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.
How's your week been? Feeling a little stressed and anxious? As I write this, I just got home from a friend's housewarming party, where the typical response to: 'How are you doing?' was 'I'm ok, considering...'
The 'considering' was code for 'I never thought a Trump Presidency would be this bad.'
So keeping in mind this is a professional blog for social change oriented Salesforce folks, I thought I'd take a technology perspective on what technology ties are to the Trump Presidency, if any, and/or what those of us who work in technology or use technology can do when a new policy takes effect, say to defund the Affordable Care Act or ban Muslim refugees, that we do not agree with. Here are a few thoughts:
1. Hold your technology company's leadership accountable: I could not have been more proud to see that Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce, attended the women's march in San Francisco on Saturday, January 21, to advocate for equality. Marc is consistently vocal in advocating for equality, which matters because as a business owner his voice resonates loudly in audiences that are conservative and liberal. He also represents thousands of jobs in dozens of countries. The CEO of Uber, by contrast, has come under criticism for joining President Trump's economic advisory group. Work at Twitter? Maybe the next time you're housing a Republican victory party you could tweet your CEO and suggest it be moved to another locale.
2. Get on the Trail! That's right, there are Salesforce Trailhead modules that can help you be an awesome ally for equality! Check out the new Equality Ally Strategies badge and all of the diversity focused badges! Use the knowledge you learn to support and advocate for your colleagues of all backgrounds at all levels of the organization, in addition to encouraging your organization's leadership to take action like you did in tip #1.
3. Use technology to make social change! In addition to using Salesforce itself to organize your data, members, donors, actions, campaigns, and more to change the world, a barrage of new apps and web sites have flooded the market encouraging you to contact your elected officials and take other steps to stay engaged. But what apps can you trust? What apps won't crash? Only time will tell, but please let me know what you're having success with! Two that I have found so far are: Showing Up for Racial Justice (primarily white people organizing for racial justice; has chapter organizations across the country; why not start one at your company?) and The Indivisible Guide (for organizing to get your message through to elected officials, written by former congressional staffers). I've tried several other mobile apps and online petition sites and many have unclear information about who the founders are and what their affiliations are, and most ask for detailed personal information in order to send a canned email to an elected official, which does not seem to be an effective means of persuading an elected official but is a more effective means of gathering personal contact information to send endless emails that the signer may or may not wish to receive.
4. Take care of yourself. Getting enough rest, limiting screen time and news/media exposure to certain hours, doing activities that bring your joy and fulfillment, and staying connected to community/ pets/family are important. You are worth it. The more healthy and sane you are, the better you will be able to reflect that to the world, and the world could use as much health and sanity as you can spare right now.
What ideas do you have? What apps have helped you change the world? What do you see as the role of tech in the new administration? Good luck out there!
When my friend Pierre told me he had three Salesforce certifications, I was shocked. I thought there was no possible way I could ever accomplish such a feat. Well, it's been a few years, but here I am with three Salesforce certifications (Salesforce Administrator, Salesforce Sales Cloud Consultant, and Salesforce Developer), studying for my fourth! I can't believe it. And I *hate* multiple choice tests with a passion. So here are some hints and resources to help you along the way. The most important thing I can say is: you can do it!
Tip 1: Use Salesforce materials! Salesforce creates the certification exams, so be sure to use Salesforce materials when you study. Your first stop should be the Salesforce certification website, where the first thing you should download and use for organizing your studying is the exam guide for the certification you're going after (e.g., the Salesforce Certified Administrator Exam Guide). If you're on a budget, Salesforce Help & Training and the various implementation guides Salesforce produces are your best bet - simply take the topics in the study guide, google them, then practice, understand, and memorize the definitions and concepts from Salesforce's own documentation.
Tip 2: Join a study group *and* get a study buddy. There are several free study groups forming regularly in the Success Community and Power of Us Hub, or you can always form your own. Keep in mind, though, that the exams are difficult and you'll need to spend many hours outside of the study group studying. I highly recommend finding a one on one study buddy to keep you on track and to divide and conquer some of the research and sifting through all of the various subject areas on each exam. It's also great to quiz each other and clarify concepts. You can post in a group like Girlforce that you want a study partner, or ask at your local user group meeting.
Tip 3: Does your Salesforce organization have Premier or Premier Success? Are you sure? Take a quick second to double check because online, on-demand certification prep courses are included with these support plans. Otherwise, it's worth asking your organization to send you to a Salesforce University live or live online class, or at the very least pay for your exam fees. If you're paying out of pocket, consider the reduced cost exam fees surrounding Dreamforce.
