Two Minute Tip: Know Your Audience!

Beginning in June, Now IT Matters will launch a blog series on User Experience. Each week we will feature tips on User Experience to improve Salesforce user adoption! We are excited about sharing these tips with you! 

As a little teaser, between now and June 1 we will share a few Two Minute Tips on User Experience. These are quick, practical suggestions you can begin using NOW. We'll dig into more of the meaty suggestions during our weekly blog series starting June 1. 

Our first UX Two Minute Tip is to get to know your audience.

My dad, a 30+ year salesman, is the king of memorable sayings and his quote for this one is: 

The day before, go next door!

What he means by this is that before he talks to a prospective customer, he gets to know them. He does this in a variety of ways, including asking others (i.e., "going next door") to find out what's important to them.

So before you dig in to Lightning components, page layouts, and field sets, get to know your audience.

Are they early or late adopters of technology? Do they keep a written to do list or utilize Salesforce or another tool to manage their tasks? How many minutes a day do they spend in the system? What are their key tasks? Where does their gaze naturally fall on a page?

Getting to know your users is fundamental in User Experience.

Your ultimate goal is to create a useful system, not just a useable one.  

If you don't understand your audience, you may wind up with a UI YOU think is useful, but your end users may hate because it requires more clicks than they are accustomed to.

Take the time to get to know your audience. 

#NPSPDay - New Orleans by Jenifer Alonzo

The Collaborative Un-Conference Model

NPSP Day in NOLA, my first NPSP Day, followed the standard un-conference format, which Shonnah explained in her March 21 blog post. The magical thing about un-conferences like NPSP Day is that they depend on attendees to set the agenda through structured collaborative exercises (many of which were created by theatre practitioners - more on that later). That means that each NPSP Day’s content is different, even when the structure of the activities is identical. Below, I’ll discuss some of the content that made the NPSP Day worthwhile and I’ll share how that content helped me grow as a consultant.

Relationships with Clients

This NPSP Day was unusual in that consultants and partners outnumbered nonprofit users! This gave the consultants a wonderful opportunity to listen to a small group of users and gain insights into how the best partners build relationships with their clients. Here were some of the takeaways:

  • Honesty at the beginning of a relationship is key. The best partners are up front about their area of expertise and they build relationships with other partners so that they can recommend trusted colleagues.

  • Setting clear expectations is a collaborative responsibility of partners and clients. The best partners have processes for helping clients collaborate in creating project plans and following through with responsibilities to the project.

  • Making mistakes is part of life. Consulting is no different. The best partners aren’t the ones who make no mistakes (spoiler: they don’t exist). The best partners are those who recognize, own, and work with their clients to fix their mistakes.


About half of us recognized this acronym, a quarter of us knew we should recognize it, and a quarter of us knew quite a lot about it and its implications for the Salesforce community.

GDPR = General Data Protection Regulation.  

It’s the EU law that includes the right to be forgotten and the right to request data about oneself. Granular and specific opt-ins are also part of how many are interpreting the law. Many present at NPSP Day assumed that the law would not affect US-based orgs. NOT TRUE. The law applies to all EU citizens even if our orgs have no EU presence.

Building a Salesforce Team

It’s not news that experienced Salesforce admins and developers are in short supply. The shortage is especially hard on non-profits who might not be able to afford market rates. We discussed the necessity of finding resources to raise IT salaries, as well as opportunities for hiring on an apprenticeship model rather than trying to find the perfect “forever employee.” Building a team can include collaborating with organizations like Pep Up Tech to find talented people who need their first job, supporting them as they develop in the profession, and planning for them to leave for higher wages in two-three years. In this model, non-profits get the benefit of making the development of Salesforce professionals part of their mission! I have personal experience with this approach: the Louisville Urban League offered me my first Salesforce job. I learned more than I ever would have at a for profit company. Even better, I am now and will always be a League supporter and advocate, even though I have moved on professionally.

We also discussed hiring for problem-solving skills, capacity for teamwork, and confidence first and Salesforce skills after that. Partners and users agreed that teaching Salesforce skills is easy. Teaching problem-solving skills is hard. Teaching the capacity for teamwork is even harder. Instilling confidence, the currency  of consulting, is hardest of all. We discussed rethinking job descriptions so that the best problem-solvers (even if they have never worked with Salesforce) could see themselves in Salesforce-related jobs.

