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Data Management

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Understanding What ‘Operational Capacity’ Means for Your Salesforce Project (Part 2 of 2): Managing Salesforce Throughout Its Lifecycle

By | 501Partners News, CRM & Salesforce, Data Management, Good Governance, Nonprofit Management, Nonprofit Resources, Nonprofit Tech, Operations and Development | No Comments

In our previous post, we introduced the idea of the organizational capacity model and the graph of decision variability over time that helps illustrate the idea. In this post, we take the same graph but break it down differently, to reflect a project’s lifecycle.

The first takeaway in this series is that knowing your current organizational capacity can help you align the type of Salesforce projects you pursue for optimal success. You can read about that in more detail here.

Takeaway Two: Your technology enforces your organization’s business processes, which puts a burden on your organization at the same time it offers efficiency gains.

Graph displaying decision variability over time
Everybody wants technology that fits them perfectly—technology that helps them do their work faster and better while alleviating pain points. When you adopt an enterprise system such as Salesforce, you have access to a powerful platform that can be made to automate just about any business process you can think of. In our ebook on the Data Maturity Model, we explain why that should be approached with some understanding of what your organization can support. In this post, we want to further explore the lifecycle of a Salesforce customization, and illustrate both the types of skills you may want to look for outside of your organization, and the tasks your organization should be prepared to take on for a healthy, well-maintained custom project.

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When Should You Automate in Salesforce?

By | 501Partners News, CRM & Salesforce, Data Management, Good Governance, Nonprofit Management, Nonprofit Resources | No Comments

…I have observed that people want the magic new thing more than they want improved management to fix problems. Managers need to carefully determine the areas in their business where new technology is the right choice and other areas where a back-to-basics management approach may be more effective.

- Temple Grandin, quoted in Tribe of Mentors by Timothy Ferris

Is Your Organization Truly Ready to Automate?

Nonprofits are in a unique position with their technology needs. With complex program delivery and ever-changing funder requests for new and different data, it is often a struggle to map an organization’s processes, let alone find the right technology to support those processes.

In my role as 501Partners’ senior solutions architect, I’ve had the opportunity to build or design dozens of interesting, complex technical solutions for a range of organizations using Salesforce. Needless to say, I’ve learned some important lessons along the way.

Lesson 1: Assess internal capacity. It’s critical to align internal capacity with technology selectionthis is so important that it became the subject of an entire ebook.

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The word Plan Action on two matching puzzle on orange background.

Understanding What ‘Operational Capacity’ Means for Your Salesforce Project (Part 1 of 2)

By | 501Partners News, Case Management, Data Management, Data Maturity, Nonprofit Management, Nonprofit Resources, Nonprofit Tech
501Partners often works with organizations who are trying to use their Salesforce implementation to help transform their operations. We’ve learned that our clients’ chances of success are dramatically improved when they are able to think about where their organization is in terms of operational and data maturity.

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Notes and Attachments—We Hardly Knew Ye! (Part 2)

By | CRM & Salesforce, Data Management, Nonprofit Resources, Nonprofit Tech, Salesforce News and App Reviews, Salesforce shortcuts and tips

In Part I of this blogpost I covered how the familiar Notes and Attachments related list is giving way to the new, separate Notes and Files objects in Salesforce.

In this post we’ll look at how to convert your existing Notes and Attachments to new Notes or Files. Whether you need to do this depends on how and how frequently you used these tools. Some of our clients are very conscientious about using Notes to update every interaction they have, and often report on these.

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Notes and Attachments—We Hardly Knew Ye! (Part 1)

By | Data Management, Nonprofit Tech, Salesforce News and App Reviews, Salesforce shortcuts and tips, User Management

Salesforce has been making noises since at least 2016 that the “Notes and Attachments” related list is not long for this world. With the Winter 2018 update, they are making good on this promise.

However, there’s no need to panic, as they are 1) allowing users to preserve all their existing notes and attachments; and 2) replacing “Notes and Attachments” with two full-fledged objects—“Notes” and “Files,” with the effect of vastly increasing the usefulness of these functions.

In this post I’ll be showing you how to activate and use the new objects and discuss the enhanced functionality.

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Managing the Departure of a User or a Super-User

By | Data Management, Nonprofit Tech, User Management

It’s never easy having a colleague leave your organization, but after you throw the party and eat the cake, be sure to take care of her Salesforce account. Accounts are valuable. You don’t want someone who is no longer there taking one up. Above all, for the sake of security, you don’t want someone who has no defined connection to your organization having access to your constituents’ names and giving histories.

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Play in the Sandbox for (Salesforce) Safety

By | CRM & Salesforce, Data Management

USE A SANDBOX TO AVOID COSTLY MISTAKES

Did you ever have one of those moments where you wished that your life had an “Undo” button?  Of course you did! Maybe it was when you did something stupid, or when you crumpled a fender trying to squeeze into a parking place. Clients often assume that Salesforce has one too, and they blunder ahead without fear. The bad news is that Salesforce does NOT have an Undo button. Why not? As an online platform, it really can’t: once a command is sent to the server in Seattle or Atlanta or Kuala Lumpur, one cannot retrieve it.

However, Salesforce does have something that’s just as good as an Undo button: it’s called a Sandbox. A Sandbox allows you to test out changes to your Salesforce without affecting your data. Once you get the Sandbox working, you can reproduce it in your organization’s Salesforce account (called Production) and Voila! You’ve created your own Salesforce Undo button.

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Think Like Einstein: Unlock Salesforce’s Capacity

By | CRM & Salesforce, Data Management

When I was a kid, one of the scientific-sounding myths that stuck with me was that the average human “only” employs 10% of their brain, while geniuses like Albert Einstein utilize up to 20%. If your organization is using Salesforce only as a development tool, you are only tapping into a very small percentage – perhaps only 10% – of your Salesforce capacity.

It is easy to forget that Salesforce is primarily a CRM (Constituent Relationship Manager). So many nonprofit users focus exclusively on its formidable suite of tools for tracking all types of financial transactions.

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Starting from the Finish Line: Structuring Your Salesforce Instance

By | CRM & Salesforce, Data Management

Using Salesforce successfully and efficiently long term depends on starting with a sturdy and adaptable structure. By strategically basing your Salesforce on your business processes, you can ensure proper and reliable data reporting and open a window into a high-level understanding of nonprofit organizational program outcomes, trends, financial benchmarks, and more. Building your Salesforce correctly requires capturing data with an eye to reporting on it, helping you achieve your nonprofit organization’s service and fundraising goals, and offering insights for organizational planning.

At 501Partners, we approach our clients’ Salesforce structure with the mantra, “Plan the beginning with the end in mind.” We are sharing five of our “pro tips” to structure your instance correctly at the beginning, so you spend less time adjusting your reports, and get what is most valuable out of it in the end. 

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The Cloud Doesn’t Always Have Your Back: Backing Up Your Salesforce Instance

By | CRM & Salesforce, Data Management

Effective Salesforce use is often as much about habits as it is about technology. Here’s a habit every time-strapped, cash-conservative nonprofit organization should develop sooner rather than later: backing up your work.

True story: when I was in graduate school, I had a big paper due to the end of the semester. Like most students, I waited untill the night before it was due. For hours, I sat typing away. As I  reached the final page, the lights in my apartment flickered. Power outage. The lights came back on, but you can guess what happened to my paper. I hadn’t saved any part of it along the way, so I paid the price of of re-typing the whole thing.

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