Angela Adams

How NiM #LeveledUp at Dreamforce

What we have Learned and how NiM #LeveledUp at Dreamforce '16


Dreamforce '12 was my first Dreamforce. My focus that week was on spending time with the NiM team, individual empowerment, and skills acquisition. In addition to meetings with my team, I had a long list of sessions to attend and I scurried all over campus to be sure I was at the "must do" events. By the third day, I had learned a ton, but I was WORN OUT! I had also missed a key opportunity to build community.

While offers ways to build community online through the Power of Us Hub and the Success Community, Dreamforce just can't be beat for connecting in person. The connections I made at Dreamforce '15 provided a source of inspiration and encouragement that lasted the whole year!

For Dreamforce '16, my goal was simple: have five meaningful conversations.

Some of these conversations were with old friends, some with folks I knew from the Power of Us Hub but had never met in person, some with strangers. I find myself thinking daily about these conversations and how I can allow those conversations to take root and shape NiM -- and me -- this coming year.

#LevelUp for Success with NPSP Engagement Plans and Levels

#LevelUp for Success with NPSP Engagement Plans and Levels

The new Nonprofit Success Pack takes moves management to the next level (pun totally intended!) with native tools including Engagement Plans and Levels.

These amazing new tools provide development staff with great efficiency in managing cultivation efforts and planning for the next “ask.” Engagement Plans leverage the power of both Activities and Tasks (including Reminders and Recurring Tasks) which allow staff to easily spin up and follow a plan for cultivation without needing to install another app.

Staff can start with an Engagement Plan template - based on tested and proven paths - and then tailor Engagement Plans to align with a donor’s interests. Gone are the days of missing important steps in a cultivation process because you failed to create a Task!

My personal favorite new feature is NPSP Levels.

Being able to track giving levels, plus have future gifts automatically adjust a donor’s giving level, and then segment Contacts or Households for targeted marketing according to giving level have long been popular requests from our clients. We achieved this through a combination of tools including reports, roll-up summaries, custom fields, and Process Builder, but took several “extra” steps for something so fundamental to moves management.

Now, with NPSP Levels, development staff can easily set up Levels based on Minimum or Maximum Amounts for a variety of fields (see below) on the Account, Contact, or custom objects.


And, as for the requirement that Levels update dynamically; now Levels are automatically updated nightly when batches run. If that’s too long to wait, then you can also push an update through the NPSP Settings “Run Batch” utility.

Add an Engagement Plan to the Level to launch a series of cultivation efforts when someone hits a specific Level, and then you have one efficient moves management machine!

I’m thrilled to introduce these new features to our clients and watch them #LevelUp for Success with the new Nonprofit Success Pack! I’d love to hear about how these new features impact your development team, so please send in your stories via Twitter: respond via Twitter!

PS –NPSP Product Managers: Over time, we’ve added handy dandy badges representing the different giving levels by using image formula fields. With the badges, development staff and volunteers have a simple visual cue to inform their real-time engagement with the client. Sounds like an idea for a future release to me!

#LevelUp with NiM this Fall!

#LevelUp with NiM this Fall!

Every fall I find myself ready to “level up” - to improve my game in work and life.

Perhaps it’s a byproduct of life being divided into semesters for so many years, but without fail, I’m hit with an infusion of inspiration around the time that school starts.

For many years, I tried to resist starting new endeavors in September.

Couldn’t I tackle my goals and achieve the same success in February?

Turns out the answer is a resounding NO!

With time, I’ve surrendered to, and have come to embrace, this rhythm.

So, when the school supplies start filling the stores and the air turns a tad cooler... I pay attention: it’s prime time for professional growth! 

Recently, I’ve been asking myself:

What personal and professional goals can I jumpstart in the fourth quarter and achieve this coming year?

How can I align my professional goals to benefit #TeamNiM and our clients?

Changes to the Salesforce Ecosystem and the Role of Consultants

Like me, our Executive Team tries to pay attention to patterns and trends, too. We've been discussing NiM’s history and identifying game-changers in the Salesforce ecosystem for nonprofits since our inception. Included in that list are the introduction of the Power of Us Hub, Girlforce, NPSP3, and Trailhead! These are some mighty big changes!

I recall having conversations in 2013 with stakeholders who had never heard of Salesforce. Fast forward to today, when most of our clients have legacy CRM solutions - and are eager for change. For some nonprofits, use of a CRM solution has highlighted the fact that their business processes need adjustment. For others, their business processes are first-rate and they desire a CRM solution that can be customized to better match their needs.

Either way, by the time most new clients approach us now, they’re convinced Salesforce is the solution for them and they’ve already…

  • Initiated a new instance of Salesforce
  • Installed the NPSP
  • Applied for the Power of Us grant
  • Logged in to the Power of Us Hub, and
  • Taken a Trailhead module or two!

