Community Innovation in Chicago: Wrapping Up a Spooktacular Commons Community Sprint and Nonprofit Dreamin’

October 30th & 31st, 2023, Chicago, IL

The power of the Nonprofit and Education Salesforce Community is truly unmatched, and this Halloween season the real treat was the Community-built solutions powered by our Sprinters, in-person and virtually.

Group image of Chicago Sprint event attendees.

In Chicago we witnessed the magic firsthand, but if you missed it, we’ve got you! It’s hard to convey how amazing gathering this incredible community in person is, but believe us when we say our cups are full, our arms are tired from all the hugs, and our cheeks still burn from so much smiling and laughing. We missed you if you didn’t make it this time, and read on to get a glimpse into the incredible week of all things Salesforce Nonprofit Community at our Sprint and at the community-hosted Salesforce conference Nonprofit Dreamin’:

Our Community Sprint Highlights:

  • Who was in the room? We had the pleasure of welcoming a dedicated group of 98 sprinters (84 in-person and 13 virtually), ranging in skill levels from new to Salesforce to Certified Architect. In fact, our standard ratio of held up yet again, and 50% of attendees had never Sprinted before. We welcomed in-person participants from all over the globe including India, Japan, and the UK!
  • What are Sprinters saying? Feedback is still rolling in, but so far we are seeing that everyone had a fantastic time. “I left the sprint with a warm heart, giving back to community is my favourite part of the Salesforce ecosystem, thank you to the Commons for enabling this.” Sprinters talking and networking. Post-it notes on the wall describing what is working in the Salesforce space for Sprint participants.

