Resources

A Single Merge to Rule Them All

A Single Merge to Rule Them All

It’s often a thankless task, but sending out Thank You letters is an important part of the development process. These letters give nonprofits yet another way to engage supporters so it’s important to personalize their message whenever practical.

Enter Apsona and Apsona Document and Email Merge. Nonprofits can leverage these powerful, but inexpensive utilities to produce custom acknowledgment letters for print or email and do so with only single generation of merged letters.

Let’s use a real-life example to demonstrate what we mean.

Let’s say a nonprofit receives 200 donations one week and they break down as such:

  • 100 received with no indication of what campaign generated the donation
  • 50 received at a dinner gala to support a specific program
  • 25 received because of an end of year campaign
  • 25 received in advance of a summer fun run

In the above situation a nonprofit has a couple options:

  1. Send 200 acknowledgments with a generic thank you and no mention of what prompted the gift
  2. Send custom acknowledgments with a message specific to the encounter that generated the donation.

The first option above is typically the fastest, but also the least satisfying.  The second option is best, but often requires generating multiple document merges, one for each campaign, and that can become time-consuming for staff. Utilizing a little trick we developed, a nonprofit can get the best of both options: efficiency and greater customization.

An Overview of the Solution

The solution relies upon each active Campaign having an Acknowledgement Letter field containing the main body of an acknowledgment letter. In addition, each Donation record should identify the relevant Campaign above via the Primary Campaign Source field.  If the relevant Campaign isn’t known then utilize a default or placeholder Campaign.

Utilizing an Apsona report and merge action, these fields link each Donation to the appropriate acknowledgment Campaign for purposes of merging the relevant text into an Acknowledgement letter.

Configuring the Acknowledgement Solution

The configuration isn’t horribly difficult; however, it requires a familiarity with creating and editing Salesforce fields, updating page layouts, creating Apsona reports and merge actions, and creating a MS Word document with appropriate merge fields.  Below is a high-level overview of the configuration.

Step 1 - Fields

There are four Salesforce fields required:

  • Acknowledgment Letter - Create a long text field on the Campaign object and set the number of lines to at least 20. The field should be added to all relevant Campaign page layouts.

For each active Campaign that may generate donations, be sure to populate this field with the body of a corresponding Acknowledgement letter. The body should consist of all text beginning after “Dear …” and should include a sign-off such as “Sincerely, Executive Director.”

  • Primary Campaign Source - This is a standard Salesforce Donation field that already exists although it should be made required to ensure all future donations have a Campaign value.  This field will identify what Campaign for the proper acknowledgment letter. Alternatively, if there is concern about using this standard field, then consider a custom Donation field that looks up to a Campaign record.
  • Acknowledgment Status - The Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP) includes this field. Creating the following picklist values if they do not already exists and ensure the field has been added to all relevant Donation page layouts:
    • To Be Acknowledged (set this as the default value for the picklist)
    • Do Not Acknowledge
    • Acknowledged
  • Acknowledgment Date - The NPSP also includes this field so ensure it is visible on all relevant Donation page layouts.

Step 2 - Merge File

There are two key elements to remember.

First, you’ll need to create an Apsona-friendly MS Word template. For more about how to create a merge template.

Second, you’ll need to upload the template to Salesforce Documents so that it is available to Apsona. This document should include a merge field that will be a placeholder for the Acknowledgement Letter text. To see a simplified merge document.

Step 3 - Apsona Single-Step Report

Create an Apsona Donation report. This report should include any relevant Donation, Account, and Contact fields, as well as the fields indicated above. This ensures the text of the Acknowledgement letter is available for merging and for updating of the Acknowledgement Status and Date fields. For more about creating Apsona reports.

Step 4 - Apsona Merge Action

Finally, you’ll want to create an Apsona Merge Action to complement the report above. For more about creating Apsona Merge Actions. This action should do each of the following:

  • Identify the Salesforce Document above for merging
  • Map the merge fields, including the Acknowledgement Letter field
  • Set the Acknowledgement Status to Acknowledged
  • Set the Acknowledgement Date
  • Generate a single MS Word document for printing
  • If desired, create an Activity entry for each Donation acknowledged

Solution Variations

The approach outlined above is simply one approach. There are a number of ways it can be adjusted to meet your nonprofit's needs. For example, some nonprofits will prefer to email these acknowledgments while others might prefer a different set of actions upon creation of a merge document.

