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Ms. Moore Goes to Dreamforce

Tuesday, November 4, 2014
by Courtney Moore, Member Services Manager
During the week of October 13-16, over 135,000 descended upon downtown San Francisco to attend Dreamforce, the annual conference held by Salesforce. With over 6,000+ nonprofits registered this year, 80+ breakout sessions, 55+ Circles of Success sessions, and another 30+ sessions at the Power of US Theater, Dreamforce has become the world’s largest nonprofit technology conference. 
Kim Snipes (ABAG), Allyson Goldhagen (PNY) and Courtney Moore (Forum) at the Nonprofit Engagement Party at Dreamforce.Representatives from almost every industry including nonprofits and philanthropy attended over 1,400 breakout sessions, several keynotes, expos of products, and training opportunities. Among them were representatives from five regional associations and the Forum. Congratulations are in order for Adrienne Clay who became a Certified Administrator! She is the first to become certified in the Forum Network. 
If you haven’t heard of Salesforce, the Forum and 22 other RAs use Salesforce as our association management system and 16 of us integrate it with our Drupal websites (find out more about our Drupal-Salesforce Platform). 
As a first time attendee, here were my key takeaways from the week:
Reports, reports, reports!
I haven’t spent a lot of time with reports at the Forum yet so I went to a lot of sessions about reports and dashboards. The sessions on custom report types and extending reports with buckets, cross filters and joined formats were two highlights. I also picked up a copy of the Reporting Workbook.
Train often and train on the why 
Users are more likely to enter data if they know why the data is important and train often on different aspects of Salesforce. I’m planning to steal Allyson’s idea at PNY of mini-trainings during each staff meeting. 
Remove barriers
To help grow user adoption in your organization, try to remove barriers as much as possible to get others to utilize and input data. I’m planning to simplify the Forum’s Engagement & Benefits records and look into email to Salesforce.
Think it through
Before adding a new field, object, action, or other feature think through what it will be used for, who will need to update it, how often it will need to updated, where you might already be capturing this information, and why you need it.
Join a User Group
There are over 200 users groups around the world. Your state or metro area most likely has one and some are focused on nonprofit users. Check out the full list.
DIY Troubleshooting
One of the useful handouts I picked up was during a short session from Conga Composer that highlighted some of the key troubleshooting steps you can take when building Conga templates. Check out a scanned copy. Our network is lucky to have our own users group through basecamp but a google search or search of the Salesforce Community can also help identify how other users of Salesforce have addressed a problem.
Free Apps
Here are some of the interesting apps mentioned during sessions plus they’re free:
  • Milestones PM- a project management tool 
  • Field Trip- See which fields you are and are not using 
  • Grid Buddy- Manage related data on one page in a spreadsheet like format 
  • Redhot News- News for accounts and contacts and can share via email or social networks
  • Graphics Pack- hundreds of images/icons
NCG has great new office space
After the official programming wrapped up, I stopped by Northern California Grantmaker to see their new office space. It’s in a convenient location near the Embarcadero and features great flexible meeting space to hold programming for their members. If you ever in San Francisco, consider stopping by for a visit! 
Of course, I wasn’t the only one taking notes. Here are a few key takeaways from my fellow attendees:
Myra Bickell, Northern California Grantmakers
Highlight the advantages - I went to a small group session on user adoption – how to encourage users to start using Salesforce.  The tip I got, which is I think the biggest Dreamforce takeaway is that to encourage adoption, identify tasks that people can do more easily in Salesforce, than the old school way. 
Kim Snipes, Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers
Nonprofit Starter Pack 3.0 - I am excited to start thinking about moving our group to the latest version of the Nonprofit Starter Pack (NPSP). Our customizations are built on top of the NPSP and there are some great updates on the way (seasonal address support!).
Native Dupe Blocking - While not generally available quite yet, the next major SF release should have what a lot of us have been waiting for – native Duplicate Blocking that is configurable with rules and criteria each of us can set in our own Salesforce instances.
Visual Workflow - This feature holds a lot of potential for our Salesforce work, especially since you can now trigger flows with workflow rules! Punchline - you can now create and update records via workflow rules, something you could previously only achieve with code (i.e. developers and $$).
They have already announced the dates for Dreamforce 2015, September 15-18 in San Francisco. If you think you might be interested in attending, mark your calendars!
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