As a Salesforce Community Leader, I am asked to help in a variety of ways beyond just facilitate meetings.
- To help make connections between job seekers and employers
- To help find panelists for upcoming discussions on technology topics
- To help schools find resources for upcoming trade shows or career days
- To mentor other community members through a tough question (technical or not) they may have and need a sounding board.
This last summer, I received an inquiry to help that was a bit different than others. A local nonprofit leader approached me at the end of our community meeting and said:
I run a small local nonprofit and we just received our 10 donated licenses of Salesforce NPSP which we are grateful beyond belief. We have a small staff of a few people and we need help getting started with Salesforce. Do you think your community can help?
He gave me his card and agreed I would think about it. Later that night I was reading the Trailblazer community chatter messages and saw many community members around the world stating “I am a newly certified admin, but I need experience!” Or “I am working on badges to become a ranger but where can I go to use my new skills?”
It struck me that these requests need to be put together and the community can help to do this. I put out a question on the Twin Cities Trailblazer Community page to ask if anyone would be interested in volunteering to help a nonprofit build their Salesforce instance.
I got an immediate amazing response. Yes, people were willing to help and more people would help than I could fit in a room. It was an overwhelming response, so I knew that the hunger to help and learn more was out there.
I ended up with a group of 6 outstanding Salesforce community members who agreed to meet with me at the nonprofit, get to know the organization and see how we can help them be successful.
We met on Monday nights for about 12 weeks and helped the organization with onboarding steps with Salesforce and making decisions around how to build out their Salesforce org, including accounts, contacts and giving opportunities. We analyzed and consulted on connections with Mailchimp, Classy, Eventbrite, and Google Mail. Overall we had great success for this organization and made great strides in helping them on their way to a positive use of Salesforce.
More that those accomplishments above, I am most proud of how we worked as a group and how we interacted with our nonprofit organization:
- Group dynamics: We learned how to do things as a team of Admins and were able to bounce “what if” scenarios off each other and share how we do different scenarios at other organizations we have had experience with or things we have learned on Trailhead or through Certifications.
- Networking: We learned more about the other volunteers and got a deeper understanding about why they volunteered. This networking is so valuable and I consider this team to be an amazing group of admins.
- Empathy: Understanding more about the nonprofit and how what they do makes a difference for the lives of men and women in the community.
- Salesforce Skills: We increased our understanding of Salesforce and gained an appreciation of how 10 free licenses of a cloud CRM software can impact a small nonprofit so much!
Was this a successful trial? Yes, it was! Within only a few weeks, we were able to help the nonprofit to link donors and donations to Salesforce, and start to track their efforts through the year.
Since we started this little community volunteer group, I have had 3 more nonprofit organizations reach out to me and ask “How can your community help us to kick-start our Salesforce instance?” I am pumped to imagine a win-win scenario where community members who need opportunity and experience will match up with those orgs who need people to help volunteer.
What can a Community Group do? Based on our experiment, the Sky is the Limit!