Top 3 Feature Improvements for Nonprofits in the Spring ’14 Salesforce Release

Three times a year, rolls out new features to its users. Most of these new features are enabled automatically (you don’t have to do anything!). Although there are some new features that are optional, and therefore have to be enabled by your System Administrator.

If you’re new to the releases, here’s a quick FAQ on new releases:

How do I know when a new release has been rolled out in my instance of Salesforce?

Salesforce Spring Release for Nonprofits

Unless you’re using a custom logo, you'll see a new icon on the top left when you log in to Salesforce. For Spring ’14, it’s cherry blossoms. You'll also see the orange "Discover Spring ‘14” link on the top right side of your homepage. If you click that link, it will take you to additional resources like videos and the Release Notes, letting you know what’s new. Here’s a link to the Spring ’14 Release Notes.

I work for a nonprofit, and the release notes talk about a lot of features that don’t apply to me. How do I know which features are most exciting for nonprofits?

You can always come and check out KELL Labs, or visit other nonprofit community resources to see what other nonprofits are saying. The Foundation also hosts a webinar for each release, where they show examples of the new features along with use cases for nonprofits.

We attended the Foundation’s webinar and took some notes so you don’t have to. Here are our favorite features from Spring ’14 that nonprofits can use:

Read more: Top 3 Feature Improvements for Nonprofits in the Spring ’14 Salesforce Release

3 Reasons Why Nonprofits Should Attend Dreamforce ‘14

Dreamforce? It’s April. Why are we talking about Dreamforce already? Because if you wait until registration opens it may be too late to work it in to your organization’s travel budget and planning. This year, Dreamforce is scheduled for October 13-16 and as always, it’s in San Francisco. Every year, Salesforce offers deeply discounted registration to nonprofit organizations.

Here are three of the great reasons a nonprofit should plan to attend:

  1. Learn what your CRM can do right now. You might think you’re pretty comfortable in Salesforce. You get around day-to-day, run reports and update dashboards and it doesn’t seem nearly as overwhelming as it used to. Truth is, I’ve been using Salesforce since 2006 and hold 3 certifications and I still learn something new almost every time I click the Help & Training link. You may not think you need to know anything about lead scoring, customizable forecasting or opportunity products because you’re a nonprofit – but what about moves management, budget planning and managing earned income?

    Read more: 3 Reasons Why Nonprofits Should Attend Dreamforce ‘14

Meet Our Superheroes: Samantha Higdon

We have a fabulous team at KELL Partners – some may call us geeks, [and we’re ok with that] but we like to call our team members superheroes. This regular series will highlight a KELL team member. This post will focus on one of our Project Managers, Samantha Higdon.

KELL Partners Samantha HigdonWhat’s your favorite thing about working with nonprofits?

My absolute favorite thing about working with nonprofits are the passionate, hardworking people who work for them. Nonprofit professionals are multi-hat wearing, experts in just about everything. I am fortunate that I get to witness these folks in action, and see the mark they are leaving on the world.

Do you volunteer with any nonprofits? Why those organizations?

I currently volunteer with the Breast Cancer Resource Centers of Texas, an organization dedicated to providing education, support, and resources to those diagnosed with breast cancer. I began working with BCRC six years ago because know how difficult a cancer diagnosis can be for a family. I saw the true impact that BCRC’s mission has in the community and I couldn’t help but jump right in.

I am also featured in the Tobacco Prevention’s Coalition’s “Live Tobacco-Free Austin Campaign.” Their ad series, Real Tobacco Stories, features people who have lost loved ones to lung cancer. I volunteered to tell my story in hopes that it would encourage Texans to quit smoking.

Read more: Meet Our Superheroes: Samantha Higdon

5 Questions Nonprofits Ask About How Salesforce Data Storage Works

The way data storage works in Salesforce can be a little confusing for some of our clients. Below are 5 of the most common questions our clients ask us about how it works with their Salesforce instance.

1. What counts towards storage?

Salesforce storage is divided into two categories: file storage and data storage.

  • File Storage includes files in attachments, the Documents tab, the Files tab, the File field, Salesforce CRM content, Chatter (including user photos) and assets.
    • Common files are documents, pictures, presentations, spreadsheets, and PDFs.
    • Think of File Storage like a hard drive.

Read more: 5 Questions Nonprofits Ask About How Salesforce Data Storage Works

4 Ways a Implementation is Like Remodeling a Kitchen

If you have never implemented a new database system from scratch, or migrated from one to another, you might find yourself thinking that it ought to be a fairly simple and straightforward process. After all, all the pieces are already there, and all you really need to do is import your data and log in – right? Well, not really.

We like to use analogies at the Lab, so we’ll stick with the kitchen one we've used before. Completing a implementation (whether it’s a brand new system or making modifications to an existing one) is a lot like rebuilding your kitchen. You know that your current kitchen has issues – perhaps your family has outgrown it, or there’s not enough storage, or the cabinets are so old that your dinner guests think they've wandered onto the Brady Bunch set. And you know that your new kitchen will be amazing – making your whole house seem bigger and brighter and more efficient, giving you amazing super-chef powers, and turning Alice’s meatloaf into an epic culinary delight.

But at the same time -- you’re replacing every appliance, the countertops, the cabinetry, maybe even the electrical work and plumbing. And yes, you may get a few surprises along the way – that hidden water leak you didn't know about, or the 20-year old termite damage the previous owner didn't mention and you didn't budget for. It can be a lot of work, and it creates both stress and a LOT of dust -- so much that at times you’ll most likely start having second thoughts.

