Pro Bono Pro Heads to Dreamforce to Support Nonprofits

By Cheryl Timoney | August 31, 2015 | Pro Bono, Volunteering

Garrett Farwell is a popular guy. As a Senior Application Instructor at Salesforce University for the past 3 years, he’s taught several beginners and advanced Salesforce administrator classes. From all those who work with him and learn from him, Garrett comes off as a knowledgeable and dedicated teacher. If he can’t answer the questions in class, once he’s figured out the answer, he posts to his popular “Garrett’s Students” Chatter group.

That dedication doesn’t stop at the end of the workday. Garrett has been an active participant in the Salesforce.org’s Pro Bono Program, both as a pro bono volunteer with a nonprofit and as the lead curriculum developer for Salesforce University’s new nonprofit training class “Get Started with the Nonprofit Starter Pack.” Garrett developed his taste for volunteering in high school and has been involved with the same nonprofit, Rebuilding Together Peninsula (RTP), since then. RTP’s mission is to help low-income homeowners keep up with home repairs. They help seniors and people with disabilities, so that they can live independently in warmth and safety. “I believe in their work and feel it has a direct tangible impact on people’s lives”, Garrett said.

Giving Back

RTP had a problem with their data that is common to many organizations. Volunteers would come and go and the staff changed so their information was spread across several systems. According to Garrett, simple questions, like “how many volunteers volunteered last month,” required pulling data from multiple systems and could take an hour to answer. Garrett recently migrated RTP off its legacy database and implemented the Salesforce Nonprofit Starter Pack (NPSP). After Garrett’s effort, RTP has a bona fide Salesforce implementation and with all their data on the platform, it takes minutes–even seconds to pull the information they need. “Garrett is a wonderful volunteer! With one email or phone call he’ll listen to what our needs are and the next thing we know, we’re receiving a message that the report is waiting in our folder.” Says Annel Aguayo, Senior Development Manager at RTP.

This year at Dreamforce ’15, Garrett will also deliver the first ever Salesforce University-sponsored course geared to Nonprofits! Garrett, and colleagues from Salesforce.org, spent months working to create a course that will help nonprofit Salesforce administrators and end-users understand the features and functionality of the Nonprofit Starter Pack and optimize their system for fundraising and donor management.

Through his volunteer experience Garrett understands that it can be an effort for nonprofits to channel Salesforce functionality and achieve success at their organization. With this instructor-led course, Garrett wants to address the needs of nonprofits. The two-day course is designed for small-to-mid-sized nonprofits that have recently signed up for the Power of Us License Donation Program. Garrett hopes that this course becomes part of Salesforce University curriculum—something that instructors will teach in some regular cadence. In fact, the second class is scheduled for New York City in October.

After these two runs, Garrett thinks we’ll be able to see if there’s enough demand for a Salesforce University course. Given his track record, it’s a sure bet that it will be a winner.


Are you a Salesforce expert looking to give back? Will you be at Dreamforce? Join us for a session on Pro Bono Volunteering with Salesforce Nonprofit Customers on September 15 at 5:15pm. Find out tips and best practices for lending your skills.

And be sure to join Salesforce.org for our Pro Bono / Nonprofit Mixer: DevZone Welcome Meetup!

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