Case Study: Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life

Hillel Uses Social CRM to Connect with Jewish College Students Engagement Tracking Increases More Than 1,000 percent with Social and Mobile Applications

Business Issue:

Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life aims to enrich the lives of Jewish undergraduate and graduate students, fostering their Jewish growth, so that they may make an enduring commitment to Jewish life. In 2006, Hillel released a five-year plan, which included a goal of doubling the number of Jewish students who are involved in Jewish life and who have meaningful Jewish experiences. Hillel created a peer relationship-based strategy engagement to meet this goal and developed REACH, an online application to capture and evaluate student relationship and participation data and track Jewish growth over time.

Originally, Hillel used Microsoft SharePoint as the platform for REACH. But when CIO Matt Braman arrived at Hillel, he concluded that SharePoint could not support Hillel’s relationship based model. Hillel needed a CRM solution that would enable real-time tracking to evaluate the impact that peer engagement initiatives were having on a campus and across campuses.


  • The new CRM solution that would replace SharePoint as Hillel’s REACH platform needed to be:
  • Flexible enough to allow data migration from a highly customized legacy system.
  • Optimized for different user levels, including hundreds of Hillel staff and student interns.
  • Cross-browser compatible
  • Multi-lingual

Solution:Sugar Professional

After considering and Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Hillel chose SugarCRM Professional to support its redesigned REACH application. Hillel and gold-level SugarCRM solution partner, Atcore Systems, implemented Sugar Professional with a phased approach. The initial deployment for 1,300 users was completed on time and on budget in less than six months. The entire process included design of the application, customization of 36 new modules, data migration, implementation, testing, deployment, and training in a multi-server environment.

Business Benefits:

  • Engages and tracks student involvement in the Jewish campus community with more depth than ever before
  • Supports a smartphone version of REACH compatible with popular social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter Encourages high user adoption among REACH engagement interns
  • Enables users to create Facebook wall posts and Tweet directly from REACH
  • Supports quantitative measurement and reporting of program effectiveness


  • Raised student enrollment in REACH by over 1,000 percent—from 6,000 to 88,000 students
  • Boosted campus adoption of REACH from 7 to 145 campuses
  • Increased Jewish Journey tracking from 15 to 66 campuses