Typically, when I return home from a conference I am so physically and mentally exhausted that I need at least a week to recover. This year, my return from Dreamforce, the annual Salesforce conference, left me with a different feeling. While I was still physically and mentally exhausted, I didn’t need a week to recover. In reality, I felt more alive and invigorated than ever, even after a full week of meetings, interactions and late nights.
When I first started my Salesforce.com journey, I knew next to nothing about databases. I grew up in the digital age, so I certainly know my way around a computer, but I’ve never been crazy about them. I prefer my social to be unmediated, whenever possible. Read more
Do you wonder about the Nonprofit Starter Pack Account Models? Do you wonder if it really matters? Well, Caroline Renard and I realized after the webinar we gave about the NPSP 3.0 Upgrade, that there was a need for folks to truly understand NPSP Account Models.
We decided to record a conversation we had about the three accounts models in the Nonprofit Starter Pack and explained WHY IT MATTERS. Hope you enjoy this video.
I’m proud of my latest blog post as a guest blogger with PICNet. It’s all about DIY and specifically, how to use Salesforce Process Builder tool to help you with developing business process without writing code!
I love the mantra “click not code”, so take a gander and develop one for your organization. If you do create one, I’d love to hear from you.
As User Group leaders, Ashima and I are often talking to nonprofit staff who have “inherited” a Salesforce instance, and don’t really know what to do with it. That’s to say, they’ve started a new job at a nonprofit, most likely in fundraising, and because they have some experience or aptitude for technology, they’ve been also asked to “sort out Salesforce”. Maybe the organization had previously hired a consultant, or had benefitted from the help of a skilled volunteer, and now the staff who were part of the original implementation have moved on, there’s little documentation, and no-one’s quite sure what the next steps should be.
In some ways, it’s harder to help someone who is new to an existing Salesforce implementation than it is to help someone who has just signed up for a new trial. There are plenty of resources for the organization that is starting out with Salesforce: workbooks, videos, classes, and a supportive community ready to assist “newbies” online. And for those of us who do help out, it’s easier to answer questions about brand new instances – we are all familiar with how a trial looks before customization, and we know which features will be there with a fresh start.
Providing help for a new user inheriting an established Salesforce instance can be trickier, because the user probably doesn’t know how best to describe what customizations have been done or what packages are installed. So it can take more time, and a series of questions and answers, to diagnose problems or provide specific help.
With this in mind, Ashima and I are creating a workshop designed specifically for new staff members who find themselves in a Salesforce admin role with no-one to train them for it. We’ve called the workshop “I Inherited a Salesforce Instance, Now What?“, and we’ll be offering it for the first time on Thursday, December 11.
We’re still finalizing the “script”, but the aim of this session is to give a new admin a set of tools to discover what they have inherited, and how much attention they might need to give to it.
- We’ll show how to figure out which versions of which packages are installed, what’s been custom-built, how many active users there are, how much data there is, and if that data is reasonably clean and tidy.
- Then we’ll give advice on how to upgrade or update any features that need it, and on data clean up. (We’ll also help participants decide if they can do this themselves or bring in an expert!)
- Finally we’ll discuss ways to improve user adoption, including a few simple customization tricks to amaze and delight!
There will be a long enough break in the middle of the session to allow each participant to use the “discovery checklist” with their own organization, and come back and share with the rest of the group what they have found out. The whole session will be recorded and resources will be shared with participants.
So if you’ve recently been landed with a Salesforce instance in your new job, and you’re not sure what to make of it, please consider joining us on December 11th. We can’t promise to teach you absolutely everything that we both know about Salesforce in three hours, but we will try and give you enough knowledge to see how much (or little) attention your Salesforce instance needs, and prepare you to ask the right questions and take the most effective next steps. Or if you have a friend or colleague who would value this kind of help, please tell them to sign up.
All the details, including cost, are on the registration page.
DreamForce is upon us. Thousands of us will be convening in San Francisco. I find the experience both overwhelming and fun: parties, events, sessions and so much more. There are blog posts galore about getting the most out of DreamForce. Salesforce even offers one: http://www.salesforce.com/dreamforce/DF14/journey/
However, I’d like to offer something a bit different, I’d like to talk less about the sessions and more about how to care for yourself at DreamForce. I mean, after all, if we don’t take care of ourselves, what is the point of attending?
