Choosing the right Salesforce administrator for your organization is critical because the administrator is the most important role in making your CRM implementation a success.

admin

From our experience the role of the administrator for a small organization is not necessarily a full-time position. In the initial stages of the implementation, the role will require more concentrated time (about 50 percent of a full time position). After going live, managing Salesforce CRM day to day will require much less time (about 10-25 percent).

Here are some qualities to look for in an administrator:

 

It doesn’t need to be an “IT person”

Software as a service (SaaS) makes system administration much easier than it was with traditional software. Setting up, customizing the application, maintaining it, training users, and “turning on” the new features that become available with each release—all are just a few clicks away.

Although your administrator does not need have programming skills, but it could be an advantage, s/he should have:

  • A solid understanding of your business processes
  • Knowledge of the organizational structure and culture to help build relationships with key groups
  • Excellent communication, motivational, and presentation skills
  • The desire to be the voice of the user in communicating with management
  • Analytical skills to respond to requested changes and identify customizations
  • Outstanding project management skills

 

Training and Certification

It is always good to have proven professionals on staff. A certified administrator will mean a faster implementation and better use of Salesforce. If you cannot find a certified administrator or if you have a potential administrator for your organization that does not have any formal training, invest in him/her!

Training and certification will insure that your administrator has the knowledge and confidence to take full advantage of Salesforce. Find the right person for the job and continue to invest in that person’s professional development.

Salesforce certified administrator

What should an administrator do?

Here is just a sample of relevant duties:

1. Administration

  • Continuing customization and development
  • User maintenance
  • Database de-duping and cleanup
  • Development of reports and dashboards
  • Ongoing documentation
2. Training
  • Develop and implement training for users
  • Keep materials up-to-date
  • Communicate future Salesforce releases and enhancements

3. Grow

  • Design and manage ongoing development of the system to meet the organization’s mission.

4. Manage Vendors

  • Managed outsourced Salesforce implementation partners and ongoing relationships with Salesforce employees.

 

Cannot find the right person?

Cloud for Good can help you with your remote administration program. Contact us today to talk about the advantages of outsourcing your Salesforce administration to Cloud for Good.

 

 

Well… it depends.  

It depends on your needs, the complexity of your business process, your data, the number of staff to be trained etc. We receive a number of inquiries every week for Salesforce and Google Apps implementations; many of them do not contain enough information for us to respond.  

To expedite the process of finding your ideal technology partner and to receive an accurate proposal you should create a request for proposal (RFP). This comprehensive document should contain all the project’s requirements. There is no standardized or absolute format for an RFP; however, it should be structured in a manner that best conveys all aspects of your project to potential vendors.  

RFP 

I would like to share a few tips with you that, from our experience, will help improve the response rates to your RFP:  

1. Do your homework  

You might never be able to debate the merits of Apex code (the programming language that executes on the Force.com platform) and that’s Okay. However, before you write the RFP, figure out what you want and what is possible; reach out to other nonprofits in your sector, consult with volunteers and board members, and read related publications.  

2. Introduce your organization   

Include a brief introduction of your organization’s mission, and detailed information about the programs/constituents/organizations you need to track and manage.  

3. What is the nature of your project? What are your needs? What are the expected outcomes?   

While you answer these questions in your RFP, make sure to also include the project goals, including your current pain points. Remember, each department might have different goals and pain points. For example: “Difficulties tracking programs’ graduates” or “Unable to track volunteer’s registration”.  

Additionally, state where you want to be as a result of the project, for example: “Build and maintain long-term relationships with valuable donors by creating personalized experiences across all touch-points and by anticipating donor needs and providing customized offers.”   

4. Yes, we need to know your budget  

Always include your budget. You may be thinking that you should not disclose your budget because it does not leave a place for price negotiations, I disagree. A budget estimate would allow me, as a technology provider, to evaluate if we are a good fit. Furthermore, it will show me that you are serious about the project, aware of its complexity (you did your homework!), and that you have the budget to execute it.  Here is what you should not do: don’t create your project’s budget based on the proposals you received.  

 5. You should have a timeline  

“We would like to have this project done as soon as possible” – this is the second most common answer I receive when I ask a client “what is your timeline for the project?” The most common answer is “two years ago”.  A lack of timeline indicates to us that the potential client did not do any preparation and/or that the organization does not have a budget approved for the implementation.   

Your timeline should indicate at least the deadline for choosing the vendor, a date for the beginning of the discovery, and the date you would like to have the solution fully implemented.  

6. Distinguish between need and want  

Indicate what your most urgent needs are, what is important to have, and what would be nice to have in a world with no budgetary restrictions.  

