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A Day in the Life of a Nonprofit at Salesforce World Tour London

By April 19, 2016

Author: Colette Osborne, Business Relationship Manager, Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations.

From the moment I stepped into the International Convention Centre in London I just had a good feeling about my first Salesforce World Tour event. The place was alive with people chatting, grabbing a coffee and making their way the vast registration hall and preliminary session for the keynote opening speeches. Everyone was friendly, there were helpful staff on hand in straw hats and shorts, giving the whole conference a light and airy feel, the complete opposite to what I had originally expected of a global software company.

Choosing to Attend

Salesforce World Tour London - NonprofitsBack in 2014, the charity that I work for, The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) had just started using Salesforce for its CRM platform. Like most charities we had a lot of data on our members and customer interactions, but as an organisation had no real way of harnessing this beyond the many spreadsheets and databases we held as an organisation. We realised that in order to become a truly ‘customer centric charity’ we needed a 360 degree view on our members, clients and customers and Salesforce provided us with this as part of their generous 1-1-1 Programme. But we needed to learn more about what it could do for us, hence the trip to the Tour.

Takeaways from the Keynote

The day started with George Hu (COO Salesforce) giving the keynote speak in front of the biggest ever UK audience, 10k people, with thousands more watching online. I listened intently whilst he talked about where Salesforce had come from over the last 15 years and where it was heading in the next decade, focusing in on customers and how Salesforce has helped transform organisations for the better.

To help put some of this into context and bring the use of Salesforce to life, he invited to the stage Ray Cross from the Alzheimers Society. Ray explained that their carers, volunteers and staff use Salesforce as a platform for case management to provide information and services/courses to their stakeholders. They also use Communities to promote their Dementia Friend’s campaign and to engage with the wider community.

For me there were two things that came out of the keynote session. One was the realisation of how much Salesforce does uphold their 1-1-1 ethos and it is truly built into everything they say and stand for, i.e. inviting charities on a world stage to share their stories. And two, how charities themselves can harness the capabilities of Salesforce thanks to the Foundation donations it provides so that charities can take advantage of the cloud just in the same way as their private sector counterparts. Both were refreshing observations.

George went on to tell us all about Salesforces’ commitment to have a permanent presence in the UK with the opening of its first UK data centre and the renaming of Heron to Salesforce Tower, all to complement its market growth and enthusiasm for Salesforce this side of the pond.

Insights at the Breakout Sessions

After grabbing a coffee at break time we were presented with a comprehensive array of presentations to keep us interested and I opted for ‘Connected Communities: Drive Business at the Speed of Social’.

I was really interested to hear from Nicola Band who is the Community Manager at BSkyB. Their ethos seemed to be about making things ‘brilliant and easy’ and putting their staff at the centre of what they do, which is key too in the charity sector. They had a great ‘adoption to addiction’ roadmap that I could relate to. Nicola gave some good tips on how to use Chatter for things like process improvements, insights and ‘Chatteryaks’. Also like many voluntary sector staff who work outside of the office, the explanation of the mobile app Saleforce1 was a real insight and something we could take back to the office to tell our staff all about.

Apps and New Connections

Lunch was spent in the exhibition hall with the funky disco music and exhibitors, learning more about the many apps that can enhance the Salesforce experience. Two we are now utilising are Docusign and Conga and to be able to talk to their staff in person was of great value in understanding how and why we could use these add-ons, plus many gave charitable rates to charities! Also lunchtime provided us with a great opportunity to meet up with our contacts and chat over our licences and the uses of Communities for various off shoot projects we were being asked to fulfill. There were complementary workbooks being given away for Salesforce topics and on the spot help sessions if you needed advice. For me, it did not feel like a run of the mill exhibition, but one where as a charity user I felt both supported and not made to feel inferior, on the contrary, made to feel included in a part of something bigger.

In the afternoon I listened in on the Foundation session and it was interesting to hear that as charities we all had similar issues, constraints and problems to overcome but with the use of Salesforce we were all becoming more streamlined, able to hear and see what our clients needed and all felt supported as part of the Foundation.

After a final look around the exhibition hall and a free glass of beer, we set off back to City Airport to make the short hour flight home, head buzzing with ideas and things to try back in the office.

For those not-for-profits thinking of attending, I would say do it wholeheartedly. I learned so much and being a new Salesforce Administrator it helped me see the bigger picture.

Working for a charity, we all work for its cause and no matter what that is, we still need to have a solid IT backbone in place. Having been at the World Tour I can now see the capabilities of Salesforce and the rich ecosystem of apps that runs alongside it, something that would have taken weeks for me to research that culminated in one fantastic day out in London.
Colette OsborneAbout Colette: Colette is a Salesforce Administrator and has recently carried out the Admin training for ADM 201 and 211 courses. An Agile Project Manager Practitioner she works for SCVO, helping the organisation map existing business processes to Salesforce so that needs are properly analysed and correctly reflected to generate solutions. Colette is also tasked with the roll-out of Chatter adoption throughout the organisation.

Register today for your free ticket to the Salesforce World Tour London! Don’t forget to join in on the conversation too: #SalesforceTour.

Salesforce World Tour London