Blog Posts

Raise Your Hands For Volunteers in Salesforce

This post speaks to an application that can assist you in enlisting and managing volunteers to support your events, activities, and programs.
Raise Your Hands For Volunteers in Salesforce

Raise Your Hands For Volunteers in Salesforce

We are living in an age of transformation, some good and even some not so good. My preference is to focus on the good, to me, it isthe positive that triumphs. Admittedly, transformation brings along challenges that seem insurmountable, but don’t tell that to the millions of people around the world facing them head-on by taking action. Strong, positive action. Many times individuals bring forth tremendous ideas, spawning programs or initiatives that reduce or solve the challenges, and many of these programs are driven by volunteers. 

“Your positive action combined with positive thinking results in success.” Shiv Khera

Volunteers are big contributors to the success of many organizations, programs, and initiatives focused on making this world a better place. Salesforce can help to manage funding, communications with prospects and donors, and events. Did you know Salesforce can also support you with volunteers? In fact, if you are running the current version of the Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP), you already have a solution installed. For others who may be using Salesforce without NPSP, don’t fret, because the same solution is available for free on the AppExchange. The application is “Volunteers for Salesforce” and it provides tools for managing your organization's volunteering program, from small to large. Let’s dive into this robust toolset and I will let you decide whether it may fit your needs.


But First, Some Background

Volunteers for Salesforce (V4S) is the work of David Habib, a software consultant who has been focused exclusively on the nonprofit sector and on creating applications on the Salesforce platform that are free for nonprofits, including V4S. Many thanks to David for his outstanding contribution to our community. As of 2016, it has been adopted and included in releases of the Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP) via and information can be found on the Power of Us hub.


What Can It Do For Me?

The following list contains some of the features of V4S:

  • Manage the volunteer jobs for your organization by helping to identify needs both filled and unfilled
  • Track the days, shifts, and hours a volunteer works
  • Track the skills and availability of your volunteers in order to match volunteers to needs
  • Display a calendar of jobs and shifts on your website that allows volunteers to sign up directly from the calendar
  • Send Reminder and Thank you emails

Where Do I Begin?

The best place to start is by learning all about the tool via the Trailhead module “Volunteers for Salesforce (V4S) Basics”, this is highly recommended for Nonprofits running NPSP who deal with volunteers on a regular basis. There you will learn how V4S utilizes a combination of standard (Contacts, Campaigns) and custom (Volunteer jobs, Volunteer shifts, Volunteer hours) objects in a well-organized and easy to understand data model structure. You will want to follow with the “Volunteer Management” module. This background will prove beneficial once you learn that the custom app “Volunteers” already exists in your instance. Wait, what? That’s correct, so head to Trailhead asap!



What Skills Do I Need?

Granted, V4S can appear complex at the outset but Trailhead does a great job breaking it down into manageable chunks. Look at the Salesforce object structure below, it’s very straightforward and one does not need to be a Salesforce expert to comprehend it. Anyone with the most basic technical skills who can navigate Salesforce can use V4S - if you can create records, then you are good to go. 

Some important terms to know:

  • A Campaign is the project or event for which you are utilizing (or hope to be) volunteers. Campaigns are a powerful object in Salesforce that can be used for many purposes, you can find some great use cases in my colleague Samantha Safin’s post “The Humble Salesforce Campaign”.
  • Volunteer Job is the volunteer job to fill and applicable skills needed, similar to a job posting for a position with an organization.



What About Reports?

Data in, data out. Take a gander at the out-of-the-box dashboard below, isn’t it a thing of beauty? Leaderboard, hours tracking, year over year metrics, all included. Concise and to the point and easy to customize as needed.


How Do Volunteers Sign Up for Events?

Here you have options, you can gather up lists and enter the volunteers manually, or allow people to register right on your website. Yes, I said website and yes, I previously stated that most people can manage this app. In short, you and a web developer partner up. What is awesome is that an administrator can set the configuration in Salesforce and the V4S application, accounting for approximately 95% of the work. From there, there are clear instructions that you can hand off to the developer so they can complete the integration.