Tip 4: Use free technology and apps! While Salesforce Trailhead is not designed to help you get certified, it can certainly introduce you to the concepts on certification exams and get you hands on in applying them in a free developer org (or Trailhead playground). The most useful aspect of Trailhead when studying for certification is probably the 'Resources' section at the end of each section, since it has a ton of handy links to Salesforce documentation.
Using flashcard apps like Quizlet can also be great, as long as you make and study your own flashcards to ensure accuracy.
Want more tips? Be sure to attend or catch the replay of #AdminHour: Let's Talk Salesforce Certifications, which you can register for right here.
While I'm still not quite sure how I feel about the label of 'developer champion,' I'll do anything to encourage the Salesforce community to become more diverse, so I hope you'll find in these steps one or two things that you can do to become more engaged and further your technical and people skills and come to feel more at home in the Salesforce ecosystem while you're at it. Here are 10 easy steps I personally have used to further my Salesforce career, including becoming a developer champion, Trailhead enthusiast, and more:
1. Sign Up - start by getting your own developer org here and getting on the Salesforce developer newsletter list. Follow Salesforce Developers on social media. This will keep you up to date and expose you to ideas and concepts as well as give you opportunities to dive in.
2. Start small - check out a workshop online, like the Intro to Apex workshop live or pre-recorded - it's awesome!
3. Make friends - follow people on social media, read blogs, ***ask questions***, and be appreciative! And don't forget, when someone is kind enough to take the time to reply to your question in the community, make sure and mark a reply as a best answer - it really helps everyone!
4. Challenge yourself - attend a hackathon or take a certification exam - you can do this!
5. Get hands on - with Trailhead, a sandbox, or your developer org, there's no excuse to not try out what you're learning!
6. Learn! Girl Develop It, RAD Women, #AdminHour, Girlforce Study Groups, and more are all excellent resources and free or very low cost ways to boost your skills.
7. Ask questions - I cannot emphasize this enough! You may notice if you follow me in the Power of Us Hub (and I hope you do!), that I ask at least as many questions as I answer. Of course, I always search for the answer before I ask, since that's a best practice I learned from the community, but not being afraid to ask is one of the best tools in my Salesforce toolbox!
8. Attend events and push yourself - Dreamforce, TrailheaDX, local developer user groups, #AdminHour, Girlforce gatherings, and more are a great way to meet others who are at your level that you can rely on as you build your skills together. FWIW, I pushed myself to attend a Salesforce Developer hackathon and WON with a team I met that day before I even knew a single line of Apex!
9. Try it in your real Salesforce org! Did you know that using Process Builder, writing formulas, and even advanced reports are all great ways to flex your developer muscle? It's true! You ARE a developer!
10. Share your success and pass it on! The Salesforce developer community is growing by leaps and bounds but it's not complete without YOUR voice. People need to know that anyone from any background can be a Salesforce developer. Take it from me, someone who never managed an IT project before I was asked to at my nonprofit in 2009. The community is here to help; we can do this!
Want more support and want to get tapped in to the Salesforce community but aren't sure where to get started? Join Longshore Consulting for #AdminHour - the fun, free, interactive way to learn Salesforce the first and third Thursday of every month at 10am PT/1pm ET - register here!
I often encourage the nonprofits I work with to avoid using multi-select picklists, and I always get the same question back: Why? Here are a two of my many reasons why I personally advise against using multi-select picklists whenever possible, why do you use or not use them?
1. They are really difficult to work with in formulas. Example: I wanted to use values from a multi-select picklist field as part of a naming convention for cases. There's not an easy way to do this. In fact, Salesforce help points out there are very few formulas where multi-select picklists can be used. Here they are:
2. They are hard to work with in reporting. Example: I wanted to use race as a multi-select picklist field to allow people to self identify in whatever way they choose. This is great, until I realized that to accurately capture people and that myriad ways to self-identify, I'd have to create a report for each picklist value (e.g., African American, Asian, Latinx, etc.) and then people would be double counted across the reports (e.g., someone who multi-selected African American and Latinx). I would then also need to create reports with all of the possible permutations or report on each person individually to allow for their full individual expression. Instead, I opted to use checkboxes which make reporting much more clear. Also, to be clear, to be able to report on one option in a multi-select picklist requires a super annoying workaround! Ugh! Read how to do that here. How this makes me feel:
So, what are your thoughts? Are there times when you don't need to report on multi-select picklists so you just use them anyways? Are there times when you've used one only to realize later you would have preferred checkboxes? Let me know!
