One of the most popular blog posts in the Longshore Consulting blog archives is this article, "5 Tips on How to Use Salesforce Sandboxes for Nonprofits" (re-posted below). While it's still a great article, a few things have changed since I first wrote it two years ago, so I thought I'd republish it here to make it easier to find on this site and to offer some new tips and resources.
Here are four additional big improvements and tips to help you use sandboxes with ease:
1. Nonprofits now get a free Partial Sandbox! This is an amazing way to include some data in your sandbox so you don't have to type a bunch of test records. Not sure how to do this? Check out this #AdminHour, starting at 23 minutes in, where I walk you through how to set one up (there's also a ton of great tips about how to test whether your nonprofit is ready to switch to Lightning in that webinar recording, by the way).
2. You can now learn more about Sandboxes with Trailhead! Get tons more Sandbox details and earn some awesome points, and be sure to check out the extensive list of resources to learn more, on this unit of the Application Lifecycle Management trail.
3. There's now an Apex class screen that comes up when you're creating a sandbox that's a little confusing: just ignore it and click 'Create.'
4. Sandbox access: if you have a user who can't access the sandbox, you'll typically need to go in and: a. change their email to their actual email address, b. have the user click through on the email getting them to verify the change to their email address (and on the subsequent screen have them log in with their sandbox username, i.e. being sure to append '.sandboxname' to their email address), c. confirm with the user they're now able to log in to the sandbox, and if not send them a password reset (from within the sandbox setup screen), and d. tell the user to set their sandbox password to the same as their production password for ease of use. Ideally, before generating the sandbox, you should make sure all users are created in production to have as few issues as possible with sandbox logins. Also be sure to have people login to the sandbox the day *before* your staff training so you don't have to spend precious group time troubleshooting login issues.
Good luck on your sandbox journey! For ongoing tips and Salesforce support in an interactive format, be sure to sign up for #AdminHour, which is free the first and third Thursday of every month at 10am PT/1pm ET. Hope to see you there!
5 Tips on How to Use Salesforce Sandboxes for Nonprofits
Salesforce Sandboxes are super fun and helpful places to test out changes to your Salesforce system before you put those changes in place in your live production environment. But when and why should you use them? What do you do with them if they’re blank? When should you refresh your sandboxes? Here are five tips to help you use them without fear: 1. Don’t be afraid – they’re meant to be played in! Just click: Setup –> type ‘Sandboxes’ in the Quick Find –> click ‘Sandboxes’ –> click ‘New Sandbox.’ You’ll likely have Developer and Developer Pro sandboxes available (assuming you’re a nonprofit). Type in an easy name to append to your Salesforce user name, like ‘test.’ Remember when you log in to go to https://test.salesforce.com/. To log in, use: email@example.com and your regular password. 2. Discuss before refreshing. When you refresh a sandbox, you push a new copy of your production environment’s metadata into the sandbox, completely writing over everything that’s in the sandbox already. In English, that means if you added a new field in your Salesforce instance called ‘My New Field’, then refreshed the sandbox, you would now see that field in the sandbox (but not the records or values you had entered into that field). If you have more than one Salesforce administrator at your organization (like most nonprofits), be sure to communicate clearly before you refresh the sandbox. Otherwise, if you refresh it without asking, you could erase the workflow rules, applications, or code another team member is testing out in the sandbox. 3. Use one sandbox as a documentation resource – after all, nonprofits get 7 free sandboxes! Just be clear in the sandbox description field. For example, one sandbox could be named ‘backup’ and the Description could read, ‘Backup of our organization’s Salesforce instance as of February 2015, before we upgraded to the Nonprofit Starter Pack v 3.0, in case we want to refer to any of the configuration before upgrade.’ Note it’s a good idea to log in to your backup sandbox at least once to check all your metadata (configuration) is there before you perform any major changes in production. 4. Know what can and can’t be moved into production. Apps from the app exchange, for example, can’t be moved, but it’s still a really great idea to test them in the Sandbox to see if they’re a good choice for your organization. The full list of what can be moved using a change set can be found here. 5. Quickly create test data if your sandbox is empty. Unless you pay for a partial or full sandbox, your sandbox will not have any records, so be sure to quickly enter a few test records when you login for the first time after creating or refreshing your sandbox. Remember to start with Organizations, then add a Contact, and then add a record to the new custom object you just created if needed (e.g. lookup relationships). This part can be frustrating because each time you refresh the sandbox you’ll need to start over and create these test records again. To make it easier, I keep a few test names on hand (think ‘Kermit de Frog’ and ‘Test Testerson’) and only fill in the required fields. Have any other tips or suggestions? Leave them in the comments!
The Spring '17 Salesforce release, the Oscars, or Black History Month may have sparked your interest (I hope!) in the diversity of the tech world around us. Whatever your background, now (and every day!) is a great time to learn about amazing tech leaders you may not have learned about in school that have shaped how we use computers, how we get around, and yes, how we get to space. What follows are just a few tech leaders - please send me your favorites and suggest more so we can keep the list growing, and be sure to click on the links to learn more about everyone!
