Send your donors (contact records only) a tax receipt at the beginning of the new year listing all of last year’s donations. For Salesforce Nonprofit Success Pack users, this unmanaged package will generate a table for each donor listing the gifts they made last year. Use your own email to send a tax receipt by email. The table lists the amount, date and, optionally, the campaign name of each donation.
Before the proverbial ink dried on the first article on why you shouldn’t Salesforce volunteer at a nonprofit, I could already sense the exceptions the community would raise that I didn’t have the time to address. The Salesforce Trailblazer Community, after all, is made up of passionate tech nerds who have a keen eye in finding exceptions to things. It’s in our nature since we have to sniff out those nuances to be great at what we do.
Folks sent in anecdotes, counter-points, and personal stories about how their experiences were mutually beneficial and what I put out there was a disservice to the nonprofit world. My opinion is that those experiences are the exception, and don’t reflect the greater trend of nonprofits that are harmed when a volunteer is only using them to get experience.
Nevertheless, there is merit in the exceptions raised. So, this follow-up aims to address those exceptions, and clarify when it is a good idea to Salesforce volunteer at a nonprofit.
First, go through this checklist before you ever touch a nonprofit’s Salesforce instance:
Answer: Why do you want to volunteer at this nonprofit? What is about their mission that resonates with you?
If you answered “it doesn’t matter, I just want to gain experience,” then read this article. Come back when your answer is clearer.
1. You have an experienced mentor willing to help and/or they have a Salesforce admin on staff.
This is the best case scenario that covers two pain points that many in the community have echoed.
Having someone senior by your side to sanity check your strategy, thoughts and deliverables ensures that what you build is actually useful and will be used by the org. This mentor should be someone in the NPSP community.
Having someone on staff not only signals the nonprofit’s investment in the project, but also serves as your single point of contact so that you’re not spinning your wheels chasing down answers when you could be building an amazing solution instead.
The bottom line is that expectations are key. If people don’t have a skill in something, they shouldn’t use nonprofit resources to attain that skill, but if they do it carefully with help from those who know what they are doing (hub, or a mentor), it can be helpful.
I actually feel that volunteering your time towards a non profit is a great way to learn Salesforce. With that said, I absolutely DON’T think that a new person should be doing an implementation especially without direct guidance. If someone is new to Salesforce and are volunteering their time to a non profit the non profit should either have a dedicated Salesforce admin on staff that the volunteer reports to, or the volunteer should be matched with an experienced mentor at a consulting firm who can dedicate the time to ensuring they are successful.
Tip: Make sure all changes are documented and accessible, because they will have follow-up questions. That leads me to my next point.
2. You’re available to unpretzel your mistakes.
If you’re in it for the long haul with this nonprofit, then you’ll be around to help troubleshoot, train, and make sure the users are set up for success. Eventually, they’ll find mistakes, want more functionality, and have general questions. If you’re not around indefinitely to help, make your time commitment clear from the beginning and ensure all parties agree to this before starting any work.
Set a deadline for reviewing if it’s working and evaluate its success (ie. in 3 months we will sit down and review progress). Open-ended is usually a recipe for problems. The volunteer should make a 6-month commitment for a specified number of hours each week/month. If they can’t make that commitment for that length of time, then they shouldn’t do it.
Tip: Keep the project very simple — define the engagement as setting up NPSP to track fundraising. Or setting up volunteer management. Nothing fancy.
3. They approach you and are explicitly and specifically asking for help.
You still need to tread lightly here. In my experience, most users aren’t aware of what they’re asking for, let alone nonprofits who are diving into the world of Salesforce NPSP for the first time. The worst case scenario here is the blind leading the blind with the best of intentions.
The nonprofit needs help but doesn’t have clear requirements or a strategy, and the volunteer is willing to help but is inexperienced. That is a big hot mess waiting to happen.
I generally tell people that want to go this route to pick a nonprofit that has existing infrastructure and can support an intern or a volunteer, then ask politely.
Otherwise, I tell people to start with the PTA in their local public school. It is an easy nonprofit that a lot of people have access to — particularly people with children. Approach the school’s PTA board, ask them how they track fundraising, see what they say, and if they say Excel or something like it, suggest that maybe you can help with this thing called Salesforce that is free for up to 10 users for them. The PTA is always my go to for this type of self-serving learning on the job because odds are the PTA will take all the help they can get, they won’t move to anything permanent as the stakeholders are continuously changing on PTAs, and hopefully whatever comes of it is helpful.