We Can Help

Of course, every Salesforce instance and every nonprofit’s needs will vary and that’s why Now IT Matter’s is here to help. In addition to configuring solutions such as this, we also help clients think about how to streamline and enhance current processes so they aren’t stuck with a one-size-fits-all solution. If you think this solution might be for you then give us a call so we can talk more about your nonprofit’s needs.

Cloud TnT: Being a Changemaker: Shonnah Hughes

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A PODCAST FOR NONPROFITS USING SALESFORCE. With Tim Lockie, Tracy Kronzak, and Joni Martin.

Cloud TnT talks cherry pie, guinea pigs, NPSP Days, and Tim’s kids. And, much more substantively, race, gender, justice, the difference between being an ally and accomplice, and the world of technology with recent MVP Shonnah Hughes, including her Trailhead for All initiative. This one got out a bit late due to the recent election, but is perhaps now even that much more relevant. One of our recent favorite discussions, and something we hope has some wisdom and comfort in it right now. 

Being a Changemaker: Shonnah Hughes

 

 

Reflections from Tahoe Dreamin’

Reflections from Tahoe Dreamin’

 

There is something special about community-run regional Salesforce events like Tahoe Dreamin’. They’re more intimate events that allow for more meaningful conversations. And there’s something special about a conference run entirely by Salesforce users who want to dedicate their time to learning more about Salesforce

Last week, 200 Salesforce users gathered in South Lake Tahoe to network, learn, and get inspired.

Sarah Joyce Franklin, SVP of Developer Relations and GM or Trailhead at Salesforce, gave a keynote speech that set the tone for the conference. In it, she made three key points that provided a new perspective on how you work with your Salesforce instance:

1. Change the story from “Can I change the world?” to “Will I change the world?”.

At Now IT Matters, our clients are in the business of changing the world, and that can be a daunting task. From connecting with constituents to monitoring program outcomes, leveraging Salesforce to fit your organization’s needs can be equally intimidating. But instead of asking yourself if you can do it, as yourself how you will do it. Just changing the story puts you on a path and is the first step in planning your success.

2. Do not be ruled by fear.

As I attended the sessions at Tahoe Dreamin’, I amended this to “Do not be afraid of Lightning.” Many nonprofits have been reluctant to switch over to the new platform because it’s different, it’s unknown. And if we’re being honest, that’s a little scary.

But Lightning isn’t something to be intimidated or worried about, it’s something to explore and be excited about! Turn it on in one of your sandboxes and play around. Collect use cases from your Salesforce users and see how you can solve them in Lightning. If you fail, it’s just a sandbox. And if you succeed, your users will thank you.

3. Be the change.

This comes from the famous Gandhi quote, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” And it holds true when managing a Salesforce instance. Be an example to your users. Inspire them to learn Salesforce by earning some Trailhead badges, or get a certification. Want them to get excited about the platform? Get excited about the new features coming out in the Spring ‘17 release and share them with your users.

Whether skiing down a snowy mountain or taking the leap to convert your org to Lightning, the point is to take the chance. Could you end up with a failed project (or a face full of snow)? Absolutely. But try anyway.

A Little Hope Goes A Long Way

A Little Hope Goes A Long Way

 

Chronic depression has been a shadow of mine since high school, and while I’ve learned to live and deal with it, life events sometimes darken the world for me; so to say that 2016 wasn’t great for me is an understatement. From a bitter election to my dad’s cancer diagnosis, it felt like the year ground humanity down; Carrie Fisher was the last straw. I was reminded last week that hope is the best defense against despair. When it comes to hope a little can go a long way. So I want to start 2017 with a few Bozeman nonprofit organizations and Salesforce heroes that gave me hope in a hard year.

 

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First up is Bridget Wilkinson from Bozeman Area Community Foundation on the day that the online giving platform, Kimbia, went down for the local Give Big day that she spent a year organizing. Over 130 local nonprofits had spent months working on social media, local businesses had volunteered their locations as donor lounges; thousands of hours went into preparing for a day of giving only to have the online platform stall out at 9:30 in the morning. I had talked Bridget into letting me play tech support for the day, and by 10 am the writing was on the wall, Kimbia wasn’t functional. At 10:30 four of us put our heads together and came up with a plan. Katie worked media communication with Bridget, a board member set up a phone bank with a local business ( Foundant), and I set up a google spreadsheet to hand enter donations. Yes, a google spreadsheet. Our goal for the day was $300,000 in donations. When the dust settled (two weeks later) we had raised over $430,000. 19 volunteers hand entered over 2,000 donations recorded on printouts of the google sheet. Bridget has entered legendary status (which she deserves) among Montana nonprofits (I heard at a conference that Bridget had another backup plan in case the first backup plan failed). It reminded me that technology, while important, is never a replacement for relationships; people give to people.

