in schools in multiple cities around the country with a talented, yet small, group of staff and volunteers. “There were so many things we needed to do in order to deliver music classes, such as the creation and dissemination of curriculum, the acquisition and distribution of musical instruments, the evaluation of our teachers, and the measuring of impact on their students,” explains David Wish, Founder and Chief Executive Officer. Without the technology to track all this, the team quickly realized that its current system of capturing information was slowing them down. “Our early days were marked by a hodgepodge of spreadsheets, web forms, paper forms, Word docs, and the like. The information was changing as we grew and we were constantly emailing back and forth to stay up to date,” says Wish. As their programs were taking off, LKR needed a technology system that would allow the organization to scale.
One Tool for Managing Both Programs & Donors
LKR needed a simple, inexpensive system that would allow them to track donor information and programs in one place. “When we realized that with Salesforce we could manage both our donors and our program partners from a single tool, at a price point we could afford ― free! ― we were giddy at the news,” explains Wish. “Additionally, Salesforce was easy to customize on our own and we loved that the platform would give us immediate access to new features and functions with each new release.” Plus, with Salesforce, LKR doesn’t need to hire developers to customize and maintain a server, which saves them time and money. “Since implementing, Salesforce has delivered so much more than we could have ever initially imagined,” says Wish.
A Connected Nonprofit Since 2003
As one of the early adopters of Salesforce in the nonprofit sector, the platform has served as LKR’s organizational nerve center for over a decade. “We use it in virtually every aspect of our work,” says Wish. “It helps our busy, growing staff stay in sync and provides the information we need to make critical decisions.”
LKR captures all programs-related data in Salesforce: everything from teacher support and communication to the number of instruments donated and millions of dollars that have been invested into public schools. Salesforce reports and dashboards give the LKR team a real-time view of all inputs, outputs, and outcomes, which helps them make more informed decisions on how to improve its programs. These robust analytics also allow LKR to easily share the impact that it’s having on music education to funders.
LKR’s teacher portal, built on Community Cloud, allows teachers to log in, order instruments for their classrooms, and submit program assessments. “By automating these processes in Salesforce, we’ve saved thousands of valuable hours of staff time that are now directed to areas of effort that better serve the mission of our organization,” says Laura Subotky, Director of Innovation and Technology and member of the Little Kids Rock team since 2003. “We have been able to customize different aspects of the platform to meet our needs as we’ve grown.”
The organization also uses Salesforce to manage thousands of donor relationships and all of their fundraising efforts, from one-time online donations and major donor events to crowdfunding campaigns and auctions. Since implementing Salesforce, LKR has increased fundraising by more than $4.5M. Salesforce reports and dashboards track event sponsorships, ticket sales, individual donations, in-kind donations, and funds raised through auctions. Online ticket sales come directly into Salesforce from their website, where automated workflow generates and sends acknowledgements, and creates reminders for staff to follow up with donors.
Little Kids Rock & Salesforce.org: Partners in the Community
The partnership between LKR and Salesforce.org goes beyond technology. The organization receives regular support from Salesforce employee volunteers, and LKR’s students have rocked out at the annual Dreamforce conference for the past four years. Most recently, the students performed on the Live 105 stage at AT&T Park at The Night Before Concert featuring Metallica. In conjunction with the concert, Salesforce helped to raise over $100,000 to support Little Kids Rock.
“The Salesforce community is truly amazing,” says Christine Fanning, Events Manager and member of the Little Kids Rock team since 2012. The LKR staff attend Salesforce events such as Dreamforce and local user group meetings, and participating in the Power of Us Hub online community. “These relationships that we’ve built with other nonprofits using Salesforce has helped us stay up to date on new features and apps and find creative ideas and solutions to issues much more quickly than we would have on our own,” Fanning says.
More Growth? No Problem.
“As we’ve grown, our relationship building and information needs have grown, and Salesforce has been with us every step of the way,” says Wish. In fact, Salesforce has supported LKR as it’s grown from 10 teachers with 100 students in one city to more than 1,600 teachers with nearly 250,000 students across more than 30 cities.
“Salesforce has enabled us to truly become a ‘Connected Nonprofit’,” explains Fanning. “This means we are able to effectively communicate across our entire ecosystem, from our students to our funders, from our teachers to our partners, from our staff to our volunteers: every single group has the information and the tools needed to make the magic of music making happen, at scale, for our kids.”