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What is the Salesforce Lightning Experience and should I enable it for my organization?

The Salesforce Lightning Experience is a slick new user interface layered on top of your existing Salesforce account that focuses on allowing sales teams (or development and fundraising teams in our nonprofit community) to work and close opportunities faster. It is generally available as a feature that can be enabled by Salesforce administrators starting with the Winter ’16 release.

If enabled for users, they will see a new link under their user menu to “Switch to the Lightning Experience”. This will load a whole new beautiful interface for viewing and interacting with your Salesforce data. If they need to switch back to Salesforce Classic, they can do so by clicking on “Switch to Salesforce Classic” from under their user menu (accessible in the Lightning Experience by clicking on the user avatar).

To enable or not to enable, that is the question.

The Lightning Experience is tremendously cool, there’s no doubt about it. It offers tons of neat new functionality and a beautiful interface that makes data look just oh so much friendlier and more impressive. It also includes great enhancements for list views, report filters, inline email, enhanced notes, etc. You can read more about how great it is here. However! The new stuff is so sexy and compelling that it’s easy to miss some of the fine print about what’s not included yet, and some of the missing things are pretty critical! Because of the amount of things not supported yet, we’re considering this Winter ’16 release an “admin release” that allows Salesforce administrators to be able to start exploring and evaluating the Lightning Experience to plan to rollout over the next year (or beyond).

What’s not supported yet?

  • No Campaign & Campaign Member data

    This is critical for anyone using Soapbox Engage or Soapbox Mailer. If you access your Salesforce database from a user account running the Lighting Experience, you will not be able to view your Campaigns or Campaign Member histories. To view this information, you would need to switch back to Salesforce Classic. This functionality is on the roadmap for the Spring ’16 release, so it’s not far around the corner, but it’s not there yet.
  • No ability to “Find/Merge Duplicates” or “Add to Campaign” for Leads

    Again, if you are using Soapbox Engage in particular, you will likely not want to switch to the Lightning Experience until these are supported (or at least not switch your user accounts that need to access these functions).
  • No inline editing

    If you are using inline editing a lot (where you double-click a field to make quick edits instead of needing to click the “Edit” button to edit the whole record), you may want to hold off on migrating to the Lightning Experience since this functionality does not yet exist.
  • No custom buttons

    If you have custom buttons setup (such as the “Send” button included with Soapbox Mailer or the “Attendee” list button setup for Soapbox Events), these will not appear in the Lightning Experience. Want to get involved in the discussion of how this might be addressed in the future? Join the conversation here.
  • No support for person accounts
  • No record merging
  • No mass email

There are some other things too. For the full list, check out this Trailhead module called “Is the Lightning Experience Right for Me?“.

So what does this mean for your organization?

The Lightning Experience is undergoing rapid development, so many of the current limitations will addressed and covered in the next few releases. We highly encourage Salesforce administrators to begin learning about the new functionality and exploring in a sandbox environment so you can be well-educated in creating a plan for if, when and how you will want to start rolling this out to your users. It’s up to you as your organization’s Salesforce pro to make an informed decision about when your organization may be “Lightning Ready”.

For more information check out these awesome Trailhead modules:

And if you have feedback on successes and challenges, we’d love to hear about it! Please share with us and the community through the Power of Us Hub so we can help each other along this journey.


Three tips for a/b testing your nonprofit online marketing efforts inspired by the Obama campaign

As the nation’s capital cleans up from the weekend’s Inaugural festivities, it’s worth asking how we got here:

How was it that President Obama came to be standing on the steps of the Capitol being sworn for a second term rather than his rival, Governor Mitt Romney, being sworn in for his first?

Presidential Inaugural Parade [Image 11 of 11]

One undeniable factor was that Obama’s Digital Team ran one of the most successful online campaigns ever.

Curious about how? Read more »


Demystifying bounce rates

If you, like me, have ever ever scratched your head, dropped your jaw, or clenched your fist at that mysterious “bounce rate” figure in your site analytics, take a look at this fantastic article called “How-to: Improve Your Site’s Bounce Rate (Intro to Google Analytics Advanced Filtering” from the good people at NTEN.

This article will help you understand not only what bounce rates are, but how they are relevant to your site’s success and how you can improve them in a meaningful way.

We learned a lot and know you will too!


Soapbox Site Launch: Turtle Power!

turtleA couple weeks ago, we launched a really great new site for a great and deserving organization – the Turtle Survival Alliance. Now this is a TSA I can get behind! The TSA has been transforming passion for turtles into effective conservation action since 2001. They are involved in some pretty amazing conservation efforts all over the world thanks to their wide network of supporters. For example, check out this incredible story on the rescue of the world’s only known wild Rafetus swinhoei (Yangtze giant softshell turtle) in Vietnam.