Don’t forget your own mental health when jumping to help a nonprofit. You can’t pour water from an empty glass, and overcommitting even with the best of intentions can ultimately be tough on everyone. If you find yourself desperate for work experience, try to find your own center before reaching out. People can generally sense your emotional state and being frantic can put off other people.
Tip: Spend 90% of your volunteer time having conversations with the team, and 10% on building the solution. Dig into what business pain they’re trying to solve, and what success looks like for them. Be diligent to help paint a picture of how you can help transform the way they work.
Other options to gain experience
Go through a volunteer platform where the nonprofit knows what they’re getting themselves into. Here, they have a deeper sense of what they need and are specifically making a call out to the community for help. Go help!
“Here is the use case: sending a family of a deceased relative one letter with all the names of people who have donated in memoriam. So, one letter to the family for many people who gave. Client is a large hospice so this is happening weekly. Open to different options — apps? exports & merge? other? Thanks!”
Broad use case: Use the new Collection Sort feature in Flow to find a specific number of records that meet your criteria, and sort them with one or more criteria (criterion?)
Example use cases: I want my top 3 open opps to have a giant dollar sign image on them or I want to automatically nudge/shame the five users who logged in least last month or I want to focus a campaign on my most active volunteers in the summer.
Our specific case: I want to look at a contact record in Nonprofit Success Pack and see immediately that they are one of my top ten donors.
On Tuesday, I gave a webinar with 4 tips to improve your online fundraising. Tip #3: “Thoughtfully set up recurring gifts.” Well, “thoughtfully” means two things: 1) with a lot of thought and 2) “with consideration for the needs of other people.” (Google’s English Dictionary). I meant both.
When the Trump’s campaign set up their donation pages with WinRed, they used deceptive design techniques to trick people into recurring and multiple gifts, says The New York Times. According to Harry Brignull, a user-experience designer quoted in the article, “the Trump team’s techniques were a classic of the ‘deceptive design’ genre. ‘It should be in textbooks of what you shouldn’t do,’ he said.”
In the webinar I suggested that organizations test out defaulting to recurring gifts to see how that works for them. One of my colleagues who has thoroughly studied the success of online fundraising efforts advised me against straight out recommending organizations default to recurring because it really depends on the donor base.
This post is building on the work of the super-smarty Narender Singh aka ForcePanda aka @Nads_P07. With Spring ’21 rich text emails, you can now send tables with lists of child objects.
I followed his tutorial and built two flows specifically using Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP) objects. The first one is a list of payments and the second is a list of completed volunteer activities. I’ll blog about the second one later. Also on the to-do list is to make one that lists all the gifts received in memory or in tribute to someone else.
“I am trying to set up an autolaunched flow to remove Opportunity Contact Roles from open opportunities with deceased contacts. (For example, we are soliciting a major gift from a couple, and one of them passes away before the donation is received.) I have successfully configured a process to remove the deceased contact from acknowledgement for that gift when it comes in, but for the sake of clean data I would like to also automatically remove their OCR from the opportunity record. I am coming up with ‘unhandled faults’ and hoping since this is only my 2nd flow ever that someone will be able to see an obvious error with my configuration.
Both years I’ve attended NPSP we’ve had incredible weather so the idea of a unhandled sunshine error is not applicable to this magical day.
MOOD of the room: Excited, happy, energized, grateful to be part of this amazing supportive community.
KUDOS: Ryan Ozimek and Katie Fadden are delightful facilitators! Megan and everyone at 501 Commons pulled this off flawlessly the day after Give Big! Congrats to Crystal on the birth of her new baby girl! So much !!!
STRAIGHT TALK: In this segment of the programming, we brought the elephant to the center of the room and talked about the .org acquisition. As a .org employee, I just want to make it clear that the opinions below are those of other folks who attended, some of which I might share, but they by no means reflect any official stance of Salesforce:
We want .org or .com to say “IT’S GOING TO BE OKAY. YOU DON’T NEED TO WORRY.”