The ABC’s of Salesforce

Better late than never, right? At least in most (read as: some) cases! 
My apologies for my disappearing act. With a month full of High Holidays, it was quite hard to keep up with things. Moving forward I will try to post regularly again. The feedback I have been getting is tremendous and I want to thank you, my incredible readers, for your participation and contributions.

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As mentioned in my previous blog post, I was honored to speak in the Admin Zone Theater at Dreamforce. My presentation focused on what I considered to be the ABC’s of Salesforce. The topics I covered were based on my experience and journey with Salesforce: when I first started with Salesforce, there were so many things that I didn’t know and so many more things I wish I had known. Today, I can look back and pinpoint what I have now coined as “The ABC’s of Salesforce”.  As I did in my presentation, I will start with “B” since it is the Beginning of it all.

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Basics: Know the Basics
Familiarize yourself with the basics of Salesforce, and specifically what features and objects your Salesforce instance includes.  Know what platform capabilities are and how they can be used. Ask yourself questions that are important and pertinent to your instance and your use of Salesforce.  Take a look at security, automation and reporting because they’re also essentials for your organization.

True Story: Recently, I had an organization approach me about an issue they were having with tasks. Every time a user was assigned a task, they received 2 email notification. One was the standard task notification email and the other….was an email sent through an Apex trigger .

You want to avoid these pitfalls by knowing what Salesforce can do for you and what you can do with it.

This applies if you are part of a nonprofit as well. Using the NPSP as an example, learn what the packages contain and what functionality they offer. This will help you create your processes, trouble shoot any issues you may have and guide you in making the best decisions for your organization.

Pro Tip: The best resource I can possibly suggest is Trailhead. If you have not used it already, you should literally run to try it out and see for yourself how incredible it is. Along with that, there are some great workbooks that offer step-by-step tutorials that will give you a great overview of Salesforce. As well, Udacity has a fun and interactive Salesforce course that you can follow. 

Appexchange: Your One-stop Salesforce Marketplace
The Appexchange is a marketplace of Apps that can extend the functionality and features of your Salesforce instance. Think of it along the lines of having a smartphone – that’s your Salesforce org. Your phone is certainly useful but you can also download additional apps from the Apple Store/Google Play that extend your phone’s capabilities. This is what the Appexchange does; from quote of the day, to mail merge to highlighted fields in your page layout – there are over 2000 Apps that will give you additional functionality and tools to meet your business needs.

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True Story: I recall a time I had hours of meeting with a Consultant and developer trying to solution on a complex need we had. This was just when I heard of the Appexchange so I did a quick search and found an app that did exactly what we needed for a nominal cost. We could have saved lots of time by searching there initially. 

Keep in mind that you are one of many other companies using Salesforce. Chances are, that if you need a certain tool, others may also and there might therefore just be in App for it!

Community: Where the Magic Happens
The Salesforce Community is your best option to finding answers and help to any problems you might have. More than just a forum, it is a community of people that care and are dedicated to your success. You can also visit the IdeaExchange to post ideas you would like Salesforce to implement or vote on existing requests.   So many great features have been added just because we asked.

If you are a nonprofit, visit the Power of us Hub. Is is the best place to find information, collaborate, post questions and connect

Pro Tip: You might come across a solution which seems great but doesn’t address your particular need. Think out of the box and consider how you can translate that into business needs for your company.

Dreamforce: My Highlights as a Newbie

Dreamforce. Keynote. Dreamforce. Presentation. Dreamforce. Sessions. Dreamforce. Swag Dreamforce. Comfy Shoes. Dreamforce. Agenda Builder. Dreamforce. Saasy. Dreamforce. Dreamforce. Dreamforce.

For the past few months, as excitement for Dreamforce 15‘ grew, these are just some of the ideas and terms floating around the cloud. The countless article, blog posts, tweets and videos could not do enough to prepare me for #DF15.

Because, after all. Dreamforce is Dreamforce.

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Admin Zone Theater
Admin Zone Theater

#1 – Admin Zone Presenter

Yup! Aside for being a newbie to Dreamforce, I was a first time presenter. My Wednesday started with a quick registration check-in and then I headed to the Admin Zone (Lodge) for a smashing presentation (full post on that coming up). I was honored to share my thoughts and tips with such a great crowd. Having received so much from the wonderful Salesforce Community, it felt good to be able to give back. I was double honored with the flow of questions at the end and being approached for tips on how to get certified.

#2 – Apex 4 Admins

This was my-must-attend-session and thankfully, I was able to attend! I arrived 35 minutes early to ensure entry – and good thing I did because I was the last person admitted to the class. It was truly a sad moment to watch over 150 people be turned away. From Apex Classes, to Lists, to SOQL, Leah McGowen-Hare rocked the room as she eloquently and humorously guided us through different Apex concepts. There were several “Aha!” moments that will help propel me in my journey to learn Apex.

Swaaag
Swaaag – Day 1

#3 – Swaaaaag

Because I wouldn’t be a good blogger if I didn’t talk about the Swag. My closet now boasts to many T-shirts to number, sweaters and a few other prized goodies (think selfie-sticks, remote-controlled Ferrari, Quadcopter) . It’s not often I can go away for a week and come back with presents for the little ones without even stepping into a store.

