Tales of Tools and Tactics: Meaningful product donations to nonprofits

by April Greene on April 30, 2014

Tools and Tactics are replicable templates Connectors can use to multiply and amplify action and collaboration in their communities. We find they also make for great stories about people all over the world who are promoting good in interesting ways.

Many nonprofits can’t afford to pay sticker price for services, software, or other expensive but beneficial products. To help bridge the gap, companies can choose to provide in-kind donations or very deep discounts to organizations. This practice can help to spread a company’s name, identify its brand with “good” stuff, and make a real and lasting impact on the ground.

For over ten years, the Salesforce.com Foundation (the philanthropic arm of Salesforce.com, a cloud computing company) has been offering a very useful product donation: ten free licenses of the Enterprise Edition of their customer relationship management application to any eligible nonprofit or higher ed institution in the U.S. or Canada (with similar programs in many other countries). Great discounts on further licenses, as well as on other Salesforce products and trainings, are also on offer.

Below, Nat Robinson, CEO of Juhudi Kilimo, a nonprofit that provides loans and business training to farmers in Kenya, relates his experience as a recipient of Salesforce.com Foundation donations:

Juhudi Kilimo works to empower farmers in Kenya
(photo via Juhudi Kilimo)

Q: What are some of the ways these product donations have affected your work?

A: Our business is all about generating large volumes and sustaining high efficiency, since we cannot charge high interest rates to our rural farmers. When we collected information on paper, it used to get ruined in bad weather. With Sales Cloud, staff can enter information straight into our Farmers Lead Management system. Also, other organisations don’t venture beyond 20 kilometres from the closest rural town. Thanks to the Salesforce1 Mobile App, we can go as far afield as 100 kilometres, which opens up a lot more communities.

We now have much better visibility of our finances and can check each farm’s repayment status on a daily basis, which makes it easier for us to manage potential risks. With Salesforce, staff only need to come back to one of our eight field offices once a week, which cuts down on our operational overheads. We can also track the different ways we are reaching people and determine which are the most cost-effective.

By giving the right people the right tools, we’ll be able to meet our goal of supporting 100,000 farmers by 2015.

To learn more, read the Tool and Tactic here. Interested in becoming a Connector? Get started here!

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