For example: 
  • Must to have: Know why key donations are lost
  • Important: Accomplish administrative tasks more easily
  • Nice to have: Capture donations from the website

  

7. Additional helpful information: 
  • Define key aspects of your processes and diagram the process flow.
  • Identify some fields associated with your processes.
  • Decide which reports you need.
  • What database(s) do you currently use?  How long have you been using it? How many records do you have? Is your data accurate? Is it clean?
  • How many people will use the new system? How many are using it now? Will other people need access to information (board members, volunteers, students…)?

    

Ready? Contact us to schedule a time to talk about your needs.   

Building and cultivating relationships with donors, volunteers, or students is a critical task for nonprofit organizations and higher education institutions.  Email is (still) one of the most common communication vehicles for marketing and development departments. It can help your organization communicate with current and prospective constituents and in a highly personalized and cost-effective manner.

I often have conversations with our Salesforce clients about the best way to send email blasts. Should they use the native Salesforce CRM capabilities or a specialized email marketing application from the AppExchange?

Native Salesforce Mass Emails

  • Cost: Salesforce allows you to send a mass email message to a recipient list that consists of contacts, leads, person accounts, or users you can view in Salesforce at no additional cost.
  • Volume: Enterprise edition users (all nonprofit organizations who received the product donation) can send a maximum of 500 external email addresses per day at no additional cost.
  • Recipients:  You can mass email both Leads and Contacts, however, you will need to use separate blasts.
  • Email Sender:  The “from” email field is automatically generated with the sending user’s email address. It is not possible to manipulate this address or change it (you cannot send it on behalf of your CEO without workarounds).
  • Templates: You can create three types of email templates in Salesforce: text, HTML (with and without letterhead), and Visualforce. Text and HTML with letterheads templates are very easy to create, but have a very limited design capability. Visualforce email templates allow for advanced merging with a recipient’s data, where the content of a template can contain information from multiple records in Salesforce; this is a very powerful tool.
  • Tracking: It is possible to track an HTML email sent from Salesforce. You can only track the date it was first opened, the number of times it was opened, and the date it was most recently opened.
  • Whitelist: This might be the last item on this list; however, it might be the most important one. Salesforce mass emails are not whitelisted. This means that your email might end up in the recipient’s spam folder.

 

AppExchnage Email Marketing Solutions

 

If your needs are more complex than the native mass email capabilities, the AppExchange is the place for you. The AppExchange is a collection of cloud computing applications, all of which are pre-integrated with Salesforce.  Many of the mass email applications will allow you to build segmented lists, create and distribute customized email templates, and track post-drop activity, all from within Salesforce.

While deciding which application is right for your organization, we recommend considering the following:

  • Volume:  You need to consider how many contacts and leads are in your list. How many email blasts will you have every month?
  • Opt-in/out Management: A good application will have the ability for users to opt-out from a specific list or from your entire mailing list.
  • Reporting and Tracking:  Includes tools to evaluate campaign success with key results in real-time. Many applications include custom Salesforce reports and dashboards.
  • Social Media: Instantly share your email message on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
  • Templates: Ability to simply create template-based emails with an easy to use wizard.
  • Pricing: Every provider has their own pricing system which makes it very difficult to compare between vendors. Some base their prices on volume, the amount of emails that you send, and some offer bulk discounts. While you should always do your own analysis of price, here is an alphabetized short list of vendors with discounted prices for nonprofit organizations and at list a decent Salesforce integration:

 

ExactTarget LogoNonprofit organizations receive a 50% discount, each email costs 15 cents. It is not easy to get a price quote from them; it took us 4 days to find the relevant person because they don’t publish this information on their website. Let us know if you are interested and we will make the introduction for you. For more information check out their AppExchange Listing and a short demo.

iContact Logo Eligible nonprofit organizations can receive a 20% discount. Click here for complete price details. For more information check out their AppExchange Listing and a short demo.

Vertical Response - LogoNonprofit organizations are eligible for 10,000 free email sends per month and additional email credits at a 15% discount. Click here for complete price details. For more information check out their AppExchange Listing and a short demo.

Conclusion

I recommend using the AppExchnage solutions for regular email blasts such as e-newsletters. The Salesforce Mass Email feature can be used for emails like donor recognition, membership reminders, and acceptance/rejection letters.

Still not sure? Comment to ask questions.

Google

  1. The Gmail Labs “Undo Send” button saved me many times, however, until recently I had only 5 seconds to undo sending a message. Google just added new increments: 10 seconds, 20 seconds and now 30 seconds.
  2. Free phone calls, yes free. Google is now offering free phone calls from Gmail to anywhere in the US and Canada! Phone calls will be free “for at least the rest of the year”. I have been using it and I love it!

