Changemakers 2020 Operations Hackathon: Giving Back in a Pandemic Year the Salesforce Way

My team members and I love what we do so much that we contribute to community efforts to further our skills and empower others with custom solutions. It’s an excellent way for us to share our talents with others and work with people outside of our firm, broadening our minds and sharpening our tools.

Tonkean Changemaker 2020 Operations Hackathon

I recently participated in Tonkean’s Changemaker 2020 Operations Hackathon to help nonprofits move their mission forward. I worked with The Global Peace Foundation, a nonprofit organization with locally-led chapters in 20+ countries. The organization promotes an innovative, values-based approach to peace-building in communities facing identity-based conflicts.

The Global Peace Foundation organizes knowledge-sharing events for thousands of global participants to ensure a diverse set of voices contribute to the conversation. The organization often arranges hotel accommodations on their behalf, which means effective room block management is critical. The operations team manages registrants in Salesforce; they require an automated calculation of how many rooms they have confirmed, how many more they might need, and to compare against how many they have already reserved in their contract with the hotel. This is crucial for effectively navigating contract negotiations and avoiding budget shortfalls.

Automating Processes in Salesforce

Up until this point, The Global Peace Foundation did most of this work manually. They used a Google Sheet, pulling data from Salesforce. In just two days during the Hackathon week, I converted most of this work to an automated process in their existing Salesforce platform. I helped create custom objects, smart automations, and new reports in Salesforce to provide an accurate, real-time room block projection, by room type, by attendee status, and by date!

This was done in a matter of two days while leveraging – but not adversely impacting – existing implementation. The functionality ensures the organization does not under or over-book too many rooms or waste valuable time (and risk human error) on manual data entry. This saves its team thousands of dollars and up to 20 hours/week over several weeks in staff hours per event.

See how the Salesforce solution works:

Solution flowchart from Changemakers 2020
Solutions Flowchart

Working with a global non-profit and one that has such a large charter – global peace, no less – was a truly humbling experience. Hearing them talk about their mission, their work in places like Nigeria, and how they go about mobilizing grass-roots level movements to achieve their mission, gave me a different perspective on the commercial consulting work I do, maybe even on life in general! It made me grateful for having an opportunity to contribute to the cause in a way I knew how – technology. And to be able to make a large and meaningful impact to their bottom line, alleviate operational pain for their staff in such a quick time was a highly satisfying endeavor! Being able to do so going into the holiday season in a global pandemic year was just icing on the cake.

Global Peace Foundation Team

Thank you, Amit Parker, our awesome tech guru who made things happen – solving our use case that would have taken us significant time and resources to solve. You guys brought light and inspiration in an otherwise dark 2020. Thank you for all the nonprofits here! You are all playing a vital role in building healthy communities.

Many of my team members participate in community efforts like this too. In fact, we created a Humanitarian Committee that allows us to work on several philanthropic projects each year; we contribute pro-bono time and expertise to nonprofit teams with often desperately-needed technology solutions. We are always interested in new projects. If you represent a nonprofit organization and would like to know more, we’d love to hear from you.

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