As we begin a new year full of resolutions and desires for personal and professional improvement, I thought it fitting to start a new series. In this 5-part series titled “Becoming a Well Rounded Admin”, we will cover topics which are key for any Administrator looking to grow in their knowledge of Salesforce, and become more effective in their workplace. The topics are based on my own learning experience, and what I have found beneficial to my own personal growth. I hope that you enjoy reading the series as much as I have enjoyed writing it!

Becoming a Well Rounded Admin: Part 1 – Volunteering

Volunteering. What comes to mind when you hear that word? I bet that most of you didn’t think “Salesforce!” There are thousands of non-profits who are leveraging the power and flexibility of Salesforce to run their organizations. But in some cases, these organizations need a little bit of help from the outside to implement, perpetuate or refine their org. Volunteering with a non-profit can open up a whole new world of opportunity and learning which can’t always be found in your normal 9-to-5 job.

Here are 6 reasons why you should consider volunteering.

1. Expand Your Network

Everyone is trying to grow their professional network and volunteering is a great way to do this. Meeting and working with new people outside of your organization opens the opportunity for building relationships which is hard to do via LinkedIn or a large event such as Dreamforce. Networks become more effective when you know the individuals personally and can cultivate the relationship.

2. Use Your Skills

Volunteering is a great way to utilize the Salesforce skills you have learned through self-training or certification. Venturing into another org helps to solidify your knowledge of the platform by challenging your perspective.  Jumping into another org, especially a mature one, is like having cold water thrown in your face. It is refreshing and will keep you on your toes. Depending on the organization, you might be able to use skills and knowledge learned through your college degree program. Most Administrators I have talked to didn’t go to college to become an Admin. Volunteering could provide an opportunity to use the skills and knowledge gained through your college education. Hopefully that will make you feel better about paying those college loans!

3. Learn Something New

Continuous learning is really important and is one of the pillars discussed in the famous 7 Habits of a Highly Successful Admin session at Dreamforce. The requirements and customization needs of another company may force you to learn about features of the platform that you haven’t had to use before. Growing in your knowledge of the platform will only reap dividends in your career. Thankfully, there is not a limit to the amount of knowledge you can consume. However, unless you are a real self-starter, sometimes you need a little kick to get your learning engines started. Volunteering is a great way to do that.

4. Build Your Resume

Never underestimate the power that volunteering can have on your resume. Volunteer experience can give you a leg-up on the competition when searching for a new career. In the New York Times article Volunteering Rises on the Resume, LinkedIn explains that the new Volunteer section of the profile was one of the most requested features! People and businesses are seeing the value and importance of volunteering. Building your resume shouldn’t be the only reason to volunteer, but it is a great fringe benefit.

5. Salesforce Does It

Those who have been around Salesforce long enough know that Salesforce operates under the 1/1/1 model where the company volunteers 1% of their time, donates 1% of their income and 1% of their resources to the community. This is all done through the 501(c)(3) Salesforce Foundation. If you have ever attended Dreamforce, you know that volunteering and giving back to the community is a key part of the Salesforce culture. As a member of the Salesforce community, we should see ourselves as an extension of Salesforce and help to fulfill the 1/1/1 mission in our local communities.

6. To Give Back

Non-profit organizations do so much good for our communities; from keeping kids off the streets and encouraging their academic success, to caring for abused and neglected animals, to feeding and housing the homeless and everything in between. Volunteering is a great way to thank a non-profit for the work that they do. Plus, getting involved isn’t only beneficial to you, but to your community as a whole.

So, how can you get started?
Start by looking at online volunteer boards. The Community Corps* and VolunteerMatch are two fantastic websites for discovering volunteer opportunities in your area, or virtually. Volunteering will truly make you a well-rounded administrator, and you will feel good doing!

Do you currently volunteer your Salesforce skills? Share your experience; leave a comment!

Related posts in this series:
Becoming a Well Rounded Admin: Part 2 – Certification
Becoming a Well Rounded Admin: Part 3 – Expanding Your Role

*Special thanks to reader Ramesh Kali for recommending this website!

21 thoughts on “ Volunteering – Becoming a Well Rounded Admin: Part 1 ”

  1. Brent – good read and great ideas! Volunteering sounds like a great way to grow your skill sets as a Salesforce admin and/or developer. One question for you… what type of pricing model does Salesforce provide to non-profits?

