Reporting live (from my hotel bed, lol) in Denver, it’s Wednesday morning!  Hello, Open Source Community Sprint, day two.  Hello, jetlag.  Hello, dry, dry, dry, Denver air.

Joy, gratitude

thank you!.PNGMy cheeks are like permanently blushing right now because I’ve gotten to connect with colleagues who I deeply respect who are also loyal blog readers.   The blog post that I shared last week about using mindfulness, humility and other skills I’ve learned as an activist has deeply resonated with people in the Salesforce nonprofit community.  It’s in my top three most popular blog posts EVER, along with “tables” in Google Sheets (not sure how that one became so widely viewed, haha!) and a post about body image.  Thank you for all of your support of the blog this year!  I’ve written ~45 posts and 36,000 words so far, and many of you have been along for the whole ride.  Here’s a peak at what’s ahead:  better design, new graphics, and watercolor icons with support from my friends over at Bloom & Glory.  And hopefully some posts dedicated to spreadsheet formulas, because that’s a topic I haven’t covered yet, believe it or not.


At Open Source Community Sprints, folks come together to look at how nonprofits and higher ed organizations are using database systems and then actually build better tools and how-to documents.  (I wrote about my experience at the last sprint here and how sprints and nonprofit technology are relevant to changemakers and social movements).  This conference format is pretty awesome because…

  • There are staffers and code writers/developers from who come and listen and fix stuff
  • There are consultants who are technically usually competing against each other who come and build stuff and listen and generally help out and propose things that they’ve learned from their birds’ eye view
  • There are real, live database users (like me!) who come and share about what we need (and build stuff) – even (ESPECIALLY) new, new, new people have valuable insights and help build stuff !!!
  • There are friends and fancy meals and grapefruit mocktails with salt on the cup 😀


I decided at the last sprint that I was going to dedicate time and energy to building documentation about how Campaigns work because they are so useful and yet so confusing and under explained.  My buddy in this project is Sam Knox, a delightful technical writer from  Together, we are working on a project to write a Campaigns Implementation Guide for nonprofits around fundraising.


At this sprint, we have zero-ed in on coming up with meaningful buckets for how to organize fundraising information.  For example, do you sort your fundraising campaigns by year and then tactic (so that you can compare year to year?) or do you sort tactic and then year (so that you can easily compare tactics across years).  What about if you sort by geographic region?  Where does that fall into the structure?

These hierarchies can be kind of a bear to wrap our heads around.  I think Beth Saunders and Nate Marsh did a great job explaining some of the finer points of setting them up in this article from a Sprint back in 2016.  It’s a great elaboration of one of the Campaign Use Cases that Sam Knox and I have been working on building out – first article was officially released last week!  And also a great example of Sprints building on successes from previous sprints.  Woot woot!

I haven’t written one of these in a while, but since this post is getting kind of technical, I want to add a “SO WHAT?” / Why should changemakers care about this esoteric topic?  Because before I got into this stuff, I probably would have thought all of this was a giant snore, and if you think that, too, that’s ok!

  • Even if you don’t use Salesforce (or a database at all!) I think some of this fundraising strategy stuff can be really useful.
  • Changemaking organizations need $$ and if you raise $$ you might want to be able to figure out which fundraising tactics were most effective (gala? monthly donors? capital campaign?) and if you have sub categories, it might even be like (Events > Gala, House Concert, Car Wash and Grants > Multi Year, Single Year and Donors > Major gifts, Monthly donors, bequests).  You see what I mean?
  • If you change how you arrange your data every year, it becomes really difficult and time consuming to compare one year to another, which is quite necessary for goal setting (and I know many of us would prefer to have more time in the streets than number crunching!)
  • Depending on how you store your layers of tactics, there are pros and cons and IMPLICATIONS (dum dum dum) and so it’s helpful to read a guide (maybe even with a decision tree) to help you arrive at a good structure for your org (with lots of examples along the way) … so, that’s what our project is!

Money, money, money

4cb8a480Another idea that is piquing my interest is a project on salary transparency for nonprofit data folks.   Last night, I got to ride home from dinner with my friend Emma Bloksberg-Fireovid and in between gazing at the Colorado mountains, we got to catch up about things like being a consultant and using the Lightning Experience in Salesforce.

Also, (this is the reason for this AH-MAZING ABBA GIF like, wow) we also talked about SALARY TRANSPARENCY because OMG there is so little information about this for changemaking data folks (and a HUGE compensation range, I would guess) and this is a big problem for equity and advancement for underrepresented people in a) the tech industry and b) nonprofit leadership.  Plus, how can we advocate for higher salaries (or at least more fair/equitable salaries, but probably higher, too) if we don’t know the going rate?  So today we might propose a research project to figure out what has already been done (there may well be studies out there that we don’t know about yet – and if you do know, then please drop me a line!).

It’s finally a more reasonable hour to be out and about, so I’m going to get ready for the day and join my colleagues for more co-conspirating.   Spreadsheet whisperer, signing off, over and out!

4 thoughts on “mile high dispatch

  1. Gordon lee and Bonny Hinners just did a salary survey with the Bay Area nonprofit user group. Also! People in the for profit world want documentation on campaigns too. I think there’s even an idea for this.

    1. Thanks Megan! It sounds like there are lots of folks already working on some stuff around salary equity and transparency but those conversations haven’t made it into the sprint setting. I think I’ve seen that Idea too. I’m so glad the .org docs team is working on it!

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