9 Resources Every Nonprofit Salesforce Admin Needs to Know

Are you the Salesforce Admin for your nonprofit? Was that always the intention, or is it the case now because #multiplehats?

We have a phrase for those in the latter. We call you “accidental admins”, because so often that’s what nonprofit database administration is! It’s also how many of us got our start in Salesforce.

Whether you’re in this for the long haul or looking to break free, Salesforce can be overwhelming. It’s a a complex product, backed by a massive ecosystem. Where does one start?

Here are 9 resources to make that transition a little smoother – tools you absolutely need to keep in your nonprofit admin’s arsenal. You got this!

1.The Power of Us Hub

Power of Us is an online community of Salesforce users who specifically work in nonprofit. In this forum, you’ll find tech questions & resources that are most relevant to our sector (like posts on donation-tracking, NPSP, and Salesforce campaign best practices). Make sure you’re part of the community and start browsing those forums!

2. Salesforce Nonprofit User Groups.

The nonprofit user groups are another great place to pose questions & engage. Though some don’t see as much activity as Power of Us, they’re a great resource to keep on your radar – especially for finding out when the in-person gatherings are happening.

Yes, you read me correctly. There are nonprofit admins like you & I who meet each month to commiserate talk Salesforce things.

Find your local group, join and go to a meeting! The community-building alone is invaluable, and you’re likely to get fresh implementation ideas for your org. (That’s where I got the idea to embed opportunity reports onto accounts. Game. Changer.)

3. The ‘Trailblazer Community’ (a.k.a The Salesforce Help Forum)

When I have a technical issue, I don’t always have the patience to wait for Salesforce Support to get back to me. So in addition to submitting a case (oddly difficult to do for some reason?) I might toss my idea to the “community” to get their input.

The Trailblazer Community is a great place to pose general questions about Salesforce functionality. There’s always someone happy to help answer your question, or even help you brainstorm the right answer to a question. I’ve gotten insightful technical feedback this way (and am currently waiting on responses to a question I posed on the developer forum. That one’s a leap though…).

*Tip*: The Trailblazer Community has two additional purposes: 1) providing the space for Salesforce to share updates on bugs, and 2) giving users a place where they can vote on ideas they’d like to see Salesforce implement.

4. The Salesforce Admins Podcast

Do you love listening to leadership podcasts in the morning? Then add this one to your list.

No, really! The Salesforce Admins podcast isn’t all tech, or even much Salesforce marketing. The podcast features admins and other professionals in the space, sharing their career stories and lessons learned. Instead of thinking ‘how can I be a decent admin for my org’, it really leaves you wondering ‘how can I lead through Salesforce at my org’.

Give it a shot and download an episode for your next commute. Then, let me know what you think in the comments!

5. Trailhead (Free Salesforce Trainings)

Trailhead is a fairly new resource taking the Salesforce professional community by storm. It’s a gamified, online learning system that provides FREE, digestible lessons on how to do everything: from data security to reporting, to developer things and even change management.

To be frank, I’m not one of those admins who’s gunho to earn all the badges. (I just don’t like that points deduct over extended periods of time. This is my same issue with the Starbucks Rewards Program). Still, when I’m trying something completely new to me, it’s a great starting point for getting a better grasp of a concept and the steps necessary to execute it.

And even I can’t deny that the modules are a good litmus test of your understanding – particularly the ones that have you perform the task in a real, scrap-able Salesforce environment.

*Tip*: Links not working? You need to sign into Salesforce first!

6. The Salesforce Release Notes

Can I be honest here? I was a bad admin for a loooong time and did not read the release notes. Simply because I didn’t know!

Each quarter, Salesforce rolls out updates, bug fixes and other enhancements to make the platform more workable. To prep admins for what’s to come, they compile all these changes into the release notes – an online encyclopedia of enhancements across all the different clouds & functions.

If you’ve ever watched Charmed, it’s basically the Book of Shadows of Salesforce. So many spells and hidden secrets, waiting to be cast out in the real world.

OH THE MEMORIES.

Make it a habit to read those notes! Yes they’re massive, but it’s the best way to stay on top of critical updates – like the free storage coming our way this quarter – and the only way you’ll know of any process improvements that can benefit your team!

*Tip*: Salesforce Classic doesnt see many notes these days, because it’s all about Lightning. If you havent moved over, skimming the release notes is a great way to gauge when the tide is right for your org to make the transition.


7. Youtube

Youtube is your BEST FRIEND for learning how to do anything new in Salesforce. While the Trailheads are helpful for explaining concepts, some things are so technically advanced that you really need to shadow someone. And unless you have an expert on staff for this, Youtube videos are the way to do just that.

I’ve learned how to create flows, build lightning components (sort of) and setup sandbox test environments by watching videos. Man, what would I do without the internet.

8. The Everyday Admin Blog

First, there are tons of great Salesforce bloggers & Twitter tweeters out there. I encourage you to browse around for the ones that speak to you! But The Everyday Admin gets my vote, as she’s one of the few blogs I’m actually subscribed to.

Why this blog in particular? Christine Marshall has taught me something new each week for the past 2 months, about how I can either make my org’s instance cleaner or visualize my data. She has small but actionable tips on how to do everyday admin things just a little differently, and always follows up with clear walkthroughs for how to make that happen.

Check out some of her pieces. I guarantee you’ll find something that makes you think “oh cool, I want to try that.”

*Tip*: In addition to Salesforce, mine is a Pardot org. If your org uses Pardot, two blogs I’d definitely recommend are Jenna Molby and Andrea Tarrell’s The Spot for Pardot.

9. NPSP Days

NPSP Day is an “un-conference” hosted in major cities across the globe, specifically for nonprofit Salesforce admins. Ryan Ozimek travels internationally to host these one-day events, where participants determine the agenda during the first half of the day and spend the second half learning about those topics. Here’s a list of the upcoming NPSP Days.

I’ll be honest; I do like the structure of a pre-set agenda, and to know exactly what I’m getting myself into with a conference. But the gatherings are still a great opportunity for the nonprofit Salesforce community to come together, brainstorm and share lessons learned & best practices!

And while it’s not the same thing as Dreamforce, it is a nice alternative for those whose orgs can’t swing the Dreamforce price tag. (Don’t know what that is? I couldn’t begin to get into it, so I’ll let Salesforce Ben tell you.)

Did I miss anything? What nonprofit Salesforce resources have YOU found helpful?

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