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Introduction to Salesforce

Ready for Salesforce?

Is your nonprofit ready to take the leap to Salesforce?

You have an event coming up, and need to send an announcement to the right people again, pronto. That means gathering up the Excel spreadsheets, and the old database, and making sure any new contacts on various scraps of paper have been added. You sure could use the time to work on the event rather than sifting through spreadsheets. Why does a simple communication take so much of your valuable time?
Enter Salesforce. That’s exactly what you need: a CRM! Preferably today.

Look Before You Leap

Before you take that step, consider the journey. Like a mountain climber embarking on a trek to new places, now is an ideal time to take a step back and prepare. That climber creates a plan, prepares their team, and finally sets out on the journey, putting the plan into practice. As a mountain climber contemplates a new journey, so too can your organization plan a route to peace with your data, and all the benefits that come with it.

Warning Signs – Poor Conditions Ahead

  • Our board member told us to get it.
  • It’s free, what more do you need?
  • Our VISTA is smart and can figure it out.
  • We need to get this up and running ASAP.
  • Our current data is a mess.

Take a Deep Breath.

  • There is time to learn the system and we can afford to receive some training.
  • We have multiple staff that have knowledge of the process we’d like to implement.
  • We’re not in a rush to get this done.
  • Our board and ED support this new database.

Plan the Trek

  • Step 1: Get your board and ED to buy into using this as a product.
  • Step 2: Designate a single person as your System Administrator.
  • Step 3: Sign up for a free, trial account at
  • Step 4: Collect your EIN Number
  • Step 5: Get a PDF version of your 501c3 letter from the IRS.
  • Step 6: Visit and, using your login from Step 3, apply for the licenses. They donate 10 free Enterprise Edition licenses. Click link to learn more.

DIY – can we do this ourselves? Yes!

Even a mountain climber may start with misgivings. Take stock of your resources and what you need for the journey. Salesforce offers the Power of Us Hub — a great community for your nonprofits if you want to invest your own efforts. With time, patience, and guidance, you CAN do it on your own.

When to call in outside resources:

  • migrating data from another system (or systems)
  • staffing is limited and/or no IT staff
  • integrating with other systems
  • training is needed
  • complex customizations are in order


Need help making peace with your data in Salesforce? Click here to request a conversation. We’d love to learn about your journey so far and create a plan for your next trek.

At Database Sherpa, we are more guide than taskmaster, more teacher than consultant. We have met organizations at every point in their trek to database clarity. We know that treating the design and development of your Salesforce database as a journey, and collaborating with an experienced guide, can be transformational for your organization.

Collectively, we bring decades of experience to each project while still meeting each organization where it is. We know the path to a better database, can point out the pitfalls before they become big problems, and will share good practices at every turn. Perhaps most importantly, we believe that missteps and learning are all part of the process… you’ll have the freedom to explore without the fear of “failing.” So take a deep breath. We know this mountain, and we are ready to help you climb it.

If you have the energy and interest, partnering with a Sherpa is a way to actively engage in the database process and reap unique rewards that come from your own efforts: a completed database, empowered staff, and in-house knowledge that reduces (even eliminates) the need for ongoing consultation.