  • Special Welcome from Salesforce Nonprofit Leadership: We kicked off the Sprint with a heartwarming welcome from the amazing Lori Freeman (Global GM Salesforce for Nonprofits), and Michael Force (Vice President, Nonprofit Solution Engineering), who truly set the stage for over 90 attendees to engage in collaborative innovation at the Sprint.
  • Lunch-n-learn: Big AI-Ideas for Nonprofit Impact: Sprints are known for fun learning opportunities, and this time Amy Guterman (Sr. Director of Innovation, Philanthropy) and J.J. Miller (Product Management Manager) hosted an interactive discussion to learn and brainstorm on AI for impact.
  • 10 Captivating Community Projects made progress on their goals, from soon to be released DLRS wizard and a new Membership app to new start up projects to help create best practices around deployments and the new Nonprofit Cloud. Check out the specific team highlights below. If you’d like to learn more or contribute your skills each team has (or will have) a Trailblazer Community Group you can engage with:
    • Declarative Lookup Rollup Summaries (DLRS): What is DLRS? It’s an interface to rollup data between records where Salesforce can’t natively. At the Sprint, the team shared a sneak peek at the brand new user interface and collected feedback, updated documentation, and worked with the Data Generation Toolkit team members to define sample data that can be used to help test DLRS at scale. The DLRS project team working at a table.
    • Memberships Done Better: What is MDB? The goal of the memberships project is to build a common data model and supporting automations for managing memberships in Salesforce. At the Sprint, the team worked towards launch by creating documentation, a new integration object, 7 flows, a lightning page, and 6 new platform events. Stay tuned for more information on launch plans in late winter!
    • New! Deployment Best Practices: The goal of this new project is to bring the “Well Architected” framework to action by building out documentation and step by step guides that are approachable to implement for nonprofit organizations and the partners that love them. At the Sprint, the had rich and dynamic conversations on the current challenges and opportunities for deploying solutions on the Salesforce platform. This new team will continue to meet regularly and participate at Sprints to define practical best practices to share with the community at large.
    • New! Nonprofit Cloud Best Practices: Similar to early community-led efforts to help nonprofits find success using the NPSP, the goal of this new project is to begin gathering ideas and feedback to see what NPC best practices could look like and where the community could concentrate their efforts. At the Sprint, the team got the lay of the land of what is out there already, and framed the current challenge (confusion, lack of use cases, terminology mapping, etc.), and decided what was in/out of scope for a community team. The team will continue to meet and work on next steps on the two prioritized topics “Fundraising” and “Relationships”.
    • Salesforce Indicators: What is Indicators? A new LWC that allows you to highlight important data in with icons and colors, making it easy to focus on what matters most on a Salesforce record. This newly launched product participated at their first in-person Sprint and worked on building out a cookbook of recipes for users, and worked on new features from the backlog. They’re looking for new volunteers to join the team if you have a few hours to spare each month!
    • Summit Events App: What is SEA? End-to-End Event management solution for everyone. SEA provides customizable event management, making registration, receipting, confirmation, and reporting easier and integrated with Salesforce. At the Sprint, the team defined a list of event types that they’d like to build out samples of, including their challenges and opportunities. They also worked on ensuring scratch org builds include all sample data and examples!
    • Transfer Credits: This is an in-progress app meant to help students and institutions search for course and credit transfer equivalency when transferring between schools. At the Sprint, the team documented modifications to the screen flow and identified a few issues to resolve.
    • AI Prompts for Nonprofits: This team picked up where they left off at the June London Sprint, diving in to create a helpful guide of prompts to make using AI tools like ChatGPT easier for Nonprofits. In Chicago, they gathered survey responses from other Sprinters, gathering ideas for where to focus on prompt recipes. They developed and tested some prompt examples, and will continue to work on compiling a published list to share in the Community.
    • Data Generation Toolkit: What is the DGT team? This team creates resources to help Admins with skills in CumulusCI (CCI) create more efficient testing processes and data, and supports other Commons projects build effective test data. At the Sprint, team members interviewed various other teams to build out recipe samples, including the Memberships and DLRS teams. They also audited prior recipes to test and update where needed.
    • Grants Content Kit: What is GCK? The Grants Content Kit stores and organizes grant proposal content in Salesforce, allowing grant writers to streamline applications starting with their best content. At the Sprint, the team had a record number of volunteers contribute their skills, allowing the existing members to give a demo to showcase the power of the app. They hosted an extensive Q&A session, and identified a number of backlog items like UX improvements and bugs. They discussed options for incorporating AI prompt functionality to assist with writing proposal content, and plan to move forward in the coming months. There’s a lot more work to be done before they can officially launch the app in the Commons and the team is excited to dive in! Grants Content Kit team working in a room at the Sprint.
  • Halloween Fun - We joined in on the Halloween fun during the Social Breakfast on Day 2 (31st) of the Sprint for candy (including delicious Dairy Milk Chocolates from the UK thanks to Emma Keeling 😉) and fun — with a surprise appearance by Sprinty in his “inner hero” costume (Marvel’s Spider-Rex)! Many of us dressed up to celebrate the holiday, including Charlie Isaacs as Einstein! Group image of Chicago Sprint event attendees who wore a halloween costume. View from the Chicago Tower Ohana floor looking out towards the city, with clouds in the sky. Bats are pasted to the window. Sprinty the community mascot wearing a Marvel Spider-Rex halloween costume. Sprinty with a person in a Minion halloween costume. Charlie dressed as Einstien.

Our Nonprofit Dreamin’ Highlights:

  • A Keynote to Remember: Lori Freeman (Global GM Salesforce for Nonprofits) welcomed our very own Community Mascot Sprinty during her Keynote presentation, helping to spread the word about the Commons and remind us that anyone can contribute at a Sprint, even a T-Rex! Sprinty onstage with Lori Freeman at the Nonprofit Dreamin Keynote.
  • Commons Representation at Nonprofit Dreamin’: The Commons presented a session to showcase how to get involved in the Commons and explore two popular apps. Cori was joined by Ryan Blake from Summit Events App and Tim Schug from the newly launched Salesforce Indicators app team. We also had an opty to watch Shari Carlson, Michael Kolodner, and Caroline Renard present on Declarative Lookup Rollup Summaries (DLRS). We’re seeing great feedback already! “Of all of the cool things I learned about at #nonprofitdreamin, the presentation about the the work that the Open Source Commons does was the one that spoke to me the most. I spent the weekend doing a deep dive to learn a bit more about it, and can’t wait to help contribute!” - Brad Dins, Senior Associate Salesforce Consultant at Attain Partners.

Feeling the FOMO?

Guess what? We’re not done yet! Stay tuned for the Sydney Community Sprint Overview and Wrap-up coming soon after the Sprint on November 15th and 16th. Stay in the loop on all upcoming events and happenings in the Commons - join our Trailblazer Community Group today.

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