1. Raye Montague: She is the first person to design a U.S. Navy ship using a computer.
2. Kimberly Bryant, founder of Black Girls Code.
3. The leaders of Boldforce at Salesforce, who put together this awesome post with 10 Black Innovators in STEM.
4. Tierra Guinn, a 22 year old NASA engineer.
5. Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson, and Dorothy Vaughn, the three women featured in the real-life events portrayed in the movie Hidden Figures, and their modern day NASA counterparts. There's even an amazing curriculum for students built around these leaders called Modern Figures!
And of course, you can take action by taking a colleague, friend, or group of young people to see Hidden Figures or I Am Not Your Negro in the theater! If you need more inspiration or information, here's a great review of Hidden Figures by a technologist, Dana Roth and a link to the trailer and 98% Rotten Tomatoes score and reviews of I Am Not Your Negro featuring the work and words of James Baldwin. If you want to involve young people, check out the leadership of Salesforce community leader Krystal D. Carter, who created Tech Me to the Movies - read more about how she brought dozens of young women to see Hidden Figures and learn about careers in tech here.
Special thanks to Toya Gatewood and Shonnah Hughes, co-leaders of the Salesforce User Group, Women in Tech Diversity, who are outstanding leaders! Be sure to join WIT Diversity today!
If these cats are the closest you've come to seeing Salesforce Service Cloud in action, don't worry! #AdminHour is here to show you the basic concepts of the Service Cloud, give you resources to learn more, and encourage you to get paws-on with this fascinating part of Salesforce that's right under your whiskers.
Of course, one of your best resources for learning and getting hands on with the Service Cloud is Trailhead, where you can check out the entire Service Cloud Trail.
Two other things that may surprise you:
1. Many elements of the Service Cloud, like Cases, are free!
2. Many nonprofits can use the full Service Cloud for free!
For more information, check out #AdminHour, explore Trailhead, check under 'Company Information' in setup to see what licenses you have, or check with your Account Executive. You can also comment here and I'll do my best to help!
Want to keep learning more about Salesforce? #AdminHour is fun, free, and interactive the first and third Thursday of every month at 10amPT/1pm ET. Upcoming topics include Salesforce consulting and the Spring 2017 release. Learn more, register, and catch replays right here.
A lot of nonprofits I talk with are absolutely terrified of data migration and data importing. I was at first too when I first started using Salesforce. It's understandable - it feels permanent and like a big project! But with all of the available tools, resources, and support available to you (none of which were around when I started out, I might add, when we had to walk to school uphill both ways), you can totally do this. Just remember to practice in the sandbox and take it one step at a time. With that in mind here are a few additional tips:
1. Clean your data! If you're taking the time to move your data from one place to another, you certainly want it to look sparkling fresh so people will use it, right? Here are some tips:
2. Format your data! Again, watch this video for tons of tips to help make this easy (hint: filters in Excel really help with this!). You'd be surprised how many phone numbers, email addresses, states, etc. need to be cleaned up. Make sure your data will match the data standards and validation rules that you've established - for example, where do you put extensions for phone numbers? Are you using state abbreviations? What about US vs. USA for country?
3. Map your data! I like to keep this simple by using an Excel or Google spreadsheet where the top row has my legacy database field names and the bottom row has my new Salesforce field names (the goal is to have a 1:1 relationship between your legacy fields and new fields in Salesforce, assuming you're importing all of the old data). Then I use the data validation feature in Excel to restrict my data input to just the correct Salesforce values as appropriate (i.e., the right picklist values). I put all of the data to be imported into this spreadsheet in the appropriate Salesforce format for each field.
4. Figure out the import order of your data. Should you put in your Accounts first, by themselves?When in doubt, ask! Note you may need to split up your spreadsheet from step 3 into multiple objects, and confirm that you have at least the required fields from each object included. This step is heavily dependent on which tool you're using, so my advice is to draft a plan and then confirm that plan in the Power of Us Hub. It's typical to start with Accounts (Organizations), then add Contacts, then Opportunities (Donations), but this is different if you're using the Nonprofit Success Pack (see resources below). Some tools can also handle importing to multiple objects at a time, which is great and can save you a lot of stress! The Salesforce Importing Data Quick Start should be able to help, but does not address the NPSP. Don't worry, you can do it!
5. Again, practice in a sandbox! A Salesforce sandbox exists so you can test something before you do it in a more permanent way in production. Data migrations involving multiple objects can be tricky to undo, and you're given about 30 free sandboxes, so test out your skills before you move forward and ***be sure to check your work*** before and after you put it into production.
What's your experience with Salesforce data migration and importing? Favorite tools? Let me know and be sure to come to #AdminHour the first and third Thursday of ever month at 10am PT/1pm ET to continue to build your Salesforce skills in a fun and interactive way!
If you'll be importing into the Nonprofit Success Pack, be sure to watch this webinar and check out this page.
Missy (@missylongshore on Twitter and Periscope) writes this blog just for you!