familypromiselogoLate in 2015 I met Christine Armstrong the Volunteer & Outreach Manager at Family Promise of Gallatin Valley at her office after hearing that she needed some help with Salesforce. The vision of Family Promise is near to my heart, and I wanted to help. Her salesforce instance was overwhelming her and an hour with me didn’t do much to help. In fact, I left feeling that I had made things worse and that she was going to avoid the system and just work in excel as much as possible. I could not have been more mistaken. She was at the first User Group meeting and started using two hours a week to focus on learning Salesforce. She presented on custom fields at a future user group meeting and by mid-summer, she was working with a Salesforce tech from the National office of Family Promise to get her instance upgraded. She came to nearly every Summer School user group session where she used what she had learned to help other users with their Salesforce issues. Her grit and perseverance inspired and helped me to believe in the resilience of awesome admins.

mccWendy Wigert, Director of Operations with Montana Conservation Corps (MCC) is a force to be reckoned with. She is friendly and personable, but when it comes to Salesforce and data she is also on the ball, in control, and comes to a discussion with strong opinions and unapologetic (and reasonable) expectations. It doesn’t work for every personality, but Wendy pulls it off with style and as a result, MCC continues to grow as it provides Montana with valuable services and develops the leaders of tomorrow. It seems like every third person I meet in Montana has served with MCC. NiM migrated two Access databases for MCC last year and provided initial training for their staff. Wendy had her team in Trailhead getting badges and learning Salesforce before the first Access database was even exported. She doesn’t just talk about Salesforce with her staff, she learns it and creates the space for her staff to learn it as well. And while that might be rare, it’s best practice and what we hope for; it meets our expectations for a good admin and project champion. However, she was a first on two things in consulting. First, she created the time and space for her staff to correct all data errors that they could find; by hand one record at a time; this included several thousand duplicate records. When I told her about a dedupe tool she pointed out that she and her staff would know the data much better by looking at each record and that at the end of it would be sure that the data was pristine. I had my doubts that the work would get done, but she hired a temp, created time for her staff, and they had it knocked out within a few weeks. She also instituted a bi-weekly learning meeting (called Brain Trust) where her staff show up and answer questions and solve issues together. There is a strong economic argument that the best expense an organization can make is increasing knowledge of internal processes, and MC is proving this to be true. Wendy has transformed their data footprint with a smile on her face; encouraging words to her staff to level up with Salesforce, and personally demonstrates to me what can be done with focus and commitment.

thrive-logoThen there’s Thrive. They have been making families stronger and supporting kids for over 30 years. When my son was struggling with reading we met with teachers and guess who showed up… yep, someone from Thrive. When my daughter started having lunch with a college-aged mentor once a week guess who set it up; also, Thrive. The best teacher I have ever experienced, quit construction in his 40’s and got a teaching degree because of his volunteer work with Thrive. Vanessa Skelton helped implement Salesforce a few years ago and now co-leads the Bozeman Salesforce User Group with me. Last year I had the privilege to share office space at Thrive. I witnessed first hand the passion their staff holds for the children they serve when one staff member was brought to tears when she received bad news about a mentee. I’m not totally comfortable with the fact that her sobs brought me hope, but as someone who uses cynicism as a shield, the raw grief and vulnerability of that moment motivated me to embrace the sad instead of pretending it away.

rogue-oneI saw Rogue One the day that Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia) passed away. Maybe I was more reflective than I should have been, however, the movie left me pondering the relationship between Hope and Sacrifice; that rebellions and nonprofits are built on them. Thank you to all of you who stand for a better world against all odds and give of yourself personally each day to our community; you are being watched and you are making a difference! I would love to hear where you found hope in 2016 and your aspirations for 2017.

Less is More: 3 Simple Ways to Clean-up your Salesforce Instance

Less is More: 3 Simple Ways to Clean-up Salesforce

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Everyone (well most everyone) appreciates a nice, neat workspace. It helps one focus on what’s most important and promotes calm in a sea of endless distractions.

It’s no different for Salesforce. Eliminating system bloat can go a long way toward improving the user experience.

