Finding Impact: How Nonprofits can use Salesforce Analytics Cloud

October 16, 2014 John Gorup


There are young people in cities across America who have the desire and raw talent to grow into business leaders. There are businesses hungry for a new generation of leaders. Between these two groups lies a chasm so deep it can seem uncrossable. Year Up is a nonprofit dedicated to building a bridge across this gap. They do this through a one-year, intensive training program that provides low-income young adults, ages 18-24, with a combination of hands-on skill development, college credits, and corporate internships. As a pilot user of Salesforce’s Analytics Cloud, Year Up is gaining deeper clarity on how effective they are at their mission and how to fine-tune their program for greater success.

Measuring the effectiveness of a nonprofit is difficult. For-profit businesses have measures like top-line growth (revenue), bottom-line growth (revenue minus costs), and profit margin (net income divided by revenues). But nonprofits like Year Up have to work harder to measure their success. Nonprofits are also getting more pressure to show their impact. Ebrahim and Rangan write in their 2010 Harvard Business School paper: The Limits of Nonprofit Impact: A Contingency Framework for Measuring Social Performance, ”…attention to impact, following on the heels of accountability, is driven both by funders who want to know whether their funds are making a difference or might be better spent elsewhere, as well as by committed nonprofit leaders and social entrepreneurs looking for solutions to pressing societal problems. ”

For Year Up, this desire to show impact is where Analytics Cloud comes in to help. Below we look at three of the ways Year Up analyzes data in the Analytics Cloud to make their program more effective.

Showing wages before and after the Year Up Program

Measuring the growth in income for young people who go through the program is a key to Year Up’s impact. Through Analytics Cloud, Year Up can look at how many students experienced an increase of hourly salary. Year up can break down the data by site, job type, permanent or contract hire and full-time or part-time employment.


Understanding Student Demographics

Year Up has analyzed demographics data so they can proactively help students succeed. For example, Year Up found that African American single mothers who miss two classes in a row have a 70% chance of leaving the program. Systems can now be set up to keep great students from falling through the cracks. Year Up can explore Analytics Cloud to find the factors that can help students of various backgrounds find success.


Understanding the impact of Internship Partners

Year Up looks at the number of internship seats sold against a goal for each location. This of course can be done with Salesforce. But Year Up can analyze data in Analytics Cloud to understand which internship partners are most effective. The team can look at the relationship between student internship placements and post program alumni success.



Every nonprofit will have their own measurements of impact. The Analytics Cloud lets nonprofits explore their data so they can shape their program for maximum effectiveness. For Year Up, measuring their impact is a vital step in helping them changes the lives of young people forever, and in turn, making our country a better place for everyone.

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