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Gabriel’s Database Sherpa and Salesforce.com Journey

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

Training & Workshops

Nonprofit Starter Pack Account Models – IT MATTERS!

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.

Salesforce DIY for nonprofits

I Inherited This Salesforce Instance — Now What?

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.

6 Tips to Get the Most out of the Power of Us HUB

6 Tips to Get the Most Out of the Power of Us HUB

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:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. Pick a topic, any topic, and answer questions.

    This is a good way to learn more and help others in the community.

  6. 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.

You can also join the Database Sherpa group on the Power of Us HUB.

Hiatus

New resource available: Ready for Salesforce?

Once a nonprofit decides to use Salesforce, how do you get started? Wouldn’t it be nice to have a guidebook or a map? We have seen many nonprofit organizations make the leap into Salesforce, and we have noticed a process, or a way of thinking about the journey, that can help ease the transition for many. Ready for Salesforce? gives a way of thinking about the process to help get any nonprofit started on their journey with Salesforce.

Please check it out, or share it with a colleague.

 

Hiatus

New resource available: Introduction to Salesforce for Nonprofits

Is your nonprofit considering a CRM like Salesforce, or do you know of another nonprofit considering Salesforce? We know of many reasons that nonprofits may find a CRM beneficial, and how Salesforce has evolved for nonprofit use, so we sum it up in a new Resource, Introduction to Salesforce for Nonprofits. Please check it out, or share it with a colleague.

Our intention is to build a whole library of shared wisdom, so please check back in the future as more Resources are added.