My introduction to Salesforce came about five years ago, while I was working as a consultant for a small (by which I mean no staff) nonprofit. The Salesforce instance had been set up by a volunteer, Teri Walker, who is now a technology consultant for nonprofits and small businesses. It was clear from the beginning that even though the learning curve is steep, Salesforce offers all sorts of flexibility to adapt to the operations of any nonprofit.
Since then, I’ve used it every time I’ve worked with a nonprofit and I learn a lot–always on the fly–every time. Things I’ve learned:
–get a good consultant, experienced with nonprofits, to help with implementation–it will save a LOT of time
–join a nonprofit user group–there’s one in many communities, supported by the Salesforce Foundation
–take advantage of some of the many video tutorials offered by Salesforce–it’s a great way to learn
–if you can possibly swing it, go to the annual convention Dreamforce–they say it’s invaluable in learning about Salesforce and related resources
I’ve just recently learned about Apsona, another FREE add-on app that makes using the Salesforce nonprofit starter pack much easier and more versatile to use. Wish I had known about it all along–I learned about it at the Dallas Salesforce nonprofit user group, which meets monthly.
As nonprofit administrators, it’s incumbent on all of us to be good stewards of our organizations’ resources, including keeping up with advances in technology. One other great thing about Salesforce–they keep up with advances, almost automatically, so you don’t have to.