The work entails:

  • Creating a Salesforce site

  • Activating and performing testing of the site

  • Customizing the sign-up form

  • (Optional) Setting up other V4S pages such as a Generic Volunteer Signup page, Calendar page, Report Hours Page, and Volunteer Lookup Pages

  • Providing the documentation to your web developer so that they can embed the V4S pages on the website


What are you waiting for? 

In closing, you would be hard pressed to find another free Salesforce application as rich in features and functionality. The provided support documentation and Trailhead modules are icing on the cake. Those interested can easily launch a developer org and start learning as they configure and launch a real world working volunteer management application. What are you waiting for?

What has your experience been? Want to share your thoughts or opinions? Please feel free to reach out on the Arkus Facebook page, in the comments below, in the Success Community, or to me directly via Twitter at @sfdcclicks.

Top Ideas for Salesforce Lightning

As Salesforce Lightning continues to roll—what is on deck on the IdeaExchange?
Top Ideas for Salesforce Lightning

Top Ideas for Salesforce Lightning

2017 marked the year of Lightning. 2018 and beyond will be no different. With the emphasis clearly on Lightning moving forward, the ideas on the IdeaExchange have flooded in. There are a ton of ideas that range from brand new to features that need to be implemented in Lightning to bring it in line with Classic. Here are some of my top ideas up for vote:

Configurable Default List View in Lightning Experience

This is a no-brainer feature that is requested by most Salesforce users that I have spoken with. For the vast majority of users, being able to view their recently viewed records from the home page is sufficient. In Spring 18 Salesforce gave us Personalized Navigation; it would be great if that was expanded on where every user could tailor their tab’s default list view to what they want it to be.

Lightning Experience: Recycle Bin

At this point, there should be no reason for a user to have to switch back to Classic in order to do something as simple as access the recycle bin. There have been AppExchange Packages and other workarounds developed, but this is something that needs to be readily available out of the box.

Lightning Experience: Lead and Contact List View - Campaign Filter

There are a myriad of reasons why users would want to filter their list view by Campaign, and a user should not have to switch back to Salesforce Classic in order to achieve it. This is a particularly powerful feature when coupled with List Email functionality. This is something that has to make it into future releases.

Ability to Share List View With Group in Lightning

In Salesforce Classic, users have the ability to create list views and share them with themselves, a group of users, or all users. In Salesforce Lightning, users cannot share their list views with groups, which is particularly important for teams who may need to interact with the same set of list views. Having to switch back and forth to Salesforce Classic in order to achieve list view sharing is not ideal and very inefficient.

Process Builder: Error Messages

We all love Process Builder. It provides us with an avenue to perform all types of automation with clicks and not code. It delivers in user efficiency and productivity. But what it doesn’t deliver on is comprehensive error handling when a user triggers an error. Process Builder needs to produce user-friendly error messages.

What are your thoughts on the state of Lightning? What else do you think should be added or improved upon? Share your ideas or thoughts with me on the Arkus Facebook page, in the comments below, in the Success Community, or to me directly via Twitter at @RyanOwensRPO.

Salesforce Spring 18 Ideas Delivered

Salesforce again delivers on ideas from the Community in the Spring ‘18 release.
Salesforce Spring 18 Ideas Delivered

Salesforce Spring 18 Ideas Delivered

Though the list of ideas delivered in this release isn’t huge (literally it’s 12 ideas) there are some good ones this time around. The point count this time is a total of 43,770. It’s also interesting that Salesforce is now not really highlighting delivered ideas in the release notes like they used to. In any case, here are a few ideas delivered worth mentioning.

Streamline Lead Conversion Without Opportunities

In Lead Settings, there are two options now for the Lead Conversion screen: hide the opportunity section completely or have the checkbox for not creating an opportunity on the convert screen checked by default. This idea was delivered with a whopping total of 34,330 points.

Path: Pick Your Own Path

Now we can create a Path based on any picklist field for standard objects. Examples include the ability to track the growth of your relationship with an organization or household, track Campaign progress, or track the support cycle of Cases.  The steps are the same in setting up the path; path steps are based on values in a picklist field, highlight the values using key fields, and include guidance to help users succeed at each step on the path. The Idea addressed by this feature had gathered a total of 5,820 points.

