Database design shaped by how your nonprofit actually works.
Compassionate training that cares for your unique team.

We believe you can't outsource your database karma. While your first reaction may be to call an outside consultant to build a database for you, this does not have to be the only path. In fact, if you have the desire and energy to partner with a Sherpa, we know the rewards will be quite different from the other paths you might choose:

 

Smarter Design,
New Skills

With hands-on guidance tailored to your organization's real needs (not a consultant's idea of how it should be), we'll help you create a database that makes a difference in your everyday work. 

When you work with a Sherpa to design your nonprofit's database, you'll get a firsthand understanding of:

  • How your organization uses (or would like to use) data, in the context of real projects and situations--from volunteer management to fundraising to grant reports and more
     
  • Why and how different kinds of data should be prioritized and maintained, who needs to be the caretaker of different data and how they can be supported--including templates, tools, and documentation practices to make this work easier
     
  • The different workflows, reports, and other features that can affect your organization's data and technical capacity
     
  • The unique Salesforce ecosystem, which goes beyond your database and includes many community resources to help you learn and troubleshoot in the future without ongoing consulting costs

All of this learning will be done with the skillful guidance of a Sherpa who will ask lots of questions, point out common pitfalls, and guide you to a path that makes sense for your nonprofit's unique mountain of data. Our goal is to train you in a way that means you can keep caring for your database long after our project is done. With thoughtful design and hands-on training, there is no reason a nonprofit should have to depend on an outside consultant for the everyday use of their database.

 

People-Centered Training

Data can be one of the greatest peace-robbers of the nonprofit life. When the grant report is due or the year-end appeal needs to go out, data is often a source of frustration, uncertainty, and lost time and energy. We believe it's possible to make peace with your data, but not just with a new tool or shiny database.

We never forget that people are at the heart of your work. People like those on your unique team, which probably has a mix of skill levels, needs, and even anxieties (yes, those are OK too!). Throughout our trek together, we'll tailor our training to their abilities and needs. We'll hold mindful pauses to help everyone breathe through change. In the end, you'll get a strong database. More importantly, as you make the journey with us, you'll feel prepared and empowered to care for that database.

Better Adoption

No one wants to invest in a tool their team isn't going to use. Yet this happens frequently with databases, especially when a consultant brings their own idea of what the database should do.

At Database Sherpa, we know that a good tool is not enough. No matter how much we might believe in the power of Salesforce, its functionality means little if your team doesn't have confidence and internal capacity to put it to work. That's why our process engages clients so directly in building, documenting, and training with their own database. Not only does this build your team's technical confidence, but it consistently leads to better adoption in the organizations we support. Many of our clients are not only still using Salesforce six months or more after our project, but they're also expanding their knowledge to add new features and get new reporting in their database.

 

 
 
DatabaseSherpaTreks
 
 

    Wayshower: Full-Service Trek

    Our most comprehensive offering, the Wayshower Trek provides in-depth guidance for an organization’s staff on the journey to develop their Salesforce database. This trek is for nonprofits that want a deeper dive into their data in more than one area of their work (e.g., volunteers and donors), as well as nonprofits that would like to integrate Salesforce with their website, online giving, or other applications.

    We customize your trek by defining your organization’s needs, short- and long-term goals, capacity, and other factors affecting the design of your database. Working together, we'll identify how far we’ll climb based on what’s realistic for your organization and you. Our Sherpa will meet with your team regularly to review database concepts, perform hands-on database building activities, and plan next steps on the journey to create an effective Salesforce database customized to your organization. Each session includes guidance for self-directed learning and logical next steps for building the database. All sessions are recorded for future reference.

    What's Included

    • Organizations on the Wayshower trek commit to investing about 100 hours of effort to develop skills and confidence while creating an effective Salesforce database.
    • Installation and design of your Salesforce database, based on your organization's needs and areas of work.
    • Documentation of your Salesforce instance, including your organization's workflows and processes, to help with any future staff transitions and identify ongoing maintenance needs/roles.
    • Intensive hands-on training to equip your team, especially the Salesforce administrator, as you design your database, import data, and prepare for ongoing use of Salesforce.

    Team & Timing

    • Up to 3 individuals from your organization learning together as a group
    • 6 months (2-hour sessions)

    Wayfinder: Starter Trek

    Our Wayfinder trek is a condensed version of our full-service trek. It includes a series of limited introductory treks to provide your nonprofit a better understanding of Salesforce and the Nonprofit Success Pack, and to help an organization make an informed choice about next steps. Explore the power of Salesforce for your organization, as well as the level of commitment to find peace with your data, based on insights from those who have made the journey before. The sessions are aimed at organizations that have received donated Salesforce licenses and are contemplating how to proceed.

    The Wayfinder trek guides an organization towards an understanding of how to set up and use Salesforce, and whether to proceed further on their own, with Sherpa guidance, or with a consultant. This trek is designed for a single-use database and does not include integration with other applications (e.g., online giving software). Each session includes guidance for self-directed learning and logical next steps for building the database. All sessions are recorded for future reference.

    What's Included

    • Installation and design of your Salesforce database for one of your organization's needs, such as volunteer management or donor management. 
    • Documentation of your Salesforce instance, including your organization's workflows and processes, to help with any future staff transitions and identify ongoing maintenance needs/roles.
    • Initial training to equip your team, especially the Salesforce administrator, as you design your database, import data, and plan for future learning with Salesforce.

    Team & Timing

    • Up to 3 individuals from your organization learning together as a group
    • 6 months (2-hour sessions)
     
     
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    Begin your trek.

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