It’s hard to believe that this year will be my 5th Dreamforce. The newbie outsider feeling I had in 2010 still feels fresh sometimes, until I remember all the amazing resources and sessions for nonprofit admins that have been built up and prioritized since that time! The short version, repeat after me: you are not alone.
1. Small But Mighty
This phrase did not exist as a widely-used catchphrase in Dreamforce land 5 years ago. I was a part-time solo admin at a tiny nonprofit, and convinced my manager that it was a priority for me to attend Dreamforce. I distinctly remember attending several sessions that I was PSYCHED about when I read the session abstract, only to discover when I attended that the fancy functionality/application/business process being presented was custom built by a consultant at the cost of tens of thousands of dollars. I thought to myself, I thought the whole point of Saleforce for nonprofits was that it was supposed to be inexpensive? I know this tool can do more than I’m currently doing with it, but how do I find out what it can do?
Fast-forward to 2015, resources abound for the budget-conscious yet nimble Small and Mighty nonprofits, including a group in the Power of Us Hub, a podcast dedicated almost exclusively to issues relating to Small and Might nonprofits, and plenty of Dreamforce sessions to hone your skills as the sharpest, savviest Salesforce admin on the small nonprofit block. Salesforce itself is even friendlier than it used to be to the solo admin, especially with the introduction of Process Builder, new in winter ’15, which allows administrators to do a lot of cool button-click stuff that used to be reserved for custom development alone. And of course, there are a number of Dreamforce sessions on learning Process Builder and doing awesome, powerful things with it!
2. Power of Us Hub Comes to Life
Since its founding, the Power of Us hub has grown to be a vibrant, knowledgeable community of nonprofit and Salesforce professionals. I was a lurker on the old NPSP google group, mostly because I was so overwhelmed and intimidated by the format and never quite figured out how to jump in and ask questions, let alone answer anyone else’s. The Hub is a place to understand Salesforce better, learn about new and upcoming releases and patches to the NPSP and other nonprofit packages, and most of all, not feel totally alone in your work! Many of us who are solo admins or consultants don’t have coworkers who fully understand how we fill our days or what our struggles are – or can serve as colleagues to discuss issues with or bounce ideas off of. And Dreamforce is where all of those people show up, in person, to be real human beings, in the flesh! Hurray! They are there to share their knowledge through Dreamforce sessions, network, and learn. I can’t wait to see those I haven’t seen since last year, and connect with those I’ve never met in person.
3. 2015 Feels like the most Admin-Friendly DF Yet!
Wow, there are just so many resources and sessions for us administrators at Dreamforce, including sessions for beginner admins, solo admins, admins who want to learn code, other HOTs, live podcasts from the admin zone, dedicated Trailhead workshops, and more! The Admin Zone premiered at DF14 and I felt immediately at home (OK, the superhero posters and buttons might have helped a bit). Last year I got some great tips at the admin zone, including some on how to improve my end-user training that I still find useful. This year, there’s also a dedicated Admin Day (Thursday the 17th) and our own dedicated keynote.
You are not alone, administrators! See you at Dreamforce!