Here are some tips that helped keep me sane at past DreamForce events:
- Hydrate, choose comfort and lighten the tech – The campus for DreamForce is huge – http://www.salesforce.com/dreamforce/DF14/journey/. Be sure to bring good walking shoes. Your feet will thank you. Carry a water bottle with you; there are refilling stations all over. Leave the laptop behind and lighten your load.
- Find space for yourself – You will be learning a lot of new things during the conference. It’s very important to find a space where you can digest all of this new learning. The DreamForce location is surrounded by beautiful parks where you can sit and relax. Take time to jot down notes and thoughts during these times of rest.
- “I cannot attend it all” – This is your new mantra. Accept the fact that you will miss something, and that’s okay. There is so much happening, it is impossible to attend it all, so enjoy what you are able to get to and don’t worry about those things you think you are missing.
- Enjoy the pause between sessions – Try not to jump right into work or something else if you find yourself in a lull. It can be easy to do, but take those brief pauses as a chance to recharge yourself for the next session. It’s your opportunity to just be.
- SLEEP – Rest is critical for your brain to recharge and rejuvenate. Some may say to you, “oh, I can sleep when I get home”, but remember, you need sleep to retain and hold all that great information you are receiving. Don’t throw it away. I’m not saying skip the parties at night, but do plan to get the rest you need so you are refreshed the next day. I was known to take naps during downtimes so I could attend evening events.
- Smile and enjoy yourself – Try to enjoy all the moments. Often at conferences we are so busy rushing from one location to another that we forget, we’re all here together with a shared purpose. Let’s enjoy this space with each other.
I hope these tips will make DreamForce an enjoyable experience for you — a moment that you feel like you were able to really enjoy, and learn something new at the same time.
Thanks to all who attended our Salesforce DIY online workshop last week on “Upgrading to Salesforce Nonprofit Starter Pack (NPSP 3.0) – The What, Why, and How.” Read more
Anyone who interacts with Salesforce on a regular basis, whether you’re a nonprofit employee or a Salesforce consultant, is likely to have questions from time to time. Luckily, we have the Power of Us HUB, a community of folks who ask and answer Salesforce questions — available at all hours of the day and night. At Database Sherpa, we’ve found a few ways to get the most out of the Power of Us HUB:
Follow people and groups that are most interesting to your needs.
Some groups to consider joining:
Nonprofit Starter Pack – if you’re using the NPSP
Volunteers for Salesforce App – if you’re using Volunteers for Salesforce
About the Hub – keep up with what’s happening in the HUB itself
Auctions for Salesforce App – an excellent place to learn more about the Auctions App.
Try to find a group that fits your needs. If you’re looking for an application for event management, join the Event group. If you’re wondering if there is a group, just search — I bet there is a group for that! People to follow, well, of course Ashima Saigal, but there are many super folks. Alicia Schmidt, Joni Martin, Kevin Bromer, Judi Sohn, Caroline Renard, David Habib… to name just a few.
Read questions asked before you.
Pick one topic you’d like to learn more about, and then dig into a group around that topic. Read what others have asked before, and see if the answers make sense for your situation. Keep in mind, an answer is typically picked if it’s correct.
Check out the Knowledge Base on the Power of Us Hub to learn more about the various features in Cumulus.
With the release of Cumulus, you might be confused about what to do. The Nonprofit Starter Pack 3.0 Documentation is chock full of helpful information. The previous documentation is also available. This is a great resource for learning more.
Get help with basic questions with a live resource.
The most amazing resource, not used often enough by nonprofits, is the Salesforce Foundation’s weekly office hours. It’s available WEEKLY!
Pick a topic, any topic, and answer questions.
This is a good way to learn more and help others in the community.
When you learn something new about Salesforce, post that information online.
It’s about community and helping others. You might think it’s something everyone knows, but it can often spur an entire dialogue that can grow into something very interesting. That’s what keeps a community vibrant: active participation!
I hope that this post will encourage you to get yourself involved as an active community member of the Power of Us HUB. The only way this community can thrive is with your participation.