Whether you are a nonprofit Salesforce CRM administrator struggling with the decision of when and how to bring in a Salesforce consultant to help your team overcome the complexities of the CRM or you are a consultant evaluating a Salesforce CRM engagement, you have probably given a lot of thought to what makes your work a project.

In the world of Salesforce CRM consulting it’s often expected and required to define and secure projects, work on projects, talk about projects and be rated and evaluated on the success of projects.

But what about the other work we do with our clients that falls outside the box of a “project”? This blog is about shining a spotlight on the non-project work we do day in and day out in partnership with our clients.  

By definition, a project is an individual or collaborative effort that is carefully planned and designed to achieve a particular aim. It’s tangible, finite, and provides satisfaction when it’s completed successfully. A successful project requires all parties involved to agree upon its goal, deliverables, and timeline. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a Salesforce consultant who does not genuinely love an interesting, unique, complex project to sink their teeth into.

Yet from our experience we’ve found that as much as we’d love to work on specific projects all day, that’s simply not what the majority of our clients need from us. After all, the needs of nonprofit organizations are often times random, ad hoc, and driven by evolving business processes, updates to the Salesforce platform, staff turnover, and unforeseen growth or changes in the organization. When these changes occur, the work required does not usually fit within the standard definitions of a specific Salesforce project, so much as it reflects the reality of administering a database in a nonprofit organization on a day-to-day basis.

So what about the other work we do for our clients that falls outside the box of a “project”?

The Reality of Ongoing Salesforce Administration

An increasing number of nonprofit organizations recognize the importance of having an in-house dedicated Salesforce CRM administrator who can drive and maintain the health of their Salesforce CRM. These admins are the front line of keeping the CRM in sync with the needs of the organization. They need to balance those needs against what is feasible on the platform and always consider the long-term impact of their decisions.

This is where partnering with a Salesforce consultant to provide an additional lifeline when non-project work needs to be done can be extremely valuable. A long-term, trusting partnership between an organization’s in-house nonprofit Salesforce administrator and a Salesforce consultant can make a huge difference, and can save the organization time and money.

DaizyLogik has worked in partnership with many nonprofit administrators, and such successful partnerships have exhibited some commonalities:

Trust  

A relationship built on trust is the cornerstone of any successful consultant – nonprofit Salesforce administrator relationship. Our clients consistently tell us that having a trusted partner to bounce ideas off of and help troubleshoot database conundrums is one of the most valuable parts of their engagement with us. We are not building shiny features every day for our clients, we are providing a support system that ensures that the less glamorous day-to-day database operations are getting done.

Long-Term View  

Growth is good, but it also means your database needs to be able to support it. Growth can likely mean more users, more data, and perhaps even a portal for your donors, members, and constituents. We know that it’s important to think about scalability in every database project, and have found that when we have a long-term, ongoing engagement with a client, we are better positioned to build in that scalability into every decision we work with the organization’s Salesforce administrator to make. After all, we know that if a scalability problem is encountered, we’re going to be called upon to solve it further down the line.

Automation  

Automating repetitive tasks or creating the right reports can save hours, and it’s why, in our work with nonprofit Salesforce administrators, we always strive to identify opportunities to automate business processes. In one recent interaction with one of our clients, we learned that some simple configuration changes combined with a report was saving one of their staff an entire week’s worth of work!

These opportunities do not need to wait for a project to get done, they can be found frequently and ongoing interaction with a consultant can help spur these ideas.

Which brings us to the most powerful argument in defence of the ongoing non-project work…

Empowered to Brainstorm 

Good ideas don’t wait for projects to get off the ground. Some of the best ideas that rockstar Salesforce nonprofit administrators come up with happen when they have a fertile ground to brainstorm. It also happens when they feel empowered by having a reliable and accessible Salesforce Consultant to coach them, and perhaps take a risk together knowing that it will pay off with a stronger and better CRM.

Partnership

At DaizyLogik, we employ a retainer model to ensure we can continue to provide ongoing, affordable support to our clients. The DaizyLogik Retainer is a well-structured, simple way for our team to work with the same organizations and nonprofit Salesforce admins for years to help them overcome the challenges they face. We are extremely grateful for those opportunities.

But the best part of these ongoing relationships that it they have taught us that non-project work deserves more attention and deserves to be highlighted.

We would like to thank and acknowledge some of the organizations that have trusted us with ongoing Salesforce non-project work for so many years and their rock-star Salesforce administrators: ArtsCorps, Washington Nonprofits, Bellingham Food Bank, The Fund for Global Human Rights, Washington Global Health Alliance and EarthCorps.