Sun, sea, and sand – when most people think of the beach, they think of paradise. But one non-profit organisation is hitting the waves to help at risk teenagers find greater self-confidence and learn how to roll with the waves – both literal and metaphorical. “Our programme combines learning to surf with learning life skills. Navigating currents and finding the strength to get back on the board when you’ve been knocked off aren’t skills we’re born with. We’re helping teenagers to get their lives back on track, build confidence, and have fun at the same time,” said Elad Goldman, Chief Operating Officer at HaGal Sheli.
With better visibility of its donors and activities, the organisation has increased its fundraising capacity by 25%, creating more resources to help more vulnerable teenagers. “We’re growing fast and were struggling to keep up,” said Goldman. “Now, our whole fundraising operation goes through Salesforce, and we’re more efficient than ever before.”
Founded in 2012, HaGal Sheli has grown from its first group of 10 teens to four centres in Bat Yam, Tel Aviv, Mevo’ot Yam, and Kfar Galim, with hundreds of teens on its programmes, which aren’t just about learning to surf.
The organisation offers programmes for life, providing free facilities so participants can continue to surf after graduation; the option of learning a related business skill such as surfboard repair and maintenance, filming, or web design as part of the Circles programme; and eventually joining the Young Mentors programme to become a surf instructor.
To fund these activities, HaGal Sheli relies on a mix of private donors, corporate sponsors, and companies who pay for fun days out surfing for their employees. “As well as the charity side of the organisation, we also offer corporate surfing days as a business,” explained Goldman. “While contributing towards the charity, these days are also staffed by former participants in our programmes, creating a sustainable business model and opportunities for programme graduates to gain paid work.”
But with fundraising managed via complex Excel sheets, it needed a smarter way to keep track of donor relationships. “We’re a young, digital company, and we needed an innovative and flexible solution to help us keep in touch with our donors and make sure nothing slipped through the net,” said Goldman.
In 2015, the organisation rolled out Salesforce’s Nonprofit Success Pack, and brought fundraising to the next level. HaGal Sheli worked closely with a Salesforce architect to configure the solution to meet its needs. “Our fundraising process is unique,” explained Goldman. “As part of the Salesforce 1:1:1 initiative, a systems architect volunteered her time for free to help us map out our fundraising stages and reflect them in Salesforce. It was actually a really useful process, as previously everything was just in my head.”
Now, from a single Salesforce dashboard, HaGal Sheli can track donations by amount of money received, by the type of donor, and see how the organisation is meeting yearly targets. Crucially, the organisation can also track opportunities with new donors, and see which leads need nurturing.
With real-time data driving fundraising, HaGal Sheli has better visibility and deeper insights into operations. Leveraging this enables its small fundraising team to give donors a personable and transparent journey and hopefully turn them into lifelong supporters. “We have hundreds of donors, and I want to make sure the conversations I’m having with them are relevant and engaging,” said Goldman. “With Salesforce, I can be confident that we’re doing just that. If I want to show a donor how much we value them, I can just pull up a report in Salesforce.”
Donors can sponsor specific groups and activities, and with Salesforce, Goldman can show them exactly where their money has gone. “Donors are invited to the graduation ceremony so they can meet the teens who have benefitted from their generosity – adding the human touch is crucial to securing repeat donations,” he added.