Exasperation + Communication = Answers!

[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"] A few years ago (for most of us here at NiM), we were sitting in your seat.  Non profit program managers, operation directors, After School Program Staff, Development Directors, maybe in the rare case a VP of Social Marketing.  A friend had told us about Salesforce -  FREE for 10 users.  So, skeptical, we turned to the web started poking around because hey - we're tech savvy (well maybe the most tech savvy in this office!) and if there was a free product to use to help us fulfill our mission - it was my job to ferret it out.

After hemming and hawing on the decision with stakeholders within your organization, you finally pushed them to a point of decision and they went for it.  You were installing / implementing Salesforce and now you KNEW you were over your head.  So....you start looking around again, poking around - how do I get this thing up and running?  Data imports?  AppExchange? QuickStarts?  Its going to cost HOW MUCH?

After watching YouTube videos til your eyes bled, you knew you were stuck.  You knew what had to get done, but the information was an extreme overload.  Drinking from the firehose indeed, Mr. Benioff - how do you expect anyone to pick up on this and actually capitalize on it?

STOP HERE.  Turn off the computer.  Pick up the phone.  Call somebody.  I love Google as much as the next guy but Google speaks computer and I speak English.  I'm in my position (and my field) because I love it, I believe in the mission, and I think I'm doing some of the best work on earth.  How's Google supposed to translate "mission" into bits and megabytes for me?   My advice to you: don't wait as long as I did to pick up the phone to connect to one of these resources:

1.  Account Exec.  Somewhere in that email inbox is your first email from some friendly guy or gal at the Salesforce Foundation who welcomed you to Salesforce (if you've signed up and have your trial org).  Chase them down like its a Salem Witch Hunt and when you get a hold of them, get contacts: other NPOs fitting your staff size, your annual budget size, your service area / constituent base, your mission type - and start from there.  My Account Exec (AE) at the time was just a guy I ended up calling on my way back from my most recent Salesforce (free) Cloudforce event.  Overwhelmed with info, I needed answers somewhere and Jesse Maddex, my Salesforce AE, was the guy to help.  He introduced me to a guy at....you guessed it - Now IT Matters.  After some phone calls and some confidence boosting, I was on my way to some answers.

2.  User Group. There's one somewhere in your state or within 200 miles or so.  Find that number, call the User Group Leader and get 5 suggestions on how to move forward.  User Groups would have tripled my learning curve if I had started there instead of puttering around the web for the first 18 months of my experience with Salesforce.  There are Non Profit User Groups throughout the world.

3.  The local cool guy. Find that local NPO that has it together and take them out for a beer, coffee, or both.  Start with the folks who can answer questions about their donor data / constituent data:  the ones who know their data well and can show you how they're growing their giving pyramids, how they're increasing their communications base, or expanding their programs - through the use of well informed metrics and reporting.  They might be using Salesforce, they might be using a similar product - but if they are capitalizing on their data there is something you can learn there.

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