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Common Sense Media: Connecting the Salesforce Clouds to Deliver More Services

Services on Salesforce

Connecting the Salesforce Clouds to Deliver More Services

The Client

Common Sense Media is the leading independent nonprofit organization dedicated to helping kids thrive in a world of media and technology. They empower parents, teachers, and policymakers by providing unbiased information, trusted advice and innovative tools to help them harness the power of media and technology as a positive force in all kids’ lives. Through its website and over 20 media and syndication partners, Common Sense reaches over 80 million users across the country.


No Single Source of Data

When Common Sense connected with Cloud for Good, they were looking to evaluate the way they currently used Salesforce and build a strategic plan to implement it across the entire organization. Common Sense had spent 13 years building a database of over a million members, but they lacked a single source of truth that was able to provide them with a 360° view of those members, donors, and programs.

“We needed a better way to track and manage our donors, prospects, advocates, members and constituents. Our data was stored in multiple places and we were not able to speak to the Common Sense constituents with one voice,” said Omar Khan, CTO.

Needed a Redesign, Not a Patch

“We had spoken to multiple Salesforce consultants prior to engaging with Cloud for Good. However, those consultants kept patching on top of our existing Salesforce instance, which was primarily used for the developmental team. We needed to stop that entire process and think a little bit more strategically as to what the system was going to be used for,” said Gordon Lee, Salesforce Solutions Architect.

The Solution

“Common Sense chose Cloud for Good because they understood the size and scale of the project, could provide expert Salesforce implementation services and has nonprofit experience,” said Lee.

Best Practice Tips for Salesforce Governance

Cloud for Good was able to provide Common Sense with the best practice tips and advice needed to think through the governance of implementing Salesforce and relevant applications across 7 departments and facilitate the conversations between the different departments about the change. This included insight into:

  • Which voices needed to be at the table
  • How to increase user adoption
  • When, and how often, to review data cleanliness

Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP) Optimizations

Because the Common Sense development team was already using Salesforce, Cloud for Good came in to optimize their current processes and create an easy to scale solution for the entire organization. This included configuring NPSP for constituent, member, fundraising and event management.


Cloud for Good also partnered with Common Sense’s web engineering team to feed the information from their multiple Drupal instances, which managed their website sign up experience, into Salesforce. Teachers, schools, and districts can now apply online for their Digital Passport and Ed Tech Certifications. All data submitted from the application is stored in Salesforce, allowing reports to run and dashboards reflect current trends and submissions. This makes it possible for Common Sense’s education team to utilize Salesforce for their entire education Certification process.

Marketing Cloud

Finally, Cloud for Good implemented Marketing Cloud and integrated it with the Nonprofit Success Pack and the Drupal instances.

Using Journey builder Cloud for Good was able to pass data from Marketing Cloud back to Common Sense’s Sales Cloud, allowing the NPSP instance to become the most accurate and up-to-date source of information, including email address.


More Transparency Around Business Processes

Many business processes that were taking place offline, are now taking place on the Salesforce platform. Customized reports and dashboards are providing more transparency and information is available across the organization in real-time.

“Our teams worked well together and as we progressed through the implementation process, we realized that we would need more than just a Salesforce Administrator. The training provided by Cloud for Good was thorough and their assistance was instrumental in Common Sense assembling an actual internal Salesforce team and instrumental in user adoption,” stated Omar Khan, CTO.

Better Grant Processing

Common Sense’ Fundraising Department is also able to rely on the Nonprofit Success Cloud to more effectively and efficiently manage all their grant pipeline and projections, opportunity movements and major giving including tracking deliverables and deadlines.

“Cloud for Good worked with us to not only implement the newest features Salesforce can offer an organization like ours, they also helped us evaluate are processes and helped us moved from tracking in an ad-hock way to a more strategic engagement,” said Jacqueline Carambat, Development Manager.

Increased Certification Requests, Decreased Processing Time

The Common Sense education team invites teachers, schools and districts to take part in their certification program, which recognizes the latest technological teaching strategies and make sure participants get some well-deserved credit for their work. As a Recognized educator, school, or district, they’ll help lead responsible and effective tech use in your school communities and build your practice along the way.

During the first year after their Salesforce implementation, Common Sense saw a 240% increase in the number of certification submissions. They received 5,200 certification requests before their implementation, which grew to 12,575 just one year later.

With this surge in certification requests, it was important that Common Sense was also able to reduce their application process time to keep up with the programs growing demand. Before implementing Salesforce, the average application processing time was 20 minutes. By adding in automation, workflow rules and integrations, Common Sense was able to reduce this time to five minutes – a reduction of 75%.

360° View of the Common Sense Donor

While the development team was already utilizing Salesforce, they were unable to see the complete picture of donors and other major VIPs because the other teams were on separate systems. To understand how these key players were interacting with other departments like fundraising, marketing and programs they had to request the information for the separate departments. By implementing Salesforce across the entire organization, the Development Team can now understand how major donors and other VIPs are interacting with different departments without needing to chase people.

Talking to the Common Sense Constituent

“Before the implementation, our thinking was that every individual belonged to a specific department because they were the ones who communicated with them. Today, we look at individuals as Common Sense Media constituents vs. the development constituent or program constituent,” said Lee.

Using Salesforce as their single source of truth, Common Sense is now able to identify their members, donors and activities all in one place. They can then use the NPSP to segment out their constituents based on activity or interests and talk to the audiences in different ways, while remaining true to the Common Sense voice and brand.

Paul Holman-Kursky, Director of Membership, explained, “we couldn’t market the way we do without Cloud for Good’s help.”