#4 – The People

Meeting my colleagues from Cloud 4 Good was definitely the greatest highlight. Working remotely, it’s not often we see past each other’s shoulders (webcam). Having these few days together was a real treat of fun. Through sessions, booth duty, and keynotes (not to mention evening parties and Dreamfest!), I really got to see and appreciate even more how close we are as a team.

It was also incredible to meet with so many people that I know virtually or not. Every moment was a surprising new encounter, relationships forged and strengthened.

#5 – The Everything

There are too many awesome moments to expound on them all;  GirlForce Meetup was a beautiful event to meet and connect with fellow women in the nonprofit tech world, the various zones and expos were great learning opportunities as were the many sessions, keynotes and events over the week, Dreamfest has no words (and left many with no voice), Dreampark was stolen moments of relaxation and HOTs are just about the best thing out there. On top of that, San Francisco is a beautifully place to be and the weather cooperated wonderfully.

A most inspiring, exciting and exhilarating week.

Because, after all. Dreamforce is Dreamforce.

Charidy.com: The New Crowdfunding

 Launched in the beginning of 2014, this crowdfunding site has run over 380 campaigns,  raising over $24,000 000 for various non-profits. They credit their success to these 3 campaign criteria:

1. Three matchers. That’s right. You need 3 donors (or groups of donors) that will match dollar for dollar all donations received to reach their goal. So if your organization wants to raise $250,000, then you need 3 donors of $62,500 (is my math correct?) to match the rest of the participants. On the flip side, every dollar donated has quadruple impact; $50 becomes $200, $1000 becomes $4000….

2. It’s all or nothing. You reach your goal, you get all the money. Should you not, the funds are returned to the donors.

3. Only 24 hours. Every campaign runs for 24 hours. Any start and finish time. But it’s only 24 hours.

“To date, Charidy.com campaigns have an 100% success rate!”

Why the interest and why the success?

I watched in astonishment as hundreds of charities ran fundraising campaigns with Charidy. My astonishment changed to delight as I watched the funds come in and goals reached. This week, an organization that I support ran such a campaign and I finally got it.

The thrill

The anxiety

The excitement

The tension

The stress

The emotion

The passion

The care.

The support

Because, for only 24 hours, every dollar donated would be matched by three matchers and it’s all or nothing.

Simple and brilliant.

For 24 hours, supporters were glued to their phones and computers, watching the success of the campaign, calling friends and relatives to donate, posting on social media and spreading the word. There was a hype and frenzy that comes about when there is so much at stake. And then we hit the goal and the stress and anxiety left. Elation and exhilaration kicked in.

Another Charidy success.

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Disclaimer: This post is purely my thoughts and not written at the request or behest of any company or organization.

Power of Us Hub: A Love Affair

Like flour is to a cake.

Like water is to a pool.

Like a smile is to a face.

Like the HUB is to NPSP users. Or just non-profit Salesforce users. Or soon to be users.

Seriously.

When I first stumbled through Google some three years ago in search of answers and solutions for my Salesfore org, I came across 2 Google Group forums dedicated to users of the NPSP. It was there that I was first introduced to the wonderful community of Salesforce. There were hundreds of threads on various topics, ideas and solutions for best practices, and a place to connect with other users.

It was at first sight.

Since then, the NPSP community has grown by leaps and bounds (I know, Cliche, right?) and the updates the Salesforce Foundation made to the system are incredible. But to me, the most incredible change is the HUB.

Sooo, what is it?

Its a private community for non-profit users – whether you use the NPSP or not. Its a place to connect, to discover, to learn, to share, to inspire and to be inspired. It’s a place to get answers, discuss solutions and brainstorm ideas. But the first word that comes to my mind is “COMMUNITY“. There is a vibe and family ambiance of caring and helping each other that goes beyond the written words on my screen.

I must admit, that at first I was quite lost. I would login (**Using my regular login!!- no new usernames and passwords to remember!**), look around, get intimidated after a bit, and then logout. All the time. Here and there I would deviate and join a group. And that was it. And the Weekly Chatter Digest was ignored. But slowly, things changed (mostly along with the new interface). I would see a question and think, “Hey, I know the answer to that!” or, “Wow, we had the same problem. What is their solution?” And that’s when I fell in love again. And I joined more discussions, and asked questions, and learned, and reached out. And that’s when I realized the Power of US: Me, you and you and you and you. Yes YOU. All of US together, empowering each other.  

So if you are a Non-Profit User, and have not logged into the HUB yet, do so now. It will be a transforming experience for you and your organization.

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According to Salesforce Foundation:

The Power of Us Hub is a one-stop resource center where customers of the Salesforce Foundation can find resources and training specific to nonprofit and higher education users, engage with one-another, and connect with employees, MVP’s in our community, and relevant partners.

  • Ask Questions
  • Answer a Question
  • Collaborate
  • Share resources
  • Access Nonprofit Starter Pack documentation
  • and lots more to come . . .

Login by visiting, https://powerofus.force.com and the logging in with your regular (non-profit) Salesforce username.