About 10 years ago, I was the Director of Resource Development and the spokesperson of a nonprofit organization that worked with at-risk youth to reduce school dropout rates, eradicate illegal drug usage, and prevent criminal activities. My organization loved to collect information. When I joined, I inherited the organization’s most prized possession: an exhaustive, exhausting Excel spreadsheet with all the donors and foundations contacted since the organization’s inception. The thousands of rows and hundreds (yes, hundreds!) of columns included the donors’ social investment interests, who had contacted them, when they were contacted, how much money was asked for, and how much was received. I could go on and on about all of the information contained in this spreadsheet, but I imagine you get the jist. This was (by far!) the largest spreadsheet I have ever seen in my life.

I quickly realized that Excel was not the right tool to manage the organization’s (or any organization for that matter) institutional memory, so I started looking for tools to better manage donors, participants, and volunteers. It was through this search that I learned about Salesforce. At the time, my organization could not afford one of the Salesforce implementation partners, which left us with two options: find a different application or implement Salesforce on our own. I spent the next year learning everything I could about Salesforce and even attended a Salesforce Administrator class. The more I learned, the more I fell in love with the platform! I started the first nonprofit user group in Israel and within 2 years our number grew from 5 members to 100 members. People kept asking me questions about the platform and were seeking more information, so I decided to start Cloud for Good and began charging for my services.

Cloud for Good (www.cloud4good.com) is a Salesforce Foundation Strategic Partner that works with nonprofit organizations and educational institutions to create and implement Salesforce solutions. 2015 has been an amazing year for us – we were named to the Inc. 5000 list for the second year in a row with a 750% growth in revenue over three years, we received the Best Place to Work award and we took up the Pledge 1% challenge (we donate 1% of our profit, our products and our employees’ time to nonprofit organizations). This tremendous growth has allowed Cloud for Good to continue doing well, while doing good within our respective communities.

As my involvement with the Salesforce continues to grow, I continue to be amazed by the Salesforce Community and ecosystem, as it is active, vibrant, and an extremely helpful group of individuals. Through the many Salesforce community channels, I have heard from clients and prospects that they are seeking improved ways to find and engage exceptional, Salesforce certified consultants for their projects. Based on this this feedback, I decided to create a straightforward platform that would connect consultants with clients, establishing an unparalleled resource within the Salesforce community. .

Several weeks ago, I launched CRM Market (www.crmmarket.com), a web-based marketplace that connects passionate Salesforce consultants with customers who need quality, affordable implementation services. In addition to helping clients find the best and most experienced talent for their projects, this has become a bold social experiment. Interactions occur between the clients and hundreds of consultants. My hope is that consultants will begin to interact with each other as well. Today, clients only receive feedback about their projects from the consultants they work with, but what what if a client can get feedback from hundreds of consultants?

Throughout my varied experiences with