Read more: 4 Ways a Implementation is Like Remodeling a Kitchen

How to Move Your Configuration from a Sandbox to Production Using Change Sets

In my previous Labs post, I explained why you should use Salesforce sandboxes to test configurations, train new users and test permissions without impacting your live data. But what happens after you’ve built something in a sandbox, tested it, and you’re ready to make it live? Do you have to manually rebuild it in your live Salesforce instance?

Luckily, the answer is no. There is a point-and-click feature in Salesforce called Change Sets that you can use to move everything easily from a sandbox into production in just a few minutes.

A change set is a group of configuration elements that can be transferred between instances of Salesforce. They can include things like Fields, Page Layouts, Record Types, Profiles, Roles, Sharing Rules, Workflow Rules, Reports, Validation Rules, and even Apex Classes and Triggers. For a complete list, view this help article.

Read more: How to Move Your Configuration from a Sandbox to Production Using Change Sets

Meet Our Superheroes: Eric Dayton

We have a fabulous team at KELL Partners – some may call us geeks, [and we’re ok with that] but we like to call our team members superheroes. This regular series will highlight a KELL team member. This post will focus on one of our Project Managers, Eric Dayton.

KELL Partners Eric DaytonWhat’s your favorite thing about working with nonprofits?

My favorite thing is when the work I do helps a nonprofit worry less about the process behind their work, so they have more time to focus on doing what they do best. I hope the work I do builds the capacity of the nonprofit, so they can ultimately help more people despite all the challenges that nonprofits face today (like constantly shrinking resources).

Do you volunteer with any nonprofits? Why those organizations?

I've volunteered for a lot of different nonprofits, but my favorite causes work in international development in sub-Saharan Africa. My two favorite experiences have been serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA for a year in Phoenix, AZ, and volunteering at an orphanage in Soweto, Johannesburg, South Africa in 2010. After recently moving to Austin, I am still searching for my ideal nonprofit to volunteer with.

Read more: Meet Our Superheroes: Eric Dayton

Why Your Nonprofit Should Use a Salesforce Sandbox

Once you’re up-and-running in Salesforce, it’s always best practice to make certain types of configuration changes in a sandbox first. In this post, I’ll walk you through a few big questions that our clients ask about sandboxes, and by the end, you’ll be ready to start working in your own Salesforce sandbox.


What is a sandbox?

There are multiple types of sandboxes, but generally speaking, a sandbox is a copy of the configuration (tabs/object, fields, page layouts, reports, etc.) of your organization’s Salesforce instance that you can use to test things without having an impact on your live data.


Read more: Why Your Nonprofit Should Use a Salesforce Sandbox

The Salesforce Report That Every Nonprofit Should Read

The Salesforce Report That Every Nonprofit Should Read

Today Idealware released their new report, The Landscape of Salesforce for Nonprofits: A Report on the Current Marketplace for Apps, and we’re pretty excited about it at KELL. Scratch that. We are beyond excited about it…we’re shouting from the rooftops ecstatic about it.

So what’s the big deal about this report you ask? Well for starters, it’s never been done before. Other reports focus on donor and constituent management systems and have tried to place Salesforce in a bucket that it quite frankly doesn’t belong in. This new report only looks at Salesforce and then drills down into all the various ways nonprofits can utilize available apps in an easy-to-understand format and using non-technical terms that you can actually understand.

We heart Salesforce, but we’re the first to admit that Salesforce can be a little daunting if you’re new to it or not sure where to go with it once you’ve implemented your system. But it doesn’t have to be that way. That’s what makes this report so great. No matter when you are in your process, whether you are just starting to look into Salesforce or wanting to know how you can take it further, you’ll find answers to your questions in it.

Now what it won’t do is tell you things like “if your nonprofit wants to utilize a peer-to-peer donation app, then you need to go with XYZ product.” The reason being is that the right product for one nonprofit might not be the right one for another. Everyone nonprofit is different and your Salesforce instance will be different as well.

Since everything is constantly evolving, we expect that this report will be the beginning of what we foresee will be the must-read report series for any nonprofit that uses Salesforce.

So without further ado, click here to download the report and see for yourself just how great it really is.


The Importance of the Salesforce ID

Did you know Salesforce actually has two unique IDs for every record? Yep. There’s a 15 character and an 18 character. Rumor has it the 18 character ID was introduced after Microsoft created a 16 character ID for their records ;-)

But seriously… these IDs are super important. They’re totally unique to each instance of salesforce. They appear in the URL of the page, making it super easy to email someone a link to a specific record, or report, and most importantly they ensure the integrity of your data.

So why are there two?

To be honest we’re not exactly sure, but we’ve learned how important it is to use the right ID for the right purpose.

In the main Salesforce interface, you typically only see the Salesforce 15 digit ID. This ID is case sensitive which means that 003i000000NYZrg isn't the same record as 003i000000nYZRg. However, if you export the results of a report to Excel and try and do comparisons between different lists using this ID as the comparison (e.g. using VLOOKUP), you'll have a lot of problems.

To get around this problem, Salesforce has an internal 18 digit ID that Excel will see as completely different fields. Here's how you create a formula that has that 18 digit ID that you can add to your reports and avoid headaches in Excel.


The 15 Digit ID

The Importance of the Salesforce ID


Read more: The Importance of the Salesforce ID


  • App Focus

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    A look inside KELL and at our fabulous team of superheroes.

  • Best Practices

    Our clients ask a lot of great questions! They want their Salesforce data to provide answers. It's our job to make the technology provide the answers quickly and efficiently. These solutions have helped us to develop hundreds of best practice solutions for nonprofits using Salesforce.