An app that raises anti-bullying awareness. Another that locates electric car charging stations. A game that helps children cope with dyslexia. These are not the latest innovations of enterprise developers, but of CoderDojo developers; all aged between 7 and 17.
CoderDojo is a global community of free programming clubs for young people. From Dublin and Detroit to Durban and Dundee, 35,0000 ‘ninjas’ between the ages of 7 and 17 attend more than 700 coding clubs in 57 countries around the world every week. And, thanks to Salesforce, CoderDojo will soon be inspiring even more young developers.
“With Salesforce, we can continue to grow our community and encourage the next generation of programmers,” comments Mary Moloney, Global CEO of CoderDojo. “On average, we open three new clubs every week; by 2016 we aim to reach 100,000 ninjas in 60 countries every month.”
Every new club or ‘Dojo’ means more administration for the organisation, which is largely volunteer based. “We don’t want administration to zap all our funding and support,” explains Giustina Mizzoni, CoderDojo’s Global Development Lead. “We want to streamline and automate as many processes as possible so volunteers can spend more time sharing their skills.”
Based in Dublin with just seven full-time employees, the CoderDojo Foundation is responsible for supporting and engaging volunteers as well as developing resources and best practices. It already uses Sales Cloud to track financial and equipment donations as well as Service Cloud to answer volunteers’ queries about setting up a Dojo. This, however, is just the tip of the iceberg.
“Salesforce CRM will be our engine,” reveals Mizzoni. “It will enable us to capture information centrally and use this to measure our success.”
Vetting new volunteers, tracking ninja achievements, and issuing tickets for Dojo sessions will all eventually be powered by Salesforce CRM. “At the moment we only register the Dojo and the champion; we want to extend this to include every volunteer, every child and their parents,” explains Mizzoni.
By maintaining a central record of its growing community, the CoderDojo Foundation will be able to measure how many youngsters it reaches in different countries and cities, which will be important for fundraising. It will also be able to match donations to those Dojos in most need of support.
“We get lots of inquiries about creating a Dojo, but not all of them come to anything,” comments Mizzoni. “With Sales Cloud, we can log every inquiry and provide advice throughout the set-up process.”
To ensure its growing network of Dojos continues to flourish, the foundation hopes to set up an online community for champions and mentors around the world. “Some Dojos simply run out of steam because they don’t know what to teach next,“ says Mizzoni. “With Community Cloud, we can build a curriculum of ideas for volunteers to tap into.”
All these improvements will help CoderDojo achieve its mission of encouraging and enabling more children to code and create. “There’s a big skills gap and gender imbalance in the development world,” explains Mizzoni. “CoderDojo helps youngsters understand the magic behind today’s technology. It also helps them learn important soft skills, such as sequential thinking, public speaking, and team building.”
To motivate and mobilise its ninjas, CoderDojo wants to be able to regularly recognise their efforts through a reward programme. “With Sales Cloud, we’ll be able to track how individual ninjas are progressing and reward them. We’ll also be able to identify the best youngsters to attend different events,” says Mizzoni.
Keeping track of everyone involved in every single Dojo will be key as the organisation continues to grow. “When a Dojo opens in a new country, there’s normally an explosion of other Dojos a couple of months later,” comments Mizzoni. “Salesforce will help us keep pace with this growth.”
Salesforce is also contributing to the organisation’s expansion by establishing Dojos at its offices around the world and providing a grant for $200,000. “With Salesforce’s support, we can make a bigger impact and help more youngsters achieve great things,” concludes CEO Moloney.