Share Credit for a Deal in Lightning Experience

Yeah for Sales teams! Opportunity Splits that were available in Classic are now in Lightning Experience. Team members working an opportunity can see how much credit they get for each deal. These can then be rolled into quota and pipeline reports for a team. You can add or adjust splits from the Opportunity Splits related list. This idea was delivered with a total of 1,540 points.

Do you have other favorite Ideas delivered in this latest release I didn’t mention? Please feel free to comment below, on our Facebook page, or directly at me on Twitter @LeiferAshley or in the Success Community and Power of Us Hub.

Using Leads in Program Management

The concept behind the Leads object in Salesforce is extremely useful, and not just for marketing and sales teams to hand-off prospects.
Using Leads in Program Management

Using Leads in Program Management

The Salesforce platform is built to be flexible, and making creative use of standard objects can support a wide range of functionality. Increasingly nonprofit organizations are looking to manage multi-step support cases -- instances in which an individual must be deemed eligible for services before a case is created, or perhaps there is an intake process before the type of support is identified.

The most common solution for program management is to identify a process within the confines of a Case - statuses to mark the Case as not-yet-approved or going through intake. This solution works; there’s nothing wrong with it.

But what if there’s a chance that the person requesting support isn’t eligible for that support at all or perhaps ultimately not interested? What happens with the handful of Contacts, and their associated Accounts or Households, that are created at the outset but never go anywhere?

There should be a way to identify an incoming request that still needs an initial review. Are they eligible for services? Have they marked off the boxes needed before they can receive services? Are they even interested in the available services? And is there a way to easily distinguish between eligible and ineligible applicants?

Leads can serve as this early stage of pre-eligibility review, and Process Builder makes it possible to auto-create a Case upon conversion, signalling the initial approval of an incoming request.

Why Leads

At its core, the Lead object is just a holding area for those ill-defined, not-quite-a-Contact-but-not-nothing types of records. They are individuals that we have some knowledge about but may require a go/no-go decision before moving forward. Ephemeral, elusive, and extraordinarily helpful.

They are easy to get into the system, either through an import or even Salesforce’s built-in Web-to-Lead form. Forms can have minimal information to make a client feel at ease, and follow up or more in-depth review and questions can come later.

From a strict database perspective, Leads take up less memory than a Contact and associated Account, being only one record with data pertaining to both. They are easy to auto-assign, transfer, and even delete, if necessary, and they can also still be assigned to Campaigns for nurturing and tracking. They also serve as a clear indication to all users that this is a person or request that has not yet been picked up and reviewed.

The conversion process is already tracked and catalogued by Salesforce, so it can be a trigger or switch that indicates to the system, as well as users, that this individual is ready to receive services.

Prepare for Case Creation

Creating a case on conversion, like creating anything else from Lead conversion, requires some planning. Some key questions to ask are:

  1. What information do we require to confirm initial eligibility or interest?

  2. What information needs to be copied to a Case?

  3. What information needs to stay with the Contact record but be included with the Case?

  4. Are there different types of Cases, and if so, does the type need to be identified even at the early Lead stage?

For each of these questions, prepare the database to work within those requirements. Create any custom fields on the Lead, so they can then pass onto the Case, and make sure to create custom fields on the Case to accept that data, if necessary.

Here is an example of one way to manage thinking through and creating these types of custom fields.

Lead to Case planning

What about that pesky Company field?

Depending on your overall database, you may want to change the label of this field to something like “Family Name.” If you need to keep it as-is for a multi-use database, train users to include something along the lines of “Requester.” Third party form builders will also allow you to set this value automatically.

If you’re using NPSP, the Household Account will be renamed on conversion. If you’re not using NPSP or are not using the auto-name feature, teach your users to use a specific naming convention.

Build the Automation

The goal is to create a Case when the Lead is converted. Process Builder can handle this all on its own. For this demo, only one type of support is provided, but this same concept can be expanded and made as complex as needed.

