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Monthly Archives

October 2013

Scary emails from Salesforce: What action does a nonprofit need to take about whitelists?

By | CRM & Salesforce, Information Technology, Nonprofit Resources, Nonprofit Tech

If you get the emails that Salesforce sends out to systems administrators, you probably got a baffling email last week with the subject “Action Required: Whitelist All Salesforce IP Ranges to Prepare for Login Pools.”

dog-dude-wait-what
If you’re a normal person, your reaction was probably “Wait, what?”

First things first: the chances of small and mid-sized nonprofits needing to do anything about this email is very slim.  Check with whoever manages your IT and network, they’ll know what this email means and whether you should do anything.

But because the question has come up a couple of times, we figured we’d try to translate.  This isn’t really about Salesforce, but it’s a quick peek into the inner workings of the internet for the curious.

Inner workings of the Internet
Many of us don’t even bother with the address bar on our web browsers anymore – we just type in what we want and whatever search engine we use goes out and fetches it.  So these days you can type “salesforce” into the top address bar of your browser, and more or less go to the right web site.  If you’re old enough to read this blog post, you’re probably old enough to remember when you had to type in “www.salesforce.com” or “login.salesforce.com,” or type in “google.com” and go search for whatever you were looking for.  If you deal with web pages at all, you know that you have to find the URL (human readable name) of a web site in order to link to it.

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That human readable web address (URL) has some magic behind it.  When you type it into your address bar, your computer first talks to your local network, which talks out to the world, to find out how to translate “login.salesforce.com” into a unique IP address.  A unique IP address is just a string of numbers tied to a unique computer somewhere, like a telephone number is tied to only your phone.  How a request gets from your computer to a global computer to Salesforce servers, back to your computer, is pretty neat, actually, but we’ll trust you to read more on your own.

IP Address assignment in today’s day and age
In the very old days, you got one IP address per human-readable address.  Your own organization’s web site probably has only one IP address.  For massively busy and distributed (cloud) systems like Salesforce, or Google, what actually happens is that any of hundreds, or thousands, of different IP addresses can actually answer a request for “login.salesforce.com.”

Whitelisting Salesforce.com’s IP Addresses
So Salesforce is just expanding the number of computers that can answer a request for “login.salesforce.com.”   This never impacts most people.  However, if you are dealing with systems that have to be absolutely sure that “login.salesforce.com” isn’t coming from some evil hacker, you will get a list from Salesforce of what IP addresses are legit, and you’ll whitelist those IP addresses.  If you’ve done that, you need to expand your list soon.  That’s all this is about.

Is live hands-on training passé?

By | Nonprofit Resources, Our Services

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Given the huge amounts of video and webinar training available on the Internet, having a live instructor in a classroom is the exception to the norm. So when is it worth the time to leave work and sit in a classroom all day?

501Partners recently ran a Salesforce for Nonprofits Boot Camp session for fourteen nonprofit professionals. They came from a spectrum of agencies with a breadth of uses for the Salesforce platform. They took time to attend because integrating Salesforce into their organization is a vitally important decision. It’s also a process that requires an understanding of how the underlying structure of Salesforce creates a powerful engine to manage virtually all of their data across its entire life cycle.

TrainingSo, it’s worthwhile to invest time in classroom training when:

  • The subject matter addresses a wide spectrum of topics and processes
  • The subject matter allows a variety of approaches
  • The cost of pursuing incorrect approaches has far reaching implications
  • Understanding the complexities involved can be accelerated in a sandbox environment.
  • A concentrated, focused time frame creates more learning than disparate, short videos and webinars

While a classroom environment can’t be leveraged efficiently from the producer’s standpoint, the fact that people responded to the offer shows an ongoing demand for this type of learning. 501Partners will continue to offer the Boot Camp while refining the balance between our on-line learning resources and hands-on classroom teaching.

Click here to learn more about our next bootcamp

501Partners Does a Listening Tour of Local Nonprofits

By | CRM & Salesforce, Nonprofit Management, Nonprofit Tech

Listening

Over the last couple of months, I have been doing a “Listening Tour” of local nonprofits to learn more about how organizations are managing their data and the challenges they face. I’ve met with staff from 10 different nonprofits, ranging in size from 5-100 staff, and representing a variety of issue areas. I’ve heard the perspectives of program and development staff, as well as those in charge of managing the data for their organizations.
With such a spread in size and maturity, it’s no surprise that each organization handles data differently and uses a variety of systems. There was a huge range in the levels of sophistication, from the small organization that was mainly paper-based and tracked constituents on an Excel spreadsheet, to the organizations using the full extent of CRM software to manage most of their enterprise-wide data functions.

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Salesforce non-profit bootcamp

SalesForce Bootcamp for Nonprofits

By | CRM & Salesforce, Our Services

salesforce-nonprofit-bootcampThe Salesforce Foundation offers nonprofits consultants for implementation starting at $5,000.  For thousands of nonprofits, this is simply unaffordable.  To address this gap, 501Partners is implementing the Salesforce Bootcamp for Nonprofits.

Through a combination of hands-on training, expert coaching, live webinar and Help Desk support, the bootcamp enables these smaller nonprofits to get up and running very quickly.  Plus, each nonprofit participant can bring a second person to the program for no extra charge.

Here are the details
When:
Wed, Oct 23. 9am to 4pm
Where: Cambridge Innovation Center
Who should attend: Executive Directors, Development Staff, Admin Staff, Volunteer Coordinators or Program Directors
Event/Ticketing Website: http://salesforcebootcamp.eventbrite.com/

The Three Immutable, Immovable Laws of SalesForce: Law 2

By | CRM & Salesforce, Nonprofit Tech, Our Services
photo credit: steakpinball via photopin cc

photo credit: steakpinball via photopin cc

Law 2: Proof, Transparency and all the baggage that comes with

SalesForce is an incredible management tool. It can inform a manager with more information about their staff’s time/effort than they ever dreamed possible. It can bring a veritable renaissance of programmatic improvements and outcomes as well as the most transparency that your nonprofit has ever known. Wherein we find our double edge.

Repeat after me: Push Up.

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