Nonprofit Salesforce professionals are equipped with tools and resources unlike any they’ve had before. Exciting enhancements on the horizon point to increased collaboration, community building, and real-time constituent engagement to drive social impact.

Given all of the changes in the ecosystem, has the role of consultants changed, too?

We think the answer is yes, and wonder - 

Instead of needing an expert to do “all the Salesforce things”, do clients need a personal trainer?  

Someone who will:

  • Ask important questions and strategically advance the organization’s mission?
  • Equip Salesforce Admins to accelerate their own learning and realize their full potential?
  • Support and challenge clients as they level up?

Level Up

From day one, our mission has been “to be a sustainable company that makes the world a better place by increasing the capacity of nonprofits through the development of brilliant staff.”

When Tim wrote that mission, he was originally thinking of NiM’s own staff. Equipping NiM staff to level up has always been a core company value. But, our mission and methodology support equipping nonprofits and their Salesforce Admins to level up, too!

The more we’ve considered being a personal trainer who equips nonprofits and nonprofit Admins to level up, the more excited we’ve become.

From now until Dreamforce, #TeamNiM will be sharing what #LevelUp means to them and their goals to #LevelUp. Along the way, I’ll share our plans for NiM to #LevelUp as well.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you:

What is your organization doing to #LevelUp? (Tweet your answer)

What goals do you have as an #AwesomeAdmin? (Tweet your answer)

How should NiM #LevelUp in our role as your #LevelUp Partner? (Tweet your answer)

Salesforce + Serendipity

     I don't believe in coincidence but I love serendipity!
     Finding hidden connections, stopping to notice moments when my interests and passions converge, near-miraculous events where place and time are both perfect -- love, love, love.
     Lately I've been encouraged by three beautiful examples of serendipity + Salesforce, leading me to feel I'm in just the right place at the right time, and I wanted to share these moments with you!
     When I was in high school, I started a student chapter of SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions). While the first couple of meetings were well-attended, eventually attendance dwindled and I closed the chapter feeling pretty discouraged. My desire to support the work of SADD and MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) persisted, though I wasn't sure of the best way to personally contribute my time and effort.
     Fast forward to today - one of the clients I have the great privilege of working with at Now IT Matters is MADD! In working with the MADD staff I get to do what I love and support a cause I've believed in since I was 16 years old. I couldn't have planned that any better if I'd tried!
     My second moment of Salesforce + Serendipity also had its roots in something that has been close to my heart for a while. A few years ago, my friends and I hosted a gathering dedicated to building sustainable communities. Part of the weekend gathering included skill shares, where participants learned everything from drumming to nonviolent communication, from making natural cleaning supplies to raising chickens. I couldn't get enough! Sharing skills and information in a practical, accessible way is a core value of mine and fuels my passion for training and adoption today.
     Imagine my joy when Missy Longshore suggested Girlforce begin hosting skill shares. Yes, please! I've been working on this behind the scenes and am proud to say Girlforce will kick off skill shares in January 2016. Stay tune!
One last observation of serendipity + Salesforce. A little background first: I'm working towards my Master's degree and I'm currently enrolled in a course on spiritual direction and a course on conflict transformation. Conflict transformation skills I use all the time in my work at NiM. But spiritual direction? The link wasn't as readily apparent...
     Not long ago, as part of my coursework I read Being Peace by Thich Nhat Hanh. For years I’ve been inspired by Thich Nhat Hanh’s writings and the community of Plum Village, and I’ve made it my intention to practice mindfulness in my daily life. A recent Twitter post from Thich Nhat Hanh caught my attention because of an @mention to @benioff. The post issued a new 1-1-1 challenge given to Salesforce employees: challenge 1% of employees to do one thing at a time for one year. WOW! Now that's what I call serendipity!
     Even though I’m not a Salesforce employee, I decided to take this challenge to heart beginning November 1. Then I invited my friends and the Salesforce Power of Us Hub community to join in, too! As of today, we have over 70 participants in #Just1Thing! They’ve committed to doing one thing at a time and being fully present in their activities for a month. I'm so honored to facilitate the #Just1Thing community! 
     Want to join us on the #Just1Thing journey? Want to share about your moments of Salesforce + Serendipity? I’d love to hear! Find me on Twitter at AngAdams_.

