Wed, 4 September 2019
Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’re hosted by special guest, Marc Baizman. Before becoming a Senior Admin Evangelist at Salesforce, Marc worked at Salesforce.org and in the nonprofit world. In our mini-series, Salesforce for Good, we’ll explore all the different ways Salesforce is used in the nonprofit world, and meet the folks who are making that happen. This week, we have Zachery Tapp, who at the time of this interview was Senior Director of Technology and Business Intelligence at Cradles to Crayons.
Join us as we talk about just how complex nonprofits can get with their business processes, how Cradles to Crayons receives, tracks, and sorts their donations, and the growth that Zachery has seen in the nonprofit Salesforce community.
You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Zachery Tapp.
The complex business operations of Cradles to Crayons.
Cradles to Crayons provides essentials for kids from birth to age twelve for low-income and homeless families. “We have a mantra at Cradles that quality equals dignity, so we never want to give away anything that we wouldn’t be comfortable giving to our own kids,” Zachery says. That means that everything in their warehouses in Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, and New York needs to be inspected by an army of volunteers. It also means some heavy logistical work allocating those items to kids and families that need them and getting them to a place where they can pick them up.
Marc has actually volunteered as one of the people who sort through items. “The level of quality is higher than I was even expecting as a volunteer,” Marc says. Getting all of this to happen involves a huge amount of logistics. “We leverage a customer community that really connects our programs portion to our inventory data,” he says, all of which lives in Salesforce. Their implementation handles everything from vetting to assigning work to volunteers to evaluating donations and generating documents.
“We take donations of every essential, so figuring out not only how we account for that stuff once it comes in the warehouse but how do we ensure that the person who cleans their closet out and drops it off at our warehouse gets properly thanked and acknowledged for their efforts,” Zachery says. They leverage Campaigns to help, which also enables them to do more complicated things like help someone organize a neighborhood drive.
How Zachery got involved in tech.
“I was a sociology major,” Zachery says, “when I graduated I thought for a while that I wanted to get into community organizing, and then I realized pretty quickly that I was too much of an introvert.” He ended up doing AmeriCorps for two years which landed him firmly in nonprofits working in information systems. He started out working with someone with a computer science and engineering background but had to step in and finish the implementation with Google as his guide, eventually becoming the Salesforce admin.
Zachery split his time with another organization in the same building, and both companies were using the Nonprofit Success Pack (at the time the Nonprofit Starter Pack). “A lot of my time there was spent bringing their Development module online,” he says. They were working on moving a homebrew solution to the cloud, and that meant a lot of learning to make that happen.
Why being a solo admin doesn’t mean going it alone.
As an accidental admin, “the term ‘solo admin’ was very real in that you felt like you were on a bit of an island unless you had established contacts,” Zachery says. As the platform has progressed, he’s really taken notice of the strength of the community through the Power of Us Hub. “Salesforce has done a really great job of lifting up individuals,” he says, lifting up the people who are really great resources for the rest of the community.
Zachery also got a lot of help along the way through the great consultants he’s worked with who have opened their networks up to him (Marc included). “The Salesforce community always has an open-door policy,” he says, “very rarely if ever have I gotten an ‘Oh, I don’t have time for that.’”
As far as advice he has for other admins in a similar spot, Zachery has a few things to say. “I feel like I initially learned a lot by just googling every single problem that I came across,” he says, “but learning the parts of the platform that you don’t use every day is huge.” Finding the time to work with every part of the platform makes you a much more well-rounded admin, and you never know when it may serve you in the future.
Full Show Transcript