Hey, reader. We see you. We see that you’re struggling, that you’re overwhelmed, that quite possibly you didn’t realize you would be acting as your organization’s Salesforce admin on top of your other responsibilities, yet here you are. A common way to describe your role is “ad hoc admin”. And trust us – you are definitely not alone! We understand where you’re coming from because we’ve been in your shoes. Basically, we would love to help you get some support. This support may come in the form of working with an external virtual administrator (also known as virtual admin or “VA”). A virtual admin is a very real person whose job is to help you focus, prioritize, and execute on changes to your system, reporting, keeping up with system upgrades, and generally keeping your users happy. Is it hard to know whether working with a virtual admin is the right move for you? Let’s start with some of the most common pains that Salesforce admins at nonprofit organizations face and then talk about how enlisting an experienced and knowledgeable VA can help you overcome them. At the end of the day, you are not alone and it doesn’t have to be this way! Read on to learn more.
You’re constantly reinventing the wheel
Many ad hoc admins can get stuck in the cycle of having to continually invent – or reinvent – ways to address issues with their system or handle requests as they come up. This can lead to frustration, burnout, and inefficient or overly complicated processes. (See our second point below.) An experienced virtual admin has a perspective that’s informed by their work with many other organizations in addition to their specialized training. They know what’s been successful for organizations like yours, so you don’t have to feel like you’re starting from scratch every time. Virtual admins help align your organization with best practices and offer a helpful perspective based on their wide range of exposure to other organizations.
Your organization has complex needs
Salesforce environments in the nonprofit space can be a labyrinth to navigate; full of complicated automations and a lack of knowledge or documentation about why things are the way they are. It’s super common for urgent issues to push that critical documentation or important big-picture item to the back burner. The impact of that is often felt much later: when you have staff turnover, or need to adjust something you built a year ago and can’t remember why you decided on that particular approach. This can make it very hard for internal admins to see the forest for the trees, scale up effectively or make the best decisions about how to align ad hoc requests with the overall business objectives. Virtual admins can help break through some of these barriers and identify the best ways to streamline and optimize your environment. Additionally, they consider the ripple effect of any updates or changes to existing automations, helping ensure you can get the result you need without making things even more complicated.
Too many cooks in the kitchen
A lot of organizations, particularly smaller to medium-sized ones where staff are asked to wear lots of different hats in order to make the most of limited resources, have too many Salesforce users with the ability to change settings and access admin-level processes in their environments. This can result in people inadvertently working against each other, duplicating work or creating environments that are increasingly difficult to navigate, especially for new staff. Virtual admins can help put structure and process around any admin-level change to the Salesforce environment, with a goal of making things easier rather than more complicated. Having a specialized expert owning the administration of your environment will help keep things on track when things pop up, which they always do. Virtual admins can help keep the executive needs, user needs and system all aligned and ensure that any changes in setup are carefully considered.
It’s hard to measure your impact
Nonprofit organizations, particularly in human services, often struggle to produce the data or reporting needed to accurately measure and demonstrate their impact. Measuring and demonstrating impact is critical when it comes to accessing funding or grants that help keep critical programs running. Ad hoc admins are often so overwhelmed with user-level requests and keeping the lights on (so to speak) that aligning the system to effectively measuring impact can feel like too much to manage. In comes the virtual admin! Virtual admins can provide the critical professional guidance and best practices to help organizations get out of the weeds of the day-to-day and focus on what matters most for long-term sustainability: measuring and demonstrating their social impact.
If the points above strike a chord with you, then perhaps it’s time to talk to your leadership about working with a Salesforce virtual administrator. Interested to learn more about the virtual admin services offered through the Customer Success Center at Exponent Partners? Check this out. Better yet, reach out to us.