Reading Partners Helps Students Reach Their Potential
Reading Partners is a national nonprofit that mobilizes communities to provide students with the proven, individualized reading support they need to read at grade level by fourth grade. It was founded in 1999 by three community leaders recruiting reading tutors for students at one school in Menlo Park, California. Today it connects volunteer tutors with more than 8,000 students per year at some 200 schools in nine U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
Salesforce solutions have played a key role in the organization’s growth and expansion. Reading Partners has leveraged the flexibility of Nonprofit Cloud and Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP) to streamline its volunteer application and onboarding systems, measure program impact, manage its relationships with supporters, and track the success of fundraising efforts.
$30.7Mraised in the 2020-21 school year
$5.8Mraised in advance for the 2021-22 school year
$8Mgrant awarded by Dept. of Ed. to scale online literacy tutoring program
Scaling Fundraising and Program Management to Drive More Impact
Reading Partners works with under-resourced schools, engaging volunteer reading tutors to work one-on-one with students who struggle with reading. Each year, Reading Partners vets applications from thousands of potential volunteers. Staff must manage consent forms, background checks, and attendance of orientation and training sessions. Then, approved tutors are paired with students and start meeting with them at least once a week.
As the nonprofit has grown over more than 20 years, the staff needed ways to manage these processes more efficiently. They also needed to scale their fundraising operations to support the expansion into more schools and new geographic areas.
Reading Partners began its journey with Salesforce in 2005, tracking its fundraising data on Sales Cloud. In 2008, they moved all of their programmatic data on volunteers and students into the system. That allowed the organization to handle all donations and grants, as well as tracking engagement with volunteers and students, on one platform, giving them a 360-degree view of their operations.
Most recently the team expanded its capabilities with Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP), enabling them to better manage their constituent and donor data and fundraising activities.
Much of our business process lives in Salesforce. We’d be in a tough spot if we didn’t have Salesforce to manage all our volunteer, student, and donor activities.” Alan Miyakawa, Director of Data and EvaluationReading Partners
A Connected Nonprofit Tracking Data on a Single Platform
Reading Partners has streamlined its application and onboarding systems. Tens of thousands of potential volunteers sign up annually to become tutors through a form on the Reading Partners website. The data is funneled into Salesforce, which is used to guide applicants through a recruitment and vetting pipeline. Once an approved tutor starts meeting with a student, each tutoring session is tracked in Salesforce—over 325,000 individual sessions are tracked in a normal year.
Another key step was creating dashboards to track the nonprofit’s fundraising success. Salesforce engineers and Einstein Analytics experts gave their time through the Pro Bono Program to build Reading Partners custom dashboards. These dashboards allow employees to forecast in real time how donations are looking by month, quarter, and year against budget goals and with external expense forecast data. By understanding historical and current fundraising data, the development team can adjust its strategy proactively to achieve its donation goals.
Reading Partners uses more standard Salesforce reports and dashboards to monitor students’ improvement. The nonprofit assesses student reading skills three times a year and surveys teachers twice a year to track each student’s progress. Customizations made to the Nonprofit Cloud platform allow them to pull in data from third-party systems, for a more complete, 360-degree perspective on program effectiveness.
Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP)
Centralizing Data for Reporting on Program Impact
Implementing NPSP has helped the nonprofit further unify its data and measure both fundraising and program performance. The organization raised $30.7 million in the 2020–21 school year, with $5.8 million raised in advance for the 2021–22 school year.
Reading Partners delivered more than 228,000 one-on-one tutoring sessions to over 8,400 students between August 2019 and early March 2020. Despite a significantly shortened program year, 75% of Reading Partners students were already meeting or exceeding their primary literary growth goals by March 2020.
Being able to provide detailed impact reports to funders, partners, and third-party education program evaluators has been crucial to the growth of the literary nonprofit over the past five years.
In 2020, the nonprofit responded to the widespread disrupted learning caused by COVID-19 by successfully developing and implementing an innovative online tutoring platform called Reading Partners Connects. The U.S. Department of Education announced in December 2021 that Reading Partners and education program evaluator MDRC would receive $8 million in Education Innovation and Research (EIR) funding over five years, to scale up capacity to provide literacy support programming through the online platform.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused disruption to students’ learning, and has likely exacerbated longstanding inequities in our society,” said Alan Miyakawa, Director of Data and Evaluation. “Salesforce provides a flexible platform that will allow Reading Partners to continue to strive for a future where all children in the U.S. have the reading skills necessary to reach their full potential.”
About Reading Partners
Reading Partners is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit that partners with under-resourced schools, engaging volunteer tutors to work one-on-one with students who struggle with reading. Volunteers provide hour-long tutoring sessions, following a structured, evidence-based curriculum.