Joni Martin

Nonprofit Geek Mecca 2014: Dreamforce

dreamforce2014-logoIn October, roughly 140,000 people will make the pilgrimage to San Francisco for Dreamforce where they will learn new ways to do more good (better) with technology! For one week every year, San Francisco is transformed into the Mecca of Geekery, and, although the majority of attendees fall more in the “geek” category than the “nonprofit” category, Social Good and Changing the World are common themes in all areas of Dreamforce. Last year, 20,000+ of the attendees were nonprofits and with ample opportunities to learn, grow and connect, it makes sense for nonprofits to attend. As a nonprofit, the Dreamforce experience will help you discover new tools and brush up on time-tested strategies with dynamic programming, case studies and leadership insights to keep you and your organization on point. You will have the opportunity to engage with a diverse group of your peers from nonprofits of all types and sizes, including foundations, charities, education, museums, associations and more! With dozens of classes and sessions aimed at nonprofits (and entire floor dedicated to all things nonprofit in the Foundation Zone) Dreamforce will inspire you, give you new ways of looking at challenges, educate you, and will connect you to thousands of other nonprofit geeks who share your passion for world change. Bonus: the Salesforce Foundation also offers a $799 discount for all nonprofits attending! …And just in case you’re still not convinced, here are my top three reasons to attend Dreamforce:

  • Networking. Where else can you go where you can sit down to have lunch with the Grameen Foundation and the Global Fund to discuss best fundraising strategies for the 21st century? Dreamforce gives you the unique opportunity to talk to other nonprofits looking for the best ways to use Salesforce for their organization, and access to worldwide nonprofit and NGO practitioners (like American Red Cross, Polaris Project, and IAVA!). Not only will you have the opportunity to find out how trendsetting orgs are using technology to do more good better, but you’ll have the chance to speak with these guys personally about how they are addressing the world’s issues beyond the data level!
  • Education. Hands on trainings, breakouts, sessions, spontaneous demonstrations – education is flying around you everywhere you go at Dreamforce. You can take back loads of information and resources to help your organization rise to new levels… and getting some solutions immediately? Priceless.
  • Vision. One of the best things about Dreamforce is understanding where your CRM is going and how the evolution affects your organizational impact. New solution sets and ever-increasing integrations and customizations mean your org has more reach than ever before. Going to Dreamforce gives you the vision for what your organization can do to leverage your resources to maximize impact.

We hope to see you there this year! If you’re planning on attending, please make sure to email us so we can set up a time to connect while we’re there! Register for Dreamforce 2014 here: http://www.salesforcefoundation.org/events/dreamforce/

Community and Becoming More

We’ve all been there: walking into an exam room clutching your pencil in one sweaty hand and your scratch paper in the other, you find your assigned seat and look around at the other test takers while the proctor logs you in and tells you that you can get started whenever you’re ready. Girlforce ladies all over the US have sat down to take certification exams in the past few months. For some of us, it was the first time we had taken a Salesforce exam, others were taking repeat exams, or getting additional certifications. We recently polled Girlforce members who had passed Salesforce exams about their tips and tricks for passing, and we came up with the following three keys for success: 1. Be prepared. Finding a study group to help you learn difficult concepts and clarify the subject matter is essential. Virtual study groups, like the ones we have in Girlforce, or in-person study groups, like a local User Group, can be great resources in your study. Don’t leave it to chance – study, read, study some more, take practice exams. Feeling prepared when they walked into the room was crucial for most test-takers we surveyed. Find out what your weak point is, then make your weak point your best point! Judi Sohn (KELL Partners) shares:

“My tip: the questions are often written in such a way that it's just as easy to pick out what's wrong as what's right. So on questions when you have to pick 2 answers and you're not sure, focus on eliminating the absolutely impossible choices. There's always at least one. If you're lucky, there's 2 that you know beyond a shadow of doubt can't possibly be right and what's left has to be it.”

Preparation doesn’t mean you have to know all the right answers, but you should know enough about the subject to hopefully deduce the right answer in multiple choice! 2. Keep a tally. One of the most common answers to our poll about how people passed exams was getting through all of the questions and checking the ones for review to look at before submitting the test. Karen Fitton (Bigger Boat) passed her exam by “keeping a tally of questions I was certain of and marking the ones I didn't know to review. I go through [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"][the exam] once quickly without dwelling on the questions, answering what I know and marking the others for review. Then I have a sense of how much time I have for the review and how I think I am doing.” Liza Mueller (Echoing Green) advises test takers to use the paper and pencil provided in the exam to keep track of your certainty to answers:

“Questions for which I was uncertain got circled on the paper, where I also jotted down my gut instinct, or the two answers I was waffling between. Once I was completely through the exam I returned to the uncertain ones to read them more carefully. This helped me manage my time and nerves!” Mary Pustejovsky (Heller Consulting) adds: “I kept a running tally to help me know how many I had "for sure". It just gave me the confidence to finally hit that "submit" button!”