So you've decided to get the 10 free donated licenses from salesforce.org for your nonprofit - congratulations! If one of the reasons you're excited about Salesforce is because of the license donation, you're probably interested in how you can keep your costs down and your return on investment high while using this incredibly flexible constituent relationship management software in the cloud. Here are a few tips:
1. Be flexible. This can mean a few things, of course, but the general rule of thumb to remember is to focus more on what you need to accomplish rather than how it needs to be accomplished. In other words, put your needs in the form of "we need to report on how many new donors we have attracted each month" rather than "we need a report in PDF format with a green column showing how many new donors we obtained for each calendar month."
2. Get on the trail! The more you're willing to use learn yourself, using the fantastically free Salesforce Trailhead online learning tool, the better off you will be. Think about it - spending a lot of money per hour to have a consultant do a custom training for your Salesforce administrator or staff is probably not worth it for about 80% of what your staff needs to learn. If your staff can complete certain trails and badges before doing certain customized training with your consultants, you will save hundreds if not thousands of dollars. What's even better, is that this will assure that everyone comes into the custom training your consultant does with the same base level of knowledge. And what's more exciting is that you can track people's progress in Trailhead and make sure that everyone has earned the same badges.
3. Know the true drivers of your timeline. Almost everyone who hires a consultant wants the project done immediately. What is the real reason for your urgency? Do you have an event coming up? Is there a board meeting? The more honest and open you can be with your consultant and of course the more flexible you can be in your date, the better off you will be. The more urgent and desperate you are the more likely you are to pay a pretty penny for expedited services.
4. Be willing to do work yourself. Not only is learning Salesforce an excellent investment for the long run at your organization, you can save thousands by doing some of the data clean up yourself or other tasks that can be extremely expensive if only consultants do them. Ask your Consultants directly what tasks you can take on to lower the total project cost.
5. Dedicate the internal resources. Almost every client I work with has vastly underestimated how much internal capacity a CRM project can take. There's a wide variety of knowledge that only nonprofit staff have and are actually better positioned than the consultant to do - for example, working with the executive team, mapping out certain processes, clarifying internal timelines, and creating the exact field mapping from the legacy system.
There are many more ways to save money working with consultants. One great way to start is to just ask. That said, working with Salesforce is an investment and if you truly have no budget you may want to reconsider your decision until you learn more. How can you learn more? Glad you asked. The Nonprofit CRM Summit has a free session for you on nonprofit system administrators as leaders which you can get right here.
Did you miss #AdminHour: Let's Learn Salesforce Report Filters? No worries, you can watch it right here.
Is this the first you're hearing about #AdminHour? Well, friend, you're in for a treat. #AdminHour is held online the first and third Thursday at 10:00am PT/1:00pm ET of every month and is the fun, free, interactive way to learn Salesforce for beginner to intermediate Salesforce administrators of any background. The best part of #AdminHour is that we get hands on in your instance so you can immediately apply what you're learning - experts, please attend to help answer questions and show those new to Salesforce the power and love of the Salesforce community!
How can I learn more about #AdminHour and get notified of future events? Great question! Check out our web site and click the Subscribe button for all the latest news!
How can I support #AdminHour? Wow, you have so many awesome questions today! You can just click this one tiny link to send a tweet (don't worry, the message is already written) to let more people know about it! Thanks friend!
P.S. If you want to continue to learn Salesforce with 15 modules on data cleanliness, reports, and configuration, sign up for Salesforce Nonprofit Admin Magic BETA at 50% off using the code FEEDBACK by Nov. 1, 2016 (only good for the first 10 people who are willing to provide feedback on the class so I can improve it!).
“The Nonprofit Success Pack is like a swiss army knife of social change goodness.” - Missy Longshore, Principal, Longshore Consulting
Have you heard that the NPSP is now the Nonprofit Success Pack? That’s right, the NPSP is stronger than ever as a versatile tool to serve nonprofits and foundations around the world with their CRM, fundraising, volunteer management, analytics, and other data needs!
Whether you’re already on Salesforce’s NPSP or are just getting started, Longshore Consulting recommends these 7 tips to succeed with the NPSP:
Missy (@missylongshore on Twitter and Periscope) writes this blog just for you!