Case Study Background


FormAssembly Helps Nonprofit Organizations Pivot Processes During Global Pandemic

Brynna Rao,

Director of Communications

Case Study Snapshot

The team at Outward Bound Costa Rica is accustomed to fielding hundreds of requests from students and adults around the world who are looking to participate in adventure-based outdoor courses in Costa Rica and Panama. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, it not only affected participants’ ability to travel, but it changed the way that Outward Bound Costa Rica staff conducted normal operations. When new travel restrictions and safety precautions led to the cancellation of 2020 summer and fall gap year and semester programs, Brynna and the team at Outward Bound Costa Rica turned to FormAssembly’s COVID-19 Assistance Program to help them change direction and strategy.

About Outward Bound

  • An outdoor experiential learning organization offering courses designed to provide and teach critical life skills through interactive and challenging experiences abroad
  • Focuses on building developmental skills like leadership, confidence, and communication by taking participants outside of their comfort zones
  • Majority of participants are school-aged or in college, but program offerings are also available for adults

The numbers


students served per year


form inquiries received weekly in September 2020


hours spent volunteering on courses each year

The Need

Defining the Best Process During Times of Uncertainty

FormAssembly has been helpful in solving pain points regarding organization and efficiency since 2014.

The COVID-19 pandemic required Brynna and her team to make a massive shift in how they handled new inquiries and communicated with program participants who were already registered. Without the ability to offer the current 2020 program calendar, staff needed a way to gather information from enrolled students on their preferences, travel accommodations, and other important details. They also needed an efficient method for gathering data from students all over the world in order to make fast, yet informed decisions on next steps.

Even before shifting gears during the pandemic, Brynna shared that FormAssembly has been helpful in solving pain points regarding organization and efficiency since 2014.

When their previous form solution didn’t have the capabilities they needed to function most efficiently, Outward Bound Costa Rica turned to FormAssembly for its extensive features list, ease of use, and backend design.

The Solution

A Highly Intuitive Data and Web Form Platform

When we’re inundated with inquiries on a particular day, it’s so easy to go in and see responses in the layout that we need and want.

One of the things that Brynna and her team most love about FormAssembly is how intuitive it is as a platform. With so many customization options, there’s a great deal of flexibility that helps them fix problems quickly.

“When we’re inundated with inquiries on a particular day, it’s so easy to go in and see responses in the layout that we need and want,” Brynna said.

FormAssembly’s functionalities allow for enhanced visibility among the whole team, and it’s simple to go in and create reports that are useful to the organization’s Executive Directors.

Because of FormAssembly’s user-friendliness, Brynna can also get non-technical team members up to speed quickly. This allows everyone to take advantage of the available data.

As far as features are concerned, FormAssembly’s conditional logic and formatting are crucial to Outward Bound Costa Rica’s data collection efforts. These capabilities allow the team to skip the tedious process of creating multiple forms for each different program. Instead, they can leverage one powerful form to do the heavy lifting, regardless of who is submitting it. This means that certain course options appear more easily for respondents, which in turn yields better submission results and higher rate of return.

Use Cases

Inquiry and Enrollment Forms

FormAssembly plays a critical role in shaping the enrollment process.

From the time a student or participant first expresses interest to the time when they submit an active enrollment agreement, FormAssembly is a key part of the process. By leveraging branded web forms and the FormAssembly Salesforce Connector, Outward Bound Costa Rica can receive hundreds of new inquiries per day and filter the incoming data to appropriate staff members. In high-traffic times, this ensures that there are no skipped inquiries and that communications flow smoothly.

Brynna and her team use several automations to make sure that data connects instantly and effectively. When a new participant submits a form, a contact is immediately created in Salesforce. The team then integrates this data to an email platform in order to send important updates and enrollment confirmation.

“FormAssembly is essential for us. It’s where we host all of the inquiry forms and all of the enrollment forms prior to a course taking place,” Brynna shared.

COVID-19 Program Change Forms

FormAssembly created an easy path for gathering updated information from program participants.

In order to make rapid changes to their 2020 calendar, Brynna and the Outward Bound Costa Rica team leveraged FormAssembly to send and trigger announcement messages to participants who were signed up for summer and fall programs. The form was designed to allow participants to choose another option, either by rolling their enrollment to a different term or receiving a full refund.

A user-friendly form was created for each cancelled program, and staff members could quickly compile new data. As a result, they were able to group participants together into set categories based on individual preferences. The simple form design generated a terrific response rate, even in light of rapid changes with both travel and global health concerns.


What’s Next?

One of the biggest takeaways from Outward Bound Costa Rica’s use case is that solutions like FormAssembly, which offer better data processes, help forge a path for greater impact. To date, Outward Bound Costa Rica students have contributed close to 3,000 volunteer hours within the local community. This involves efforts related to wildlife conservation, community development, and environmental protection projects in Costa Rica and Panama.

The team at Outward Bound Costa Rica is currently involved in initial conversations to expand the current program set to offer an additional STEAM-focused course to Costa Rica. Once that option is on the table, Brynna says that the organization intends to create new forms to drive inquiries, enrollment, and other aspects of the program. The organization is also looking forward to exploring online payment options with FormAssembly’s payment connectors to help streamline the financial portions of the sign-up process.

Want to hear even more stories about how FormAssembly has been able to help organizations tackle the challenges of a global pandemic?

Learn how Hyphen-8 leveraged the power of FormAssembly and Salesforce to help UK-based nonprofits make adjustments and distribute thousands of dollars in aid and funding.

Don’t just collect data — leverage it.