by Andrea Kammerer, Business Analyst, AFS Intercultural Programs

Modern non-profit organizations must tap into their data to make their operations more cost-effective while increasing their impact. Better data management means more volunteer engagement, as well as more closely targeted fundraising efforts. As Andrew Means, leader of philanthropic and civic innovation, put it “data is not just for proving your mission, but improving it.”

This has inspired AFS to invest more into data management so we were honored when AFS was invited to present at Salesforce’s annual conference, Dreamforce. Salesforce is one of the world’s best known cloud computing companies, and every year, the world’s most innovative minds gather at Dreamforce in San Francisco to inspire, excite, and motivate attendees. Past speakers include Michelle Obama, Taraji P. Henson, Klaus Schwab, and Susan Wojcicki. This year keynotes were given by Marc Benioff, Al Gore, Chip Bergh and many more.

As a new user of the Salesforce services, AFS had the opportunity to share the experience of implementing Salesforce with a special focus on how the platform can help non-profit organizations achieve greater impact. During the session titled “Marketing Automation 101: The Fundamentals of Personalized Engagement,” Hristo Banov and Indre Salciute of AFS Intercultural Programs presented how AFS can communicate with potential participants of our global competence programs in a personalized way using Salesforce’s marketing platform, Pardot.

They showcased how harnessing Pardot helps AFS welcome new program participants and send them on personalized journeys from the stage of awareness to participation. Additionally, the presentation explored how leveraging the analytics tools of Salesforce increases engagement through highly customized content. Finally, the session provided audience members with guidelines on how to achieve higher rates of recruitment and retention of prospective program candidates with automated processes in Salesforce.

Our colleagues had the pleasure of sharing the stage with another non-profit organization, the Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) represented by Marti Tedescoand Courtney Phillips. As it often happens, their connection to AFS was quickly discovered – Ms. Tedesco’s husband is a past participant, he went on an exchange from the USA to Austria.

In addition to fitting 2,700+ breakout sessions, training opportunities, and hands-on demos for over 175,000 attendees into 4 days, Salesforce also reached its fundraising goal set at the beginning of the event, raising 1 million dollars to help end homelessness in the Bay area.