  1. Name and describe your new Process Builder flow - good documentation is best practice. If possible, make note of any exceptions, as well.

New PB Flow

  1. Select Lead as your Object and “when a record is created or edited”

  2. Identify the first criteria. It’s important to at least include that the IsConverted system field is changed and is now true. Other criteria can be included. Here are my conditions.

Lead to Case process builder flow criteria

  1. As an immediate action, select “Create a Record” and choose Case as the object

  2. Use Lead fields to populate fields on the new Case with the Field Reference option

Lead to Case PB Flow actions

  1. For Contact and Account ID, use the Field References “Converted Contact ID” and “Converted Account ID” respectively

Lead to Case creation converted ID fields for mapping

  1. Save and test

Leads are an option for managing a multi-step program management process, and with Salesforce’s growing solutions for automation via clicks-not-code, it’s easier than ever to utilize this native solution and still make it easy for users.

Have you used leads in a similar way? Do you have a similar use case that you solved in a different way? We’d love to hear about it. Share your stories with us on Twitter, on the Salesforce Community, Facebook, or chat with me @thesafinhold .

Lightning Strikes Spring 18

Winter is here, which means Spring is on its way. What has Salesforce brought us in the Spring 18 release?
Lightning Strikes Spring 18

Lightning Strikes Spring 18

The new year is here and with that, Spring 18 is upon us. Winter 18 marked another big jump in the platform’s progress, and Spring 18 looks to continue that momentum. There are a bunch of features to highlight, but here are some of the new additions and enhancements that stood out to me when reviewing the release notes:

Reply and Forward Case Emails

This is a key feature that has been missing from Service Cloud in Lightning. When working with a Case, users will now have the ability to Reply, Reply All, and Forward emails associated with them. Service Cloud has been limited in Lightning thus far, but this is a great feature that is moving the bar in the right direction.

Themes in Lightning Experience

Salesforce delivers on its promise to start making the platform more customizable from a branding perspective with themes. In Spring 18, administrators will be able to create themes that match their company’s branding without having to use any code. This is an enhancement to LEX that will make a lot of organizations looking for a more branded experience very happy.

The one thing to keep in mind is that only one theme can be active at a time and that the active theme applies to the entire instance of Salesforce.

Gather Feedback with Salesforce Surveys

In Spring 18, Salesforce will be delivering a native Survey tool. The tool will provide organizations the ability to easily create forms and collect feedback. The data captured via the form will integrate directly into Salesforce, which will in turn open up the opportunity to leverage Salesforce’s reporting capabilities to view analytics and provide insights on survey results.

The major thing to note with this new tool is that it is a paid feature. There are many third party tools currently available, but a survey feature native to Salesforce is going to interest a lot of people.

Personalized Navigation in Lightning Experience

Often times at an organization using Salesforce, users work with specific items over others. Some users may interact daily with a certain tab while others may bypass it and go directly to what is relevant to them. Salesforce addresses this by providing users the ability to personalize their navigation bar to suit their individual needs. Users can reorder tabs, and rename or remove items that they’ve added.

Users will have the ability to create temporary tabs. These tabs can contain things like a specific dashboard that they need to view often, a list view, or a record and can be named whatever the user wants. Temporary tabs are removed from the navigation when a user switches applications or logs out, but users will also be able to choose to permanently add those items to the navigation bar. This level of flexibility will make users who have been looking for this for a long time smile.

Stay on Top of Duplicate Records with Duplicate Jobs

Most of us are familiar with the current way of managing duplicate record entries. Salesforce takes things a step further in Spring 18 by providing the ability to run scheduled duplicate jobs. These jobs can be set up to run and leverage standard or custom matching rules to scan Salesforce Person Accounts, Contacts, or Leads.

The results of the duplicate job can be compared against other entries and merging can be accomplished from there. Pretty nifty, right? For organizations using Performance and Unlimited editions of Salesforce, this is going to take duplicate management to a new level.

What do you think of the improvements and additions in Spring 18? Want to share your thoughts? Let me know what you think on the Arkus Facebook page, in the comments below, in the Success Community, or to me directly via Twitter at @RyanOwensRPO.