3. Be confident. Ashima Saigal (Database Sherpa) admits to struggling with test anxiety: “The mere act of sitting down to answer [multiple choice] questions puts me in a solid state of fear." Many of us don’t love taking tests, and some of us are downright afraid of them. During exams, in addition to marking answers for review and writing notes, Ashima kept a percentage tally of those she was confident about the answer to, as well as those she hasn’t the slightest idea about and would entirely guess. Confidence was her mantra:

“When I sat down, I wrote down immediately on my paper, "You know this stuff and can do it" and when I began to question myself or my brain went blank, I went back to that place on my paper. When I started to panic (it happens to me during tests), I would close my eyes and breath.”

The hidden advantage to working together to share in preparation, giving each other tips and confidence is that in the process, you become more than you were. The Exam gives you certification, the group gives you community. As Jeff Winger in Community says “You’ve just stopped being a study group. You have become unstoppable. I hearby pronounce you a community.”[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

4 Best Practices for Nonprofits Using Salesforce

[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"] Often nonprofits become frustrated and overwhelmed when using a CRM system as sophisticated and complex as Salesforce. How do I get help? Where do I find resources to train our staff? Where are the answers to my questions?

Here are some best practices for nonprofits using Salesforce. Help is just a click away!

1. Become involved in a Salesforce Community online or in person. There are a number of communities online that offer free help and support for nonprofits utilizing Salesforce. Some of my most utilized are:

Salesforce Success Community (https://success.salesforce.com)

The Success Community has several components, among the most helpful:

  • Answers: This tab has answers to commonly asked questions around Salesforce functionality and how to do various things.  Hint: If you google a Salesforce question, you almost without fail return an answer that is helpful. Those results are generally in the Salesforce Success Community Answers.
  • Help and Training: This is where you can contact support, find out about new releases, and take online training videos (many free!) surrounding Salesforce functions and best uses!
  • Ideas: If Salesforce doesn’t do it yet, you can bet there’s an idea submitted about that function! If you find your suggestion for improvement in the Ideas section, make sure to vote it up so Salesforce makes the change!
  • User Groups (under “More”):  User Groups are a great resource for getting your questions answered and finding solutions to your problems. I highly recommend that everyone become part of the User Group in your area. They have nonprofit user groups as well as developer UGs and Admin UGs

Power of Us Hub (powerofus.salesforcefoundation.org/publogin)

Using your regular Salesforce login, you can get into the Power of US Hub. This community is much like the Salesforce Success Community, except that it is specific to nonprofit Salesforce users. It has questions and groups like the other community, as well as helpful resources specific to NPOs.

2. Train your staff to use the things they need. If your staff member is running reports, they should watch a report building training video, or join one of the many free Salesforce webinars covering common uses of Salesforce produced for the community. If they are needing to primarily use Campaigns, check out a video or read best practices white papers in the Success Community about campaign usage. If the information is being kept in Salesforce, staff should not be permitted to keep it elsewhere – ie, keeping their contacts separately on an excel spreadsheet.

3. Map your processes and come up with standardized practices surrounding the entry of information. Where is information being duplicated? How many people are touching the same data and putting it into different places? How does a member’s life cycle at your organization look on paper? Reduce the number of touches each person’s data has – i.e., Contact information should be entered directly on the Contact record, rather than in Outlook address books and/or excel and/or paper and/or Access. If the constituent NEEDS to live in 2 places, (ie – accounting for payroll information AND Salesforce for membership information) that can be acceptable, but it’s in your best interest to reduce the number of places to as few as possible.

4. Address User Adoption. Why aren’t people using Salesforce? There are a number of ways to get people logged into Salesforce and using the system. One good way is through the use of Chatter, a collaborative tool that will allow you to communicate electronically with all of the staff in your organization, and have organic conversations around donors, members, constituents, opportunities, or any other items you’re tracking in Salesforce. There are user adoption dashboards available for download in the AppExchange as well. Once people are working in the system, it comes alive. People begin to trust the data, and people begin to find that they have built a 360 degree view of your constituents by collaboration and smart processes.

 

Dive in Deeper:

[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]