Case Study Background

Higher Ed

Transformational Change at Pahara Institute Starts with Connected Data

Neela Rathinasamy

Director of Data and Systems

Case Study Snapshot

FormAssembly has the privilege of empowering many organizations around the world that work directly with fellows and offer educational and leadership training programs. The Pahara Institute, based in Bailey, Colorado, is one of these important institutions. As a long-time FormAssembly customer, the Pahara Institute relies on professional forms and Salesforce-connected data to stay in touch with a vast network of fellows.


Originally founded in 2007, the Pahara Institute runs fellowships programs for leaders in education, particularly in the public sector. The organization upholds a mission of addressing racial inequity and providing educational opportunities for all students, regardless of race or socioeconomic status.

The bulk of the organization’s work focuses on personal and professional transformation for leaders in public education. Pahara connects with fellows through retreats, physical programming at their Colorado campus, and various post-fellowship opportunities.

The numbers


forms active at any given time


fellows per cohort (and form responses collected)


responses on annual network survey

The Need

Expanding access to Salesforce data throughout the organization

“FormAssembly has been really helpful to us in connecting to our CRM (Salesforce), and more so than other tools, it has allowed us to collect information from the hundreds of fellows and to centralize that information.”

Consolidating information into one source of truth

Previously, Pahara stored fellowship information in many different places. FormAssembly was an instrumental part of building a better organizational strategy. With connected web forms, staff were able to pull all fellowship data into one location and look at the comprehensive personal and professional journeys of all fellows.

“FormAssembly has been really helpful to us in connecting to our CRM (Salesforce), and more so than other tools, it has allowed us to collect information from the hundreds of fellows and to centralize that information,” Neela said.

Additionally, as Pahara grows in its reach and scope, it’s essential to save time and effort both internally and externally. For staff, this means reducing manual effort (on tedious tasks like updating Salesforce records). For fellows, it means providing easy-to-use forms that remove additional barriers.

The Solution

Providing a sustainable way to connect with fellows at all stages of the journey

The absolute biggest factor is the consistency of the Salesforce Connectors.

Powerful connectors make better data possible

The result of centralizing the fellowship information allows Pahara’s decision makers to think more holistically about the support that the organization can offer to new cohorts. This includes brainstorming how to support different groups in ways that are compelling and relevant.

The most important aspects of FormAssembly that improve Neela and her team’s daily routines include:

  • Salesforce Prefill Connector â€“ FormAssembly’s Prefill Connector guides the entire form process for Pahara. With the ability to retrieve data from the Salesforce org and display a prefilled form to respondents, Pahara saves time and makes the process more enjoyable for fellows, who are responsible for entering detailed personal and professional information.
  • Conditional formatting â€“ Conditional questions give form creators major flexibility when it comes to displaying the right questions to the right respondents at the right times.
  • Form validation â€“ Validation rules are set by field type in FormAssembly, and they give the form creator more control over how new information is entered. This helps organizations like Pahara gather clean and consistent data across the board.
  • Google Connector â€“ According to Neela, this feature has been helpful to Pahara when sharing information with people who don’t work within the organization but need access to data collected via forms. This information is readily and quickly available in a shareable Google Spreadsheet.

“The absolute biggest factor is the consistency of the Salesforce Connectors,” Neela said, adding that this aspect alone is one of the major things that sets FormAssembly apart from its competitors and from other form tools that Pahara has used previously.

Use Cases

Fellowship Application and Participation Forms

Fellowship Application and Participation Forms

At Pahara, staff members use FormAssembly throughout the fellowship journey. It starts with the initial application, which is built seamlessly with FormAssembly. New application data feeds into Salesforce and jumpstarts the recruitment and selection process for each cohort.

Following a completed application process, Pahara also uses forms throughout the entire journey. This is true even when the organization hosts seminars and wants to gather everything from health check forms to pre- and post-program feedback surveys.

Annual Survey

Annual Survey

Once fellows are alums who participate in networking opportunities, Pahara uses FormAssembly to create and distribute an annual survey. The yearly survey provides an opportunity to understand the topics that are most important in the current climate so that mentors can tailor new programming to topics that are most impactful.

With FormAssembly’s Prefill Connector, fellows don’t need to resubmit regular demographic information that they’ve already shared. By incorporating this feature into the process, Pahara creates a better user experience. From the organizational side, it’s incredibly important and time-saving to not update other records in Salesforce with every completed response.


What’s Next?

Neela reports that the Pahara Institute has seen “absolute efficiency” in terms of saved team time and resources. Without needing to manually update Salesforce records, the value is significant for staff, and the process is notably faster for their end users.

As Neela and her team continue to look at the scope and user-friendliness of FormAssembly, she says she’s taking good advantage of the tools and features at their disposal right now. As the team grows and expands the number of active FormAssembly users, they look forward to exploring new features, including payment connectors like Stripe.

“We’ve really appreciated [FormAssembly]. It gives us creativity in how we use our CRM and how data flows throughout our entire organization.”

Don’t just collect data

— leverage it.