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    1. Thanks for your feedback! Through the Salesforce Foundation, Salesforce provides 10 licenses for free to a qualifying non-profit organizations. If additional licenses are needed, they are provided at a “deep discount” (according to their website). I am not sure what the going rate is at the moment. The non-profit I volunteer with is using less than 10 so I haven’t heard specific pricing numbers.

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      1. Awesome, thanks for the info! I’ve submitted a couple applications to volunteer my skills through VolunteerMatch.com…awesome site!

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  2. Thanks Brent. We’ve recently come aboard as a salesforce.com implementor in Sydney, Australia. I spotted your post from a linkedin post from a contact at salesforce.com Australia. I’ve passed on this blog to our first salesforce.com client who happens to be a not for profit. Thanks for the great content.

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  3. Through my “paid job” I use Salesforce.com. However, I am active in a new nonprofit that uses Donor Perfect. My Salesforce skills and “mind set” have been extremely important in setting up the nonprofit’s donor system. Thank you, Salesforce.com.

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  4. Dear Brent,

    I found your blog just a couple of days ago while browsing the net for some Salesforce information for absolutely beginners.

    I’ve just jumped on the Salesforce train, aiming first to make my hands dirty and get some Salesforce basics, with a mid-range goal becoming an SF admin and getting the cool ADM201 certificate 🙂

    Thanks so much for your “Becoming a Well Rounded Admin” arcticle which helped me carefully choose my first steps:

    – getting the Salesforce basics (self-study, books, videos)
    – volunteering for some non-profits and getting some experience
    – preparing for a certification exam
    – getting the coveted ADM 201 certificate

    The journey is long but I’m full of excitement and can’t wait to join the admin community one day 🙂

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    1. Simeon, thank you for your comment! I hope that the blog has been helpful! Sounds like you are taking a good approach. The key is to get your hands dirty! Self-study and hands-on practice are how a lot of administrators start so I think you are on the right track! Good luck!

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  5. Brent, if people are interested in volunteering in and around Philadelphia, here is a great website: They are in great need of SFDC help.

    Thanks for waving the service flag!

    Kathy

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  6. Another great article Brent – love the info about volunteering rising to the top of the resume – didn’t know that. Keep up the great work!

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  7. Hello Brent:

    I am working on my SalesforceAdmin Certification (ADM 201). I loved your volunteering idea and signed up for a project with Community Corp deploying salesforce. I hope to get a positive response from them. THANKS A BUNCH!!

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  8. Hi,

    I just signed up for salesforce admin 201 course and have got 4 weeks to complete the training.
    currently am in philadelphia..I would like to gain some experience in admin 201 field by volunteering.
    which will help me to fetch a job in the sa me field here in usa.

    can you pls guide how to gain that hands on experience and opportunities. I do not want to wait till I complete the entire training
    coz am doing parallel study in my own ways.

    I want to reach out to maximum way to get a real time experience in salesforce admin 201.

    Please help
    Thankyou
    Latha

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  9. Hi,

    I am Usha from India. I have done my certification in Salesforce App Builder. Currently preparing for my Developer certification.
    I would like to volunteer as a Salesforce Administrator.I searched a lot of non profit orgs for volunteering, but I am unable to register because India is not there in the list of options available in the “country” field.
    If someone knows any non profit organisations which accepts people working from India, it would be very helpful if can mention the website names.

    Thanks & Regards,
    Usha B V

    Like

  10. Hello Brent,
    I’m a licensed Salesforce Administrator and would love to volunteer my time and knowledge to help out non profit organizations, and get some hands on experience at the same time. I’m based in Austin TX, so please let me know of any opportunities around Austin and/or any online opportunity as well.
    Thank you,
    Hema

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    1. Hi Hema, Did you got any volunteer opportunity in Texas for Salesforce Admin I am in Dallas looking for any salesforce admin volunteer job. Please let me know

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  11. Hi Brent and everyone,

    I am madly in love with Salesforce since the day i discovered, and have started studying it in a bid to write the ADMIN 201 exams. However i need a Salesforce volunteer job to help me sharpen my skill. I will be very glad if you can help me with one in Massachusetts or neighboring states.

    Like

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