This project reinforced some valuable lessons for me:

1) Sometimes it’s the little things One little thing we did on this site that made a big difference was using custom action buttons throughout for Buy Now, Donate Now and Join Now. What an easy small thing it is to replace the standard PayPal buttons to make a more compelling and custom-looking shop.

2) “By your powers combined” (thanks to Captain Planet for this valuable wisdom) The TSA’s site combines the super-powers of some pretty cool third party tools that complement and extend Soapbox. These include PayPal for donations and the shop, Wufoo for membership applications and tracking, Constant Contact for e-newsletters, Embedr for the video gallery, and social media/sharing tools.

Read more »


Cool tool we love: PhotoSnack

We often recommend Flickr to clients as a robust photo management tool because it’s fast, easy to use, and offers nice-looking slideshows that can be easily embedded on webpages.

But no-profits looking for more sophisticated slideshow options might consider checking out a new tool we just found called PhotoSnack. While Flickr focuses on photo sharing and organization, PhotoSnack takes online photo album displays to another level. They have a variety of slick, professional-looking photo albums and slideshows that can be embedded on your site. See some examples here.

Free accounts are limited to 250mb and are branded with the PhotoSnack logo, but a premium account is available with 5GB storage and no branding for just $99.99/year.

If you know a site using this or have tested this out on your own, let us know how it goes!


Facebook isn’t just for Gen Y: Nonprofits are making the most of it, too

As the number of Facebook users climbs by the thousands every month, the college-age group who first supported its growth seem to be losing interest and turning their attention elsewhere.

While these users aren’t deleting their Facebook accounts altogether, they do appear to be spending less time on the site and exploring new communities and places to connect with their friends. According to at least one source, a significant portion of them are now revisiting Twitter, the micro-blogging site that limits your updates to 140 characters.

So how does this affect your nonprofit’s social media strategy if everyone is competing for Gen Y’s attention?

The first thing to note is that Facebook aging is just a side effect as it becomes more mainstream, which may actually be a good thing for your nonprofit. Depending on your target audience, this may mean leveraging Facebook as a way to reach and engage your audience is now more powerful than ever and it could boost support for your cause, and even online donations. For starters, make sure your Facebook page caters to your audience and has clear objectives and action items for users. For more tips, check out this recent NY Times article (aimed at small businesses, but applicable to any organization).

Second, if support from Gen Y is crucial for your nonprofit (whether for donations, volunteers or spreading the word), it might be time to explore some other options to make sure you are keeping up with your users. As always, it’s most important to find the right match between your objective, message, medium, and audience to achieve your goals and see successful results.

Still need more tips? Let us know!


Worthy Wage: a worthy cause deserving a worthy website

ccw_thumbSince 1978, the Center for the Childcare Workforce (CCW) has served as the leading national organization in the call for improving childcare jobs. A program of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), CCW’s mission is to improve the quality of child care by upgrading the compensation, working conditions and training opportunities for child care teachers and family child care providers.

Every year on May 1st, CCW and AFT promote recognition of Worthy Wage Day by organizing a variety of activities to recognize and honor the dedication of early childhood educators and staff and to draw attention to their low wages and minimal benefits. This national day of awareness is just one of the many lasting effects of the Worthy Wage Campaign that CCW organized from 1991-1999.

Read more »


This project is a GO

thumb_goprojectMost kids have been back back in school for almost a month now, getting into the daily rhythms of classes, homework and extra-curriculars. Parents have their pickup and drop-off schedules down, and teachers are into the thick of their lesson plans.

But not every child and their family starts a new school year with ease- and that’s where The GO Project comes in. Many children in Lower Manhattan public schools are first or second generation Americans with parents who speak little to no English, their families are struggling financially, and they don’t have the resources to fully benefit from the public school system. The GO Project has been addressing the intellectual, social and emotional needs of children attending public elementary schools in lower Manhattan and their families since 1968. Their support services and programs help over 300 struggling elementary school children each year build the confidence and skills they need to realize their potential and succeed at school, at home and in life.

Read more »


Natural Leadership

thumb_inlSummer is a time to be outdoors, enjoying the sun, sand, woods, and water. Everyone enjoys getting outside and appreciating Mother Nature – so it was only fitting that we recently helped the Institute for Nature & Leadership on an upgrade for their website.

In July, we were asked by the organization to help upgrade their original Joomla site to Non-Profit Soapbox for a couple of reasons: they wanted easier management and upkeep for their content and basic commerce function, improved long-term maintenance and support, and more creative and updated design features like the slideshow that’s now on their homepage.

The entire project was done in just a week – all in time for an event promotion for the organization, so not only was it easy, but it was prompt!

The Institute for Nature & Leadership is a small (team of three!) non-profit organization that assists individuals and organizations in aligning their goals and actions with values inspired by nature. This includes educational events and seminars, consulting, and nature-based leadership management.

Thank you to IN&L for giving us the opportunity to help you out so quickly, and for making it easy to achieve your goals!