As a person with two degrees in experimental theatre at my very first NPSP Day, I was heartened to discover that most of the people at NPSP Day held degrees in the arts and humanities! Not a single one of us had a degree in a tech field. Our presence in the room underlined that the problem-solvers and team-builders make the best Salesforce professionals and those folks often build those skills first in non-tech fields.

Three Collaborative Team-Builders and the Information They Shared

I learned from everyone at NPSP Day, but I want to highlight three people and a specific thing I learned from each:

Anne Young (Salesforce.Org, Power of Us Hub) - Anne suggested using the Power of US Hub not only as an online community, but also as the place to start when building in-person user groups and communities in response to a question from Allie Tabberer, an Admin at the Oklahoma City non-profit Canterbury Voices. This is useful for me as I have been searching in vain for the Salesforce non-profit community in my new hometown of Louisville, KY. Now I’m going to use Anne’s suggestions to build a community here!

Patty Simonton (Patty Simonton, daizylogik) introduced us to their product FoodBank Helper, a comprehensive tool for food banks whose staff work in the field. The tool's automations help users decide what size food bag to give to families and alerts them to special needs for the family like diapers and formula.

Katie McFadden at Common Voyage shared a couple non-profit use cases for Einstein. I was particularly interested in how educational non-profits are using the tool to predict which students might drop out and then provide extra interventions for those students.

Theatre (The More About That Later Thing)

My journey to becoming a Salesforce Consultant began a year ago, when I left a tenured faculty position as a specialist in experimental theatre and team communication. I spent the fall of 2017 doing Trailhead modules and earning my Admin certification. Since then, I’ve been working as the sole Salesforce Admin at the Louisville Urban League to earn my experience.

This NPSP Day was my first professional event as a Salesforce consultant! I was really nervous that my “old” skillset and my new identity as a Salesforce professional would clash. But, NPSP Day allowed me to create conversations with many other people whose journeys were just as weird and rich as mine! I learned that the Salesforce NPSP community is committed to collaboration, support, and mission-driven work. (Bonus: I also learned a neat trick for getting related records to show only the information I want on a Lightning page!)

NPSP Day was well worth both the time and the small fee. I look forward to the next one! 


 Kristin Kwasnik, Manager of Customer Success at presenting on the spectrum of success. 

Kristin Kwasnik, Manager of Customer Success at presenting on the spectrum of success. 

 What a great group! #NPSPDay

What a great group! #NPSPDay

TrailheadX | #EqualityforAll

Now IT Matters’ mission is to be a sustainable business that makes the world a better place by increasing the capacity of nonprofits through the development of brilliant staff. Over the past eight years, NiM has consistently invested generously in developing our staff. In the beginning, folks thought we were crazy, but we decided early on that developing brilliant staff and supporting what matters to them was how we wanted do business.

You might say it’s our “why”-- or our “it.”

Developing and supporting our staff means we give them time and space to invest in their own journey -- not just NiM’s. We enable our staff to become Salesforce rockstars and then step aside to let them truly shine in this ecosystem. One of the very most rewarding aspects of #TDX18 has been watching members of #TeamNiM and the organizations they represent gain accolades and attention within the #SalesforceOhana.

 Shonnah on the big screen!

Shonnah on the big screen!

Last night, Shonnah Hughes, co-founder of PepupTech, co-leader of the Women In Tech Diversity User Group, Salesforce MVP, and Senior Consultant with Now IT Matters, was honored with a 2018 Salesforce Equality Award. At the awards ceremony, Shonnah shared her reflections on diversity in tech, challenging all in attendance to take action.

Action is what will propel you forward, I choose to focus on actionable outcomes through my work with PepUpTech, WiT Diversity, in K12, and my work with Now IT Matters. I am so proud to be part of this team! ~Shonnah Hughes
 Shonnah and fellow Equality Award winners! 

Shonnah and fellow Equality Award winners! 

Earlier this week Shakil Kamran shared his Salesforce journey, starting as as a PepUp Tech student and now a member of #TeamNiM.

 Big smiles for TrailheadX! 

Big smiles for TrailheadX! 

#TDX18 highlighted the work of Angela Mahoney, co-founder of RAD Women, a cohort-based training program for women developers.

#TDX18 featured a rockin’ Amplify Happiest Hour party, supporting women-in-tech. Amplify (formerly Girlforce) was founded by NiM's own Joni Bryan and Angela Adams!

