Omprakash Uses Salesforce to Power Ethical Volunteering, Crowdfunding and Online Learning Around the World
SPOILER: not a flashy solution, not a widget to end poverty, not a buzzwordy facade, not a voluntourist trap. Named after a man who inspired Executive Director and Founder Willy Oppenheim and taught him that positive social change begins with simple human relationships, Omprakash works at the intersection of technology, higher education, and international development to create mutually beneficial relationships, dialogue and learning between individuals and grassroots social impact organizations. They do this by connecting Omprakash ‘Partner’ organizations in over 35 countries to individuals and students looking for international volunteer and internship opportunities. Currently, the Omprakash network includes over 170 social impact organizations in over 35 countries, and Omprakash has connected these organizations with over $5M in donations and over 16,000 volunteers from around the world.
Founded in 2004 as a web-based nonprofit, they have never had a physical office or even a filing cabinet and instead harness various digital products to make an impact, including Salesforce. By 2014, Omprakash was processing hundreds of applications from prospective Omprakash partners, thousands of new user registrations, and over a million dollars of donations. They were also in the midst of launching Omprakash EdGE, their customizable online learning platform for outgoing volunteers and interns, when they realized they needed a comprehensive solution that could integrate data from across multiple platforms and user types.
They selected and started using Salesforce Sales Cloud with the support of Vera Solutions and they see Salesforce as an all-in-one solution for tracking user activity, sending automated emails, powering their online learning platform, and managing internal reporting and communications within their admin team. Even now, “We assume that every organizational challenge that we have, can and should be solved by Salesforce,” says Willy.
Growing the Partner Network with Salesforce
One important component of Omprakash includes their partner network of over 170 partners in over 35 countries. Omprakash Partners work in the fields of health, education, economic development, and environmental sustainability and use the Omprakash platform to recruit talent, fundraise, and showcase their work to a global audience. Meanwhile, university students and other individuals use the platform to find international volunteer and internship opportunities, receive accredited online training and mentorship, and crowdfund to support their costs of travel or the social cause of their choice.
When a grassroots social impact organization applies to become an Omprakash Partner and submits a Prospective Partner application via the website, a confirmation email is sent to the applicant, as well as automated emails to the past volunteers whom the applicant has listed as references. When those references submit their recommendations in favor of the applicant a notification is triggered to their admin team letting them know that the application is ready for review.
Once the Omprakash team approves the application and welcomes a new partner, a welcome email is automatically sent to the organization, and staff members of the new Partner will be able to access their Omprakash Dashboard. The Dashboard allows Partners to update their profiles, post positions for which they are recruiting volunteers, manage applications from prospective volunteers, keep in touch with past volunteers, and more. All of these actions push data to Salesforce and trigger emails accordingly.
Seamless Experience for Volunteers
Another important aspect of Omprakash includes the volunteer network. To manage thousands of volunteers, Omprakash makes use of Salesforce to build custom objects which correspond to volunteers, opportunities, applications, fundraising campaigns, and donations, all of which create a seamless experience for volunteers. Prospective volunteers are able to search for Omprakash partners around the world and apply for opportunities available.
To support these trips, the Omprakash platform allows volunteers to create customized crowdfunding campaigns, and as tax-deductible donations come in from supporters around the world, the transaction data pushes to Salesforce and triggers campaign-specific email notifications to donors. Partners are also able to use the platform to fundraise for their organizations. Since 2005, over $5 million has been raised through the network.
Online Learning is Innovative Learning with Omprakash EdGE
Omprakash also created a complete, custom, online learning platform, Omprakash EdGE (Education through Global Engagement) which they use for their online volunteer training and mentorship program. Omprakash EdGE was created to further combat problematic trends in voluntourism and to ensure their volunteers understood and could reflect on the complexities associated with any effort to help others – especially when those others are positioned across significant differences of culture and power.
The EdGE Dashboard allows EdGE students to track their pre-trip logistics, to access customized online classrooms, and to communicate with each other and with their mentors.
Within the EdGE classroom, students engage with multimedia content and experience, and the peer-to-peer learning model. And Salesforce underpins the entire program: it allows them to track student activity and deliver comprehensive reports to their university partners, but also, and even more importantly, Salesforce sends email notifications to students and mentors to keep them engaged in classroom dialogue. Salesforce allows them to translate their ideas into real user experiences and measurable student learning.
As Omprakash continues to build mutually beneficial and educational relationships between social change agents, Salesforce will be there to help. Since using Salesforce, Omprakash has grown their partner network by 30% and seen an increase of 60% in earned revenue.
If you are a university administrator seeking to expand your institution’s global engagement, please get in touch with Omprakash.