Whenever someone new walks into our office here at Blood:Water–without fail–I am always identified as the “resident nerd.” Often this label is self-applied, and it is actually true. Spreadsheets, data, back-end coding… I can’t get enough. So when I was asked to go to San Francisco to attend Dreamforce, the annual Salesforce convention, I jumped at the chance to nerd out with thousands of other folks just like me! The conference was the first week of October, and it was a really wonderful experience.
At Blood:Water, we use the Salesforce platform as our donor database, so much of my time at the conference was spent diving deeper into how we, as an organization, can leverage the platform to get the most out of it. I spent a lot of time in the trailhead center which was a giant, forest-themed room that showed off all of the capabilities of the platform from the nuts and bolts of back-end automation to customizing the look and feel of the user experience.
It was helpful to learn about the software, but the most beneficial experiences for me came from spending time at the Salesforce.org Lodge, an entire hotel set up to feature all of the unique ways nonprofits are using and integrating with Salesforce. Specifically, it was great to participate in the Circles of Success sessions that carved out time for a roundtable discussion about various challenges faced by nonprofits in the realm of technology and digital systems.
A particularly rewarding session dealt with the interoffice politics of managing change in an organization, and how to help colleagues adjust to new processes and systems in a healthy way. It was truly amazing to hear from others who, as the “resident nerds” in their organizations, face the same digital challenges day in and day out.
In other words, it was great to spend a week listening, learning, and planning on how Blood:Water can grow as we leverage evermore complex digital systems.