We are honored to count Shonnah, Shakil, Angela Mahoney, Joni, and Angela Adams as members of #TeamNiM.

And the best is yet to be!

For’s FY2019, we will be expanding our service offerings to K12 organizations. As parents and mentors, #TeamNiM is committed to giving back to schools and enabling schools to leverage the power of Salesforce.  At #TDX18, Marc Benioff challenged all of us to give back to schools, saying: “It’s my obligation to walk down there and knock on the door and ask what I can do... we can all do one thing.” Mission accepted!

We’re also growing #TeamNiM -- a team committed to doing #moregoodbetter, disrupting the status quo in tech, and championing #EqualityforAll. If you would like to join us, don’t be shy!


Snowforce 2018 - By Shonnah Hughes

Snowforce 2018

Snowforce is a regional Salesforce Community conference. If you haven't been to a regional event, you are missing out! These events are put on by the community for the community. They really focus on the unique needs of the local community and highlight those needs in the content that’s presented.

This year was my first time attending Snowforce and it didn’t disappoint! I was greeted at the airport by Salesforce MVP Davina Hanchuck. Davina invited me to speak to Snowforce participants on Diversity and Inclusion. Davina sits on the Snowforce board and felt that it was important to highlight this in their community.

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About Last Night

The Snowforce fun started the night before the main event. The Snowforce team put on a Welcome Dinner. This year the dinner was at Rodizio Grill, a local favorite. Having a welcome dinner the night before the main event is genius! It allowed attendees the opportunity to warm up and get to know each other. This helped with fostering a positive experience and energy for the event.

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The Main Event

The event started with a keynote, then sessions were broken up into “tracks," including a Developer track and an Admin track. This allowed attendees to choose the track and that aligns best with their skill set and/or aspirations. My favorite session was Ayori Selassie’s! she taught us how to create a plan using V2MOM to leverage the power of Einstein. She gave us actionable steps and intelligent direction. After the event, a group of us went to a dueling piano bar. This was an exciting experience that showcased some local community culture!

Stay and Ski!

Friday is Snowforce activity day. We all went up the mountain to Solitude, where there was a private room for everyone to congregate, play games, and eat. I don’t do skiing or snowshoeing, so I was the one holding down the fort (with the food) and taking advantage of the quiet! Salesforce Appexchange was there to give away free (with survey) Appy plushes! Thank you!  

The Final Night

Davina invited everyone back to her home for games and dinner. Brad Gross, fellow Salesforce MVP and culinary enthusiast, and I were sick of fast food and wanted something fresh, so we decided to cook dinner for everyone! Our taco bar was AMAZING! Brad taught me how to make homemade tortillas and what a little bit of home feels like when you are on the road. It was so much fun cooking for and engaging in this way with our #salesforceohana.

After dinner, we played a card game called 21. I had no clue how to play this game and I am often put off by needing to do math after a long day, let alone drinks! I needed to roll back my motto “ I don’t do math in public” to play this game, though, because it was a blast and is now one of my favorites. We had my favorite Twizzlers for dessert (because why not?) and ended the night on a high note!

The Beauty of Community Events

Community events are more intimate gatherings than the large Salesforce events like Dreamforce. These gatherings set the stage for you to create unique, authentic bonds that will last a lifetime. The welcome that I received and the love that I experienced is my "why" behind the work that I put into this community. If you aren’t able to attend larger Salesforce events, I consider community events to be the answer. They are more cost effective for some organizations and have a high ROI. I recommend that everyone seize the opportunity to attend community events!

Special thanks to Eric Dreshfield, Nana Gregg, Leanna Rimel and Many others for their love and support!

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NPSP DAY Minneapolis 2018 ~ by Shonnah Hughes

What is NPSP Day?

NPSP Day is a community organized and operated event that brings together users, contributors, consultants, developers, and supporters of the open source Nonprofit Success Pack. This event is focused on helping users better understand how to use the NPSP to be successful. This is different from an NPSP Community Sprint, which is focused on community contributions to the building and enhancement of the NPSP.

Each NPSP Day is locally managed by a local community host organization, completely separate and independent from The 2018 Minneapolis NPSP Day was hosted by the Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia) with their Chief Technology Officer, Douglas Hegley, and Now IT Matters' own Shonnah Hughes, the former technical lead at Mia. This event was organized and facilitated by Soapbox Engage’s Ryan Ozimek in conjunction with the Minneapolis Salesforce Nonprofit User Group (Nick Lindberg).