AstroTurf and User Adoption: How to make Dreamforce a Cohesive Experience

"They transformed Yerba Buena into Dreampark! There's AstroTurf everywhere! Salesforce isn't going to just disappear overnight." 
      When I attended my first Dreamforce in 2012, I had only been using Salesforce for a few months. Despite a killer reputation and the assurance of my new employer, I needed to see for myself that Salesforce had staying power.
      As I explained to my partner, thousands of people, hundreds of sessions, dozens of new friends and colleagues all had their part to play, but, it was the AstroTurf that convinced me.
      All jesting aside, after Dreamforce 2012, I never questioned the success of Salesforce as a platform. What I did question, was my place in the ecosystem.
      As Director of Operations for Now IT Matters, I wear numerous hats -- Admin, Developer, Business Analyst, Project Manager, Solution Designer, and Trainer. On any given day, I might be writing a Project Plan, browsing the Hub, training end Users, and running budget reports. These roles have provided ample challenge and opportunity for professional development. For instance, I am sure I would not hold three Salesforce certifications today were it not for my experience at NiM! And likewise, this versatility has better prepared me for better serving our clients.
      Loving the variety, when attending Dreamforce previously, I filled Agenda Builder and filled my plate with a smorgasbord of sessions -- I wanted to soak up as much knowledge as I possibly could on as many topics as possible! This year, though, I had a different approach.
      While I was certainly excited to attend sessions filled with amazing content (#AwesomeAdmin, anyone?), I followed the advice of fellow Girlforcers and allowed myself to focus on one thing I was most interested in. Ah, but what to pick?
      In reflecting on what I love most about my job, there was one common theme: user adoption and customer success. I love the "a-ha" moments and bursts of joy when data model puzzle pieces begin fitting together. So this Dreamforce, every session I attended focused on customer success. My schedule was still full, but the days felt much more cohesive and fueled my passion!
      I came away from Dreamforce '15 with renewed vision for improving user adoption amongst our clients and increasing client success. I may not be able to roll out AstroTurf carpets at Go Live, but I'm looking forward to supporting successful Salesforce implementations for years to come!

Confessions of a Social Media Skeptic

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent="yes" overflow="visible"][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type="1_1" background_position="left top" background_color="" border_size="" border_color="" border_style="solid" spacing="yes" background_image="" background_repeat="no-repeat" padding="" margin_top="0px" margin_bottom="0px" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_speed="0.3" animation_direction="left" hide_on_mobile="no" center_content="no" min_height="none"]Nonprofit CRM + Social Media: A Match Made in Heaven (or at Least the Cloud) Confession: I'm a skeptical user of social media. I don't have a LinkedIn or Facebook account. I still have a Twitter account, but have only logged in once in 2014. So, suffice it to say, when I first re-careered as a Salesforce Consultant and Operations Manager at NiM, I was suspicious about Chatter. "It's like Facebook for Salesforce. Great..."

Two years later, I made it a personal goal to change my stripes -- and made it a departmental goal that all written project collaboration be done through Chatter. (If I was going to use it, then so was every one else, by George!) Seven months later, we're better off for it. Chatter has revolutionized the way we communicate and collaborate at NiM! Here are my top five "wins" from using Chatter for internal communication:

1. We've seen a strong increase in our team spirit. On any given da,  in addition to project-related Chatter, you can also find our team members joking around, encouraging each other, making bets on whose email Inbox will be to 0 first, challenging each other to get the best Utilization Rate, sending birthday wishes, and participating in all sorts of Chatter shenanigans. (Note to self: If you give a colleague Login Access, you can expect to have your Chatter profile picture changed!). Chatter is the primary way we build relationships with one another and built our rapport - something that is a perpetual challenge for those working remotely.

2.  We've all noted improvement in our ability to manage our Inboxes. Chatter allows us to use email only when necessary and provides a mechanism for timely responses to items that might otherwise get buried in a full Inbox. As an added bonus, gone are the days of needing to search my Archived folders for an email I vaguely remembered getting -- I can simply search the Chatter feed or Chatter topics!

3. We've improved our project documentation significantly through using Chatter to post project notes, Change Log items, files and links to Google Docs.

4. In Using Chatter as a gateway drug to Salesforce, I've seen increasing interest among our "non-Admin/non-Dev" employees in learning more about the power of Salesforce.

5. For times when you need a "just in time" answer, Chatter Messenger can't be beat. We ask our employees to download Chatter Desktop and login when they're available for questions. This provides us with instant access to one another for times when you have a quick question -- or are in a meeting and need to quickly confirm a response! But be warned - sometimes the Chatter conversation can be more interesting than the meeting and if you have a team like mine, they might also try to intentionally distract you!

After seeing the strides in our own communication, collaboration, and team spirit since fully adopting Chatter, Chatter is one of the first aspects of Salesforce that I introduce to clients. I've gone from a reluctant user to seeing Chatter as an invaluable asset for adoption and long-term Salesforce success. Now, about those other social networks. . .

Dive in Deeper: