UPDATED 2022 – Are you the Salesforce Admin for your nonprofit? Was that always the goal, or is it just the case now because #multiplehats?
We have a phrase for those in the latter: accidental admins. It’s so often how nonprofit database administration starts, and how many of us who are now “official” got our start in Salesforce.
Here are 10 resources to help make the transition smoother. You got this.
1.Salesforce Nonprofit Product “Hubs” (Groups)
✓ Great for: Troubleshooting
Previously known as Power of Us, these hubs are online communities specifically for Salesforce’s nonprofit customers. Depending on the type of customer you are, you’ll want to join the Nonprofit Hub, Education Hub, and/or the more general Salesforce.org Hub.
Within each of those main hubs, you’ll also find sub-communities with more specific product focus areas. Check out the NPSP group if your org is using that, as well as the full list of nonprofit-specific Trailblazer communities.
Communities are a great way to get updates relating to your org’s Salesforce product suite. It’s also a great public forum for posing questions and troubleshooting.
2. Regional Nonprofit User Groups
✓ Great for: Networking
While you’re browsing the hubs above, don’t forget to join some regional user groups too! These groups are the best way to hear about meetings, in-person meetups and other local opportunities. They’re also my favorite way to connect with other Salesforce professionals.
It’s worth noting that unlike the product hubs above, these groups are community-led (meaning they are supported by, but not run by, Salesforce.) Find your group here.
3. Trailblazer Community Forum
✓ Great for: Troubleshooting
When I have a Salesforce issue, I don’t always have the patience to wait for Support to get back to me. So in addition to submitting a case, I’ll throw my question to the kind folks in the Trailblazer community.
If you’re confused about how this differs from the items before….1 and 2 mention Groups within the Trailblazer Community that you can join. But the larger community doesn’t require you to join a group to participate! If you want to search for a question, post one yourself, answer someone else’s question or thumbs-up someone’s answer, you can easily do that.
4. Salesforce Event Calendar
✓ Great for: Networking, Professional Dev
The Trailblazer calendar is a great place to get the scoop on Salesforce trainings and webinars. The customer success calendar is also an option for finding in-person and virtual events, geared towards current Salesforce customers.
5. Trailhead (Free Salesforce Training Modules)
✓ Great for: Technical Learning
Trailhead (not to be confused with the other “Trail” stuff we’ve been discussing!) is a free online learning tool created by Salesforce. It offers bite-sized learning modules on the major features – like reports & dashboards or automation – and even goes beyond Salesforce, into topics like change management.
Trailhead won’t teach you everything there is to know about Salesforce. But it’s a great option for someone who’s just starting out, OR even if you know your way around and want to familiarize yourself with a new feature/concept. The latter is how I tend to use Trailhead these days.
p.s. You’ll notice that you can earn badges along the way. If that’s motivating, go for it! Many folks in the ecosystem love to get as many as they can. But if you don’t have the time for that, that’s also okay.
6. The Salesforce Admins Podcast
✓ Great for: Extra Credit Learning
Do you love listening to podcasts in the morning? Then add this one to your list.
The Salesforce Admins podcast isn’t all that technical (and thankfully not too much Salesforce marketing!) The show features admins and other professionals in the space, sharing their career stories and lessons learned.
7. Salesforce Release Notes
✓ Great for: Staying on top of new (and retiring) functionality
Can I be honest here? I was a bad admin for a looong time and did not read the release notes. Simply because I didn’t know!
Each quarter, Salesforce documents all their updates, bug fixes and enhancements in these release notes. If you’ve ever watched Charmed, it’s like the Book of Shadows for Salesforce. So much magic waiting to be unleashed.
Try to get in the habit of skimming the release notes, at least for the areas most relevant to your org. (And if you don’t have time because you’re human, check out any of the release readiness webinars. Salesforce will typically email dates closer to the release window, but you can also stay in the loop by joining the release readiness group.)
8. Salesforce Twitter
✓ Great for: Networking, Learning About Other Pros, Humor
The Salesforce Twitter community is bustling. Follow the right folks, start using the right hashtags and you’ll soon find your timeline filled with admin humor, some Salesforce learning, strong opinions, Salesforce plushies, some snark (if I’m being honest) and more.
I’ve made friends, avoided FOMO, peeped conferences I couldn’t attend in person, and almost went viral once thanks to Salesforce Twitter. But others have found mentors, job opportunities & general inspiration, thanks to the enthusiastic & warm community there.
9. Slack Communities
✓ Great for: Troubleshooting, Networking, Gifs
If you’re not familiar with Slack, it’s basically an online chat tool (that was actually acquired by Salesforce a few years ago). There are tons of Slack communities on any topic you can imagine, but the Salesforce ones are great for getting input quickly from other professionals in the Salesforce Community.
I once connected with someone who taught me how to do something super complicated using an automation. Within 24 hours.
So if you’ve never used Slack before, I highly recommend signing up and checking it out. Pardot (now Marketing Cloud Account Engagement) customers should check out the Pardashians Slack Group. Other Salesforce customers can check out Ohana Slack, which has its own #nonprofit channel.
✓ Great for: Learning
Youtube is your BEST FRIEND for learning how to do anything new in Salesforce. While the Trailheads are helpful for explaining concepts, and often cover more areas, some things are so advanced that you really need to watch someone else do it.
I’ve learned how to create flows, build lightning components (sort of) and setup sandbox test environments all by watching videos on YouTube. Super grateful to those creators for their work.
p.s. Since writing this blog, Employed for Good has also gotten on Youtube! You can check that out here.