 NPSP Day Attendees

NPSP Day Attendees

Why attend?

Besides the fact that you get to hang out with “your” people, nonprofit people from all the different types of nonprofit verticals you can think of, for a day full of learning. You will get on-the-spot training from nonprofit experts and you will get the opportunity to network with nonprofit industry professionals at different levels of their career. However, the best part of this event is connecting with the community!

What do you do at NPSP Day? 

 Opening Circle

Opening Circle

Opening Circle

The day starts off with the opening circle. This circle can only be described as a hilarious kumbaya melting pot. This is an amazing way to get everyone comfortable and introduce us all to one another.

Weather Report

Next comes the “Weather Report.” This is my favorite part! We first start out with sticky notes and NPSP specific topics of discussion regarding:

  • What's Working
  • What We Don't Know
  • What's Not Working
not working.png

Everyone participates by writing things that affect them according to a topic. For example I wrote “Negative GAU Amounts” and I placed that under the "not working" topic.

We get a few minutes to write down all of our ideas, suggestions, and overall thoughts. Then we need to categorize them, using my above example I would create a category under “What's Not Working” called “GAU’s” and place all the sticky’s that speak to GAU’s under that category.

We are given a few minutes to do this, but we are always trying to beat the last city's time. I think we actually did this year!

Once all the notes are categorized, someone is selected to give the “Weather Report.” Now, I have to brag that Minneapolis’s own Jamin O’Maley set the bar for how weather reports are done! This is a fun and entertaining activity and breathes life into the room and learning environment.

NPSP Overview

This is where Ryan gives a brief history of NPSP, really its origin story, and why its one of the coolest Salesforce products in their portfolio. It's fun to learn about its iterations and the “why,” then to look to the future and how we all can have an impact and contribute to the product!

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Speed Geeking

Think speed dating for nonprofit geeks, but instead of listening to someone tell you about themselves or telling them about you, you are learning about a specific NPSP feature and can ask how it applies to your use case. These solutions are presented by a community member and have been implemented and used in an active org.


This is not an escape room scenario, but  breakout sessions where a topic selected by the group is discussed in more depth. The topics come from the items on the weather report, combined with a voting process to distill the topics down to a total of nine topics that will be discussed. You will have 3 breakout sessions total and within each session you will have 3 topics of discussion.


These sessions are designed to be an open-floor discussion with a facilitator. You are encouraged to ask questions and provide solutions and/or use cases. If you want to leave a discussion to hop to another topic, its okay to do so. During the session someone is assigned to take notes. Then at the end of the session, the note taker reports back to the entire group on lessons learned and any aha moments.

For example session one topics included:

  1. Brand New to NPSP
  2. Process Automation
  3. Program Management

Closing Circle

This is designed to offer time to decompress and unpack discussions as a group. This is also the time where we highlight how important the HUB and the Trailblazer community are for continued discussions and answers. Then we officially sign off until the next NPSP Day…..

Happy Hour Anyone?  

After a day of learning, collaborating and networking, you need some fun! We decided to have drinks with those who could attend at the Museum's Cafe. It was a nice way to unwind and have a few more laughs - most of us didn't want NPSP Day to end!I can't wait to do it all again next year!

Is NPSP Day worth the investment?

Absolutely. I highly recommend attending a NPSP Day if there is one in your town. I consider myself a seasoned Salesforce/NPSP professional, but I learned so much from the ideas and use cases presented at this event. I feel the difference between an NPSP Day and a NPSP Community Sprint is that the NPSP days focuses on you as an individual and answering your questions, as to where the NPSP Sprint focuses on the product itself and the community as a whole. I love them both for different reasons, and I learn and grow from both events. 

Many thanks to Ryan Ozimek and Soapbox Engage, Nick Lindberg, Tim Lockie, and the amazing Staff at the Minneapolis Institute of Art! Photo Credit: Ryan Ozimek & Tim Lockie  Flickr link:

What Happens in Vegas…

Reilly and Brennan.png

is Project Management??

By Reilly Ellis and Brennan Butler

Last week, we, Reilly Ellis and Brennan Butler, two of Now IT Matters’ project managers, flew to Las Vegas to take on the bright lights and big productivity at the annual "Run Your Projects on Salesforce LIVE" conference put on by our partner (and the wizards behind our project management software) Cloud Coach.

