I spent a powerful and humbling day in Washington DC at the end of January with many others working on the Nonprofit Starter Pack as a free, community-driven, and shared tool for organizations using Salesforce. A very special thanks to Ryan Ozimek and picNET for organizing and hosting this year’s first NPSP Sprint, and to all the amazing dedicated community members who turned out. It reminded me why I got into this business in the first place: to be of service.
Sometimes, there are so many things happening at once in the worlds we occupy, it’s easy to lose sight of this basic premise. Businesses and nonprofits want and need to make money, technology moves at an incredible rate, and today’s strategy will soon be yesterday’s afterthought.
I’ve said on many occasions that times and people change. But through it all, there are things that are immutable: desire for a better world, innovation and adaptation based on this desire, and the people and institutions who make these things happen.
Lately, I’ve been reflecting a lot on how to sustain permanent change in a transient world. An everyday meditation on the axiom of, “this, too, shall pass away.” The answer isn’t a simple equation, and doesn’t boil down to simply “buy this product,” “win this campaign,” or, “be like X.” To me, it comes down to values and the community that shares and supports them.
The best I’ve concluded is that we are drawn together by the tool we use, Salesforce, in a meaningful way, because we’re using it to literally effect change. Sometimes this change is as focused as helping a family stay together and connected, and other times it’s as broad and overarching as banning hydraulic fracturing in the State of New York.
I don’t often write these kinds of love-notes, but I’ve been feeling the need to reflect on how far we’ve really come. Especially when I spend a day with folks like I did that day in January, many who traveled at their own expense to share community and make something better for everyone. If half of being successful is simply feeling capable of success in the first place, then these are some of the values of creating success that I’ve seen sustain and nurture the Salesforce nonprofit community through the years:
- Knowledge is a shared resource.
- Information is freely given.
- We don’t leave people behind.
- We go the extra mile to help others.
- We ask for humility and service, with and from each other.
- We are humble in success, courageous in failure, and support each other in both.
- We consider elevating the achievements of the people who come after us.
- We value all contributions.
- We favor inclusion, even when we don’t fully understand.
I also reflect a lot on women in technology; it’s part passion and part obsession. On a personal note, I’d add to these values that we strive to elevate women and seek structural adjustments in the realm of IT to better advance women – both inside nonprofits and for-profits. I’ll have more to say on this after the forthcoming NTEN Conference.
And lastly, as I’m often reminded to do for myself, as a community we have fun and share joy. I’ve seen births and birthdays, test scores, crafting fairs and conventions, partnerships, prom nights, jokes, dinners and dates all shared together, sometimes by folks who only know each other by their avatars, and see each other once a year at Dreamforce. In a sea of competitors, limited nonprofit resources, emerging technologies, sales and projects, hopes and fears, we find time to celebrate each other and share some of our humanity together.
Every day, I’m reminded that a drop of authenticity can outweigh a bucket of shiny, and thank you.