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Nonprofit Cloud Dreamforce 2018 Keynote Takeaways

By October 31, 2018

By: Jessica Langelaan, Vice President of Nonprofit Solutions, Traction on Demand

This year’s Nonprofit Cloud Keynote explored and emphasized the importance of Impact-First Nonprofits. Lori Freeman and her team (along with several phenomenal organizations and individuals) focused on how technology can drive impact and ultimately deliver on an organizational mission.

I have come to the realization that every organization is a technology organization, and this was echoed during the keynote by the Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco video. When people think of CEO Maureen Sedonaen’s organization, they don’t think of technology, they think of a hammer. And yet, for her, “the beautiful thing about technology is the way you can tell your story with data, share it with a client, constituent, donor, volunteer, stakeholder, and transform your impact.”

As I reflect on Dreamforce and the Nonprofit Cloud Keynote, the theme of impact truly carried on throughout. For me, impact can be viewed through three lenses: Mission Impact, People Impact and Technology Impact. Below are the highlights that most resonated with me that I hope will offer you some food for thought.

Mission Impact

The world’s problems are big, nebulous and challenging to resolve as political, economical and systemic barriers continue to make the best intentions difficult to execute. Despite these barriers, it feels like people are more willing than ever to step up, step in and make a difference.

Impact-first nonprofits move people to action

To truly change this world, we need to empower each organization to focus on impact and outcomes and dismiss the decades-old idea that an organization’s value can be measured by overhead ratios. We also need to redefine what impact means. Enabling organizations to leverage Salesforce for program management, or in other words, execution on their missions, is only a first step. I am already looking forward to a time where centralized metric measurement is brought to life in a way that obliterates overhead costs as a measurement and supports the story each and every organization with an outcomes-first focus. I hope that the new and GuideStar partnership is part of the path to get there.

Technology Impact

The (re)introduction of Nonprofit Cloud at the keynote provided a real anchor moment to celebrate what the Salesforce platform offers nonprofit organizations. It unites and centralizes the three core elements of every nonprofit:

    1. 1. Raise and track revenue –


    1. 2. Communicate with constituents –


    1. 3. Execute on your mission –

Program Management Nonprofit Cloud

Three features highlighted at the keynote that have me and team pretty excited are Einstein Voice, Data Storage Optimizer and Batch Gift Entry. Einstein Voice, a solution that goes beyond the nonprofit sector, has some wonderful features for any staff member who is on the go. Whether it’s your CEO capturing a quick note after a stakeholder meeting across town, or program staff capturing the outcomes from an offsite event, Einstein Voice removes friction from the process of intelligent activity tracking and updating data on the go.

The two NPSP features highlighted are ones we have been actively following for a number of our customers. While in the meantime, we’ve been building custom solutions to meet needs for today, we’ve envisioned a future where these features are part of the Salesforce platform. We couldn’t be more excited for the addition of a native batch entry tool. The tool leverages the existing nonprofit data architecture for tracking and committing batches of data. It’s a simple need in some ways, but a vital feature for organizations that still manage a significant number of their gifts offline.

Here are a couple quick snapshots of what these features look like in action:

Batch Gift Entry

Nonprofit Cloud - Batch Gift Entry feature

Data Storage Optimizer

Nonprofit Cloud - Data Storage Optimizer feature

We take great pride in the roll-out of the “Data Storage Optimizer.” Not because we were involved in building this feature, but because we contributed to the conceptual idea. I really commend the team for working with the community and looking around the ecosystem in understanding the requirements here. By tying your data to your organizational story, your impact as an organization is readily apparent. But large volumes of data can create noise that drown out an organization’s story. Building a bridge to archive data and yet still leverage the summary of impact is a great way to put data to work and not find yourself working for the data.

“Data is not just about proving your mission, but improving it” – Andrew Means, Founder, Data Analysts for Social Good

Elena Iñurrategui of Proyecto Tribo, a partner in Latin America
Elena Iñurrategui of Proyecto Tribo, a partner in Latin America

People Impact

Going into the keynote this year, it was hard to imagine a bigger people-centric story than last year’s keynote where Jessie Rymph proposed to her boyfriend Zach Nostdal. Perhaps the room was waiting for an impromptu wedding, but this year’s keynote did not deliver. Maybe next?

However, the theme of community impact was certainly present in the keynote, and Lori started the day by looking at the people in the room. The community of individuals that come together at Dreamforce is incredible. I don’t think the slides and the visualizations of the attendee data do justice to what Dreamforce is for those that leverage Salesforce and work in this community. It is a coming home of sorts; a chance to meet people you already love, but hadn’t yet met — or to reconnect with those you have.

It was bittersweet for me and the Vancouver Traction team to end the keynote hearing from my friend Elena Iñurrategui. She’s done an incredible job driving Salesforce adoption in the South American Spanish-speaking community, but what she didn’t highlight was the impact she’s had in her time in Vancouver. Thank you Elena for your Vancouver Nonprofit User Group leadership, we will miss you as you shift focus and geographies! We all know that the most important resource we have is each other. I believe people come into our lives for a reason, whether it’s for a season or a lifetime, and each leaves an impact.

To see what you missed from Dreamforce, and to relive the excitement, watch the full Nonprofit Cloud keynote video.




About the Author
Jessica LangelaanIn her role at Traction on Demand, Jessica Langelaan leads the Nonprofit Practice, bringing business acumen into the non-profit sector through the use of, the support of and a team at Traction that uses cloud-based technology to drive transformation. Every organization is a technology organization. In this role, Jessica enables each organization to raise the necessary resources, tell their story and ultimately deliver on their mission through the Salesforce platform.