Online Community

  1. However, free phone calls are not a good reason to abandon other channels.J I really liked Debra Askanase’s post about Designing Social Media Engagement.
  2. Just remember, though, that your engagement should include great contact so here are 20 fantastic content ideas for your online community.
  3. Additionally, as Debra explains, you need to determine the appropriate online spaces and channels. While doing that get your nonprofit started with YouTube and make sure to claim your nonprofit places page on Facebook.
  4. And most importantly, measure your social media outcomes and analyze your website traffic. Here is a great article from NTEN about improving your site’s bounce rate.
  5. Google Grant’s blog has a few good suggestions on how to convert your website visitors into donors.
  6. Finally, I think that all you twitter fans will love this short vide where a giant bird takes over Twitter’s following list:

Salesforce

  1. Force.com labs have been very busy recently, with lots of good activity. Specifically, check out: Social Salesforce using LinkedIn Company Insider, Find Nearby, and Birthday Emailer.

July NPTech Gems

Facebook

1.     Does your organization have a social media strategy? If you have ever considered creating one (and you should) you need to read this great post about NTEN’s social media strategy and why you should follow your gut.

2. Finally a decent welcome tab creator for Facebook! Pagemodo is a service that simply allows you to create a ‘Welcome’ or ‘About Us’ tab for your Facebook page without any FBML knowledge. I used their generator to create my  company’s Facebook page and found it very easy to use and install. Let me know if you add it your Facebook Page!

3.     After you create your organization’s welcome tab upgrade your personal profile. Check out this new tool and turn your Facebook profile picture into a video.

4.     By the way, Facebook will remain free forever.

Websites and Blogs

5.     What do your website visitors really want? In this post (also from NTEN) the writer divides your visitors to strangers, friends, and fans. I love this approach.

6.     What should you write about? 10 Blog Content Ideas for Nonprofit Organizations.

White Papers and Guides

7.     Online Fundraising Best Practices from Convio (by the way, we are a Convio implementation partner now!)

8.     The Idealware Nonprofit Social Media Decision Guide

Salesforce

9.     A busy month for the Salesforce Lab team, check out their 15 most recent app updates.

10.  Force Monkey wrote a great post about Salesforce and Microsoft Outlook Integration.

A new version of the Salesforce Non-Profit Starter Pack Affiliation object has been released with the ability to turn off the automatic creation of Affiliations.

A new tab was added that enables control of the Affiliations so that they are not created automatically. When you upgrade your package, the behavior will not change, unless you turn it off.

Install link: http://foundation.force.com/packages/affiliations

Documentation: http://wiki.developerforce.com/index.php/Nonprofit_Starter_Pack_Affiliations

Release Notes: http://wiki.developerforce.com/index.php/Nonprofit_Starter_Pack_Affiliations_Release_Notes

Affiliations Settings Tab

iphone-june

This month’s round-up includes tips for improving your organization’s Facebook page, measuring your social networks effectiveness, an introduction to Salesfroce Chatter, and a few good tips for writing an email. I am also including good tools from Google that may help you consider moving to the “cloud”. And there is a fun surprise at the end 🙂

  1. Everybody is on Facebook (did you Join Cloud for Good on Facebook?), but how do you create a Facebook presence? Debra Askanase, Community Organizer 2.0, has five good tips. Her bottom line is: get creative, collaborate, and be aggressive.
  2. However, attracting new fans is not enough. What Does Your Facebook Funnel Look Like? Here are a few good ways to measure the effectiveness of your online communications?
  3. Salesforce.com’s Chatter is here and everybody is talking (and writing) about it. It is definitely number 1 in my Top 5 Salesforce.com Summer ’10 Release Features.
  4. Here is a post that I would really like to forward to a few colleagues (and family members), it’s called “I don’t have time to read your email”. We all know that this is a very painful issue! She has a few good tips to help improve your organization’s newsletter.
  5. Google released many new features this month, however, my favorite one is the ability to try Google Docs without a Google Apps account. They made my life easier! Explaining Google Docs can be a challenging task: they have great video tutorials but people need to “play” with it in order to really understand “real time collaboration” and “the cloud”. Google launched a new site that allows users to try full-fledged versions of its word processor, spreadsheet, and drawing tool without a Google account.
  6. Still not sure why you should move to the cloud? Google created the Go Google cloud calculator that lets you explore your potential savings in an easy-to-understand way. I love it!
  7. With your extra time you can play some vintage video games online, like Supper Mario and the King’s Quest.