What is Cloud Coach?

Good question! Cloud Coach is an end-to-end project management software that is run on (and does a great job utilizing) native Salesforce functionality. (And by end-to-end, we mean Cloud Coach will help you with everything – from resourcing, to Gantt charts, to requirements gathering, to meetings, to time tracking, to reporting, you get the idea!)

Why do you care about Cloud Coach?

Better question. Now IT Matters has used Cloud Coach for 4 years. It’s our single source of truth when planning and tracking projects – both client projects and internal projects. It’s how our staff knows what to work on and it helps our PMs (yours truly) deliver on time and on budget.

So if you use it all the time, why go to a conference?

Confession time. We do use Cloud Coach all the time, but that doesn’t mean we were using it to its fullest capacity.  Our clients tell us all the time that “we don’t know what we don’t know.” Let us let you in on a secret: we also don’t know what we don’t know. The Cloud Coach conference showed us that we weren’t taking full advantage of a bunch of existing features and introduced us to new ones.

As consultants, we spend lots of time thinking about how our clients can improve their business processes. That analysis can’t stop when it comes to our own internal organization!

We came away united in our vision for using Cloud Coach and developed a 12-month plan for upgrading and improving our internal systems. We know these changes will serve our staff and, in turn, help us serve our clients!

How Can I Get Cloud Coach?

Cloud Coach offers different levels of project management - from their free Milestones edition (basic project and task tracking and assignment) to to their Ultimate edition (manage multiple large projects in portfolios with in-depth reporting.)

In terms of customer service, we have high standards and they never cease to impress us. We recently switched our billing plan and noticed on a Sunday night at 6pm that the UI was a little funky. We notified Cloud Coach, and within THREE MINUTES (THREE MINUTES!) we were back to normal.

  You could not meet a better group of people that will answer any and all questions.   The Cloud Coach team constantly asks for customer feedback that helps them build a system that we actually want to use!

You could not meet a better group of people that will answer any and all questions. The Cloud Coach team constantly asks for customer feedback that helps them build a system that we actually want to use!

Did you win any money? 

Hey! What happens in Vegas (outside of working hours) stays in Vegas. Well, except for this guy, who Brennan dubbed the Data Dragon. 

 Brennan the Data Slayer, her new best friend the Data Dragon, and Reilly.

Brennan the Data Slayer, her new best friend the Data Dragon, and Reilly.

So, next spring, come see NiM, Cloud Coach, and the Data Dragon. We promise you won't regret it! 

Tahoe Dreamin' 2018 Recap!

What do you get when you combine snow, Salesforce and giving back to the community?

TAHOE DREAMIN’ of course!


 Now IT Matters and Dazeworks representatives at Tahoe Dreamin'! 

Now IT Matters and Dazeworks representatives at Tahoe Dreamin'! 

The 3rd annual Tahoe Dreamin’ commenced on January 19th – 20th at the beautiful Lake Tahoe. Tahoe Dreamin’,  like many regional events, is an intimate event that offers an opportunity to get to know the Salesforce #Ohana and stresses the importance of giving back. 

NiM’s Reilly Ellis, Tim Lockie, Shonnah Hughes, and Angela Mahoney were in attendance this year and were impressed with the event. Reilly really appreciated the value the Salesforce #Ohana places on openly discuss social justices and how they relate to tech. She especially appreciated the conversation on equity vs. equality. This was a good reminder to be intentional with how equitable our tech is in terms of creation, use, and intended effect.


The dialogue back and forth with the audience was really good and showcased that there are a lot of people who are willing and interested to help with this issue and that we are all in different places in our learning/understanding of the issues, problems, how to solve them. There’s no one right way and, once again, I was grateful that are community is digging into this complex, important issue. – Reilly Ellis

The “Women in Tech and Male Allies” panel was hosted by Amy Oplinger and NiM representatives Angela Mahoney and Tim Lockie. The panel highlighted the challenges facing women in tech and provided tangible action items for men who want to be allies for women in tech.

 Angela, Tim, and Amy on the Allies Panel!

Angela, Tim, and Amy on the Allies Panel!

The Salesforce #Ohana community continues to be unlike anything we’ve ever seen. It’s a group of people who are dedicated to making a difference through their work. They speak out on injustices and come up with action plans on how to tackle them. We're so proud to be part of this #Ohana!