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Tech tips for impact professionals. Do well at doing good.

Here are 5 steps you can take once your org has Salesforce.

So. After lots of deliberation, your org finally has Salesforce. Yay!


If your org just implemented Salesforce, hopefully you have a stellar partner by your side to guide you. But either way, in order for this to be successful, you really need someone on staff owning all those details.

If that person is you, congrats. You’re probably wondering where to even start! Enter this list.

Frankly, this list could have 20, 50, even 100 things on it. But we’re keeping it to 5, because when Salesforce suddenly becomes one part of our jobs, we pick our battles.

Here are 5 things you can do right now in Salesforce that will make a positive difference in your implementation.

p.s. If your org has NPSP and you’re not super clear on the difference, start here.

1. Set up duplicate record sets

The easiest way to tackle a bad duplicate situation? Don’t have one. 😌

Seriously, don’t be the org that waits for repeat data to wreak havoc on their instance! Duplicate record sets can help head that off early. They can be configured in Salesforce setup and don’t require an impossible amount of tech expertise to learn. In fact, I think it’s so great that I have a whole post about them here.

All things considered, this is a free, low-lift technical effort that helps your org’s data integrity.

2. Dive into system permissions

If your org is dealing with sensitive data that certain staff shouldn’t see, then this is one of your top priorities! Doesn’t matter if your consultant is taking this on: you’ll still want something in writing, at least, that explains your different profiles and their levels of access.

Figure out which person gets the coveted system administrator role. Assign this sparingly: don’t make the mistake of handing everyone the keys to this kingdom!

3. Browse the AppExchange

I actually have a counter-intuitive philosophy on this. I believe that less apps are better, and whatever you can build on your own as an Admin takes precedence. But I also get that when you’re new to Salesforce, the right apps can ease your workload while helping you get more familiar with the ecosystem.

That’s where the AppExchange comes in. Feel free to skim what’s available, so that once your initial configurations are done, you already have an idea of which tools can make life easier. Just keep in mind that you’re only browsing! Don’t install anything yet, not without tackling #4.

4. Learn how to create a Sandbox

I’ve been an admin for 3 years, and it took longer than I care to admit to get on the sandbox ship. But this is one case where I’m telling you: don’t be like me, gang. Otherwise, you risk getting too comfortable building and testing stuff in production….and that’s a reaaal slippery slope!

If you don’t know, a sandbox is a lesser version of your real Salesforce instance – intended for testing and experimentation. Here’s how to set one up. (Hint: you’ll definitely want one to test out those Appexchange add-ons, before installing them to your real instance.)

5. Get familiar with formula fields

The more Salesforce skills you can develop early on, the better. But if I had to pick a starting point, it’s formula fields!

Why? Formula fields are a lite way of “automating” your system. You can create so many different things with the right know-how: calculations, countdowns based on dates, combine multiple fields into one, status indicators, and more. The logic for Salesforce formulas isn’t all that different from Excel, so if you have those skills, they definitely transfer!

Happy Admin-ing

As a next step, check out my list of top resources for nonprofit Salesforce admins here.

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