Last month, we took a trip to San Francisco to present at Dreamforce, the largest software conference in the world, hosted by Salesforce. As you may be able to tell from our photo above, we had a blast. But it was so much more than flower crowns!
Salesforce's national conference Dreamforce is a week-long series of conversations and presentations meant to inspire innovation and trailblazing ideas. We jumped at the opportunity when our Salesforce implementation partner, Idealist Consulting, invited us to speak about The Community! Special thanks to our Board Member Charlene Laniewski and Dreamforce sponsor, KPMG, for supporting our trip west.
Our presentation,Stop Feeling Lonely: Using Communities to Modernize How Nonprofits Connect, focused on how you--our members--inspired us to build (now nationally recognized!) The Community. Your input about wanting to feel more connected to your peers combined with our strategic plan goals to better serve you led us to create this (again, nationally recognized!) custom online member platform that helps you connect to tools, experts, our staff, and, most importantly, each other.
At Dreamforce, we gave an overview of how The Community came to be. We shared that it took some hard work: we had a few false starts, but we love a learning culture, so we failed fast and moved on. As accidental techies, we needed a platform that was customizable, easy to use, and would match our dynamic new brand. We also wanted something that met our members’ needs, but didn’t break the bank. When we finally decided on The Community, we were able to in part because of support from Salesforce’s Pro Bono Program, but the reality is, we had to make an investment in the platform that would link nearly everything we do to each other, and to you. And it’s working! The data is telling us that you use The Community for it’s forums, the resources, and the HelpLine (in fact, we exceeded our HelpLine goals in FY19, and are already exceeding them again in Q1 of FY20). We’re continuing our work, and are now focused on how to better help each other online and in-person. We’re proud to be a leading example of how nonprofits can use technology to meet their mission and do more good.
After our presentation, we embarked on the Nonprofit Trail, a journey through Dreamforce created for nonprofit leaders focused on driving innovation and impact. We attended sessions on representation and inclusion, and heard leaders at the forefront of the nonprofit sector speak not about the technology itself, but about what the technology enables us to do: to place our relationships with our people at the heart of our innovation; and to re-focus us on our values and our mission and use tech to create exceptional experiences for those we serve.
This was echoed by Keynote Speaker President Barack Obama (casual name drop) who was just as impressed as we were by the astroturf used to simulate grass throughout the conference, and who assigned us some homework: to tap into our innate sense of responsibility for others as we strive to be kind, useful leaders. We learned about the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals, a particular focus at this year’s Dreamforce. We’re inspired to connect how the work of the over 2,200 organizations we serve in the New York City-area is literally making the world a better place.
Throughout Dreamforce, we felt an overwhelming sense of pride about our work and our team at Nonprofit New York: we’re proud of The Community we built and the community of extraordinary nonprofits we serve. We're proud of the depth of the equity work we’ve done internally and the path we’re on to make our programming more accessible, inclusive, and equitable. We’re proud to be living our values of building community, creating a culture of learning, and practicing excellence by bringing back our insights and ideas and sparking moments of inspiration for our team (and hopefully you too!).