Here are three relatively simple ways to begin cleaning up your Salesforce instance.

Fields

The granddaddy of bloat is too many fields. It’s starts innocently enough with a single user request, but over time those user requests for fields begin to take a toll on end-users and administrators

The problem with too many fields

  • Increases data entry time as users search through increasingly long page layouts
  • The most important fields get lost among trivial fields

Do you really need a field?

  • Is the field required to capture information for key reports such as those for reporting on a grant?
  • Are staff even bothering to complete a given field?

Cleaning Up the Bloat A great first step is installing the FREE application Field Trip. This utility scans your Salesforce data so it can report on how frequently a field is being used. If no one is bothering to complete a given field, then it probably isn’t important enough to keep around. To make a case for eliminating extraneous fields run a few Feld Trip reports, summarize your findings, and discuss with your power users and management team.

Get Field Trip - https://appexchange.salesforce.com/listingDetail?listingId=a0N30000003HSXEEA4

List Views

list-bloat-blogList Views can get out of hand FAST, especially if all users have access to create new List Views!

The great thing about List Views is that you can quickly get to key records without running a report; however, if everyone is making their own List Vies and sharing them with everyone else then it all blurs together.

Questions to Ask?

  • Is a List View being used regularly? – Maybe it was created for a special purpose 5 years ago and has since been forgotten.  If so, delete it.
  • Does everyone need access to see a particular List View? – Maybe some List Views are only needed by development staff while others support programming staff, if so restrict visibility as needed.

Does everyone need access to create new List Views? – Get ahead of the problem by limiting who can create new List Views.

Chatter Groups

chatter-archive-blogCleaning up Chatter groups is as easy as 1-2-3

First, review all active Chatter groups and Archive those that are not actively used. You can do this by opening up a group’s settings and clicking the Archive button.

Second, updated the settings for each group so that they automatically archive after 90 days of inactivity.

About Archiving

  • Archiving does not delete a group and its content
  • An archived group can be reactivated

What is My Domain and why will Salesforce require it?

What is My Domain and why will Salesforce require it?

Starting with the Spring ‘17 release, Salesforce is going to require that all current and new Salesforce orgs have My Domain enabled.

This new requirement will help avoid any surprises when Salesforce performs routine maintenance on its servers. My Domain is also required to create a branded login or use Single Sign-On with Salesforce and to use Lightning Components.

How do I know if I have My Domain enabled?

The easiest way to see if you have My Domain enabled is to log into your Salesforce org and look at the URL.

If it looks like this:

mydomainurl1-2

with something like your company’s name followed by “.my.salesforce.com”, then congratulations! You’ve already enabled My Domain in your org. Way to be ahead of the game!

If it looks like this:

nomydomainurl

with a letter/number combination like na29 preceeding “.salesforce.com”, then you do not have My Domain enabled for your org and should enable it before the Spring ‘17 release.

How do I enable My Domain?

Surprise! There’s a Trailhead trail for that. The trail takes about an hour, and will walk through all the steps and considerations for creating a subdomain in Salesforce.

Here are a few things to keep in mind while turning on My Domain:

  • The subdomain cannot be changed once created, so choose wisely!
  • Any hard-coded references to URLs in your Visualforce pages, Email templates, etc. will need to be updated with your new orl URL. We recommend having an advanced Administrator or Developer make these updates. This article provides information on how to find and update hard-coded references in Salesforce.
  • Once My Domain is enabled, users will be able to log in to your Salesforce org by going to http://[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"][subdomain].my.salesforce.com instead of to the Salesforce login website.

My Domain creates a more branded experience for your users and will ensure fewer headaches in the future as Salesforce continues to update and maintain its systems.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

NPSP: So Much Change, So Little Time

So Much Change, So Little TimeHousehold Naming & Primary Contacts

There have been many big changes lately to the Nonprofit Success Pack that a few new features may have been missed.

For example, you can now adjust the universal Household Name settings so that only the Primary Contact of a Household is included within a Household Name and within associated Formal and Informal Greetings for all Households in your Salesforce org.

Let’s say there are two members of a Household: Fred and Wilma Flinstone and that Wilma is set as the Primary Contact. Now you can adjust the Household Naming settings so that only Wilma’s name is used for purposes of naming.

In the example above the result of these changes would be:

Household Name = Wilma Flintstone Household

Formal Greeting = Mrs. Wilma Flintstone

Informal Greeting = Wilma

To make the adjustment go into Household Name Settings within the NPSP Settings utility.  Now update the following values within Household Name Settings:

  • Name Connector = (leave empty)
  • Name Overrun = (leave empty)
  • Contact Overrun Count = 1

screenhunter_2846-nov-04

 

After making this adjustment you’ll need to use the Refresh Household Names batch feature to force an update of Household Naming throughout your records.

A word of caution: these changes will apply to all Households in Salesforce.

An Alternative: Case-by-Case Changes

If you only want to limit the Household Name to the Primary Contact on a case-by-case basis, then utilize the Manage Household button on individual Household records.

The Managed Household feature will provide more granular control by allowing a user to exclude specific contacts from Household Naming fields. In the example below, the child within a household is excluded.

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To learn more about Household Naming check out this article from the Power of Us Hub: https://powerofus.force.com/kA080000000CsCJ?srPos=0&srKp=ka0&lang=en_US

 

Cloud TnT: Staff Favorite Episodes

cover170x170CLOUD TnT: A PODCAST FOR NONPROFITS USING SALESFORCE.With Tim Lockie, Tracy Kronzak, and Joni Martin.

Want more Cloud TnT?!? Catch up with some staff favorites from this year:

 

 

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A Screwdriver and Lightning Boat: Steve Molis

A Very Special Cloud TnT with Salesforce superstar Steve Molis. Cloud TnT covers all kinds of ground, from answering questions and being of genuine service, to equality for all. Tracy fangirls out, and then cries (again). SteveMo chokes up. This is a golden recording, and there are no words for how much fun we had, just listen…

 

  adamkramer

The Next Level: Adam Kramer

While Tim’s away, Cloud TnT is helmed by Joni and Tracy with a fantastic interview with #AwesomeAdmin and consultant extraordinaire, Don Draper. We mean, Adam Kramer. Topics include NPSP evangelism, the NPSP Advisory Board, and building on the NPSP as a technical and community tool, and taking it all to the next level. Does the NPSP have a new mascot? It just might…

 

 

maddYou Really Have to Solve the Problem: Chris Robinson

 

While Tracy is away, Joni and Tim continue Cloud TnT’s #AwesomeAdmin series. Mothers Against Drunk Driving uses Salesforce to help deliver its nationwide services, and Chris talks about his journey implementing, his organization’s work, creating buy-in, and how being a Salesforce administrator fits in to all of it.

 

bonnyhinners

Bringing Us Together: Bonny Hinners

A lively discussion with #AwesomeAdmin, User Group leader, and MVP Bonny Hinners all about how important the customer is to Salesforce, and the changing role of the Salesforce community. A great segue to Dreamforce and the newly-announced Nonprofit Success Pack, covering the Dreamforce keynote previews and the Boston NPSP Sprint. We’re super excited to be heading to Dreamforce this year!

Cloud TnT: That Much Better for Someone Else: Nick Lindberg

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A PODCAST FOR NONPROFITS USING SALESFORCE. With Tim Lockie, Tracy Kronzak, and Joni Martin.

A more humorous review of Dreamforce 16 recorded BEFORE Dreamforce – yeah, we’re that good. And we also talk to MVP Nick Lindberg about service, friendship, and the Good Old Days of Salesforcelandia. A heartwarming story of family and community ensues. 

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That Much Better for Someone Else: Nick Lindberg

 

 

#LevelUp with the Salesforce Community

How One DevAdmin #LeveledUp at Dreamforce

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More than one person has described Dreamforce to me as going to Summer camp, where you get to reunite with all the friends you haven’t seen for the past year. While this might not be the best way to convince your boss to let you attend this conference-to-end-all-conferences, it does highlight one of the most valuable products Salesforce has to offer: the community.

Yes, the hands-on-training sessions are great learning tools, and the keynotes are always an exciting look at what’s coming up in future product releases. But when you’re back at your office, sitting in front of your computer, baffled by the Process Builder that keeps inexplicably failing, who’s going to help you?

Answer: all those friends you see every year at Dreamforce.

Whether you post your question in the Success Community, Developer Forum, Power of US Hub, or call in to one of the dozens of office hours hosted by Salesforce users like you, you have a wealth of access to people who’ve stared at that same Process Builder and want to help you be successful.

So go ahead, give us your toughest questions, your seemingly insurmountable Salesforce challenges. We’ve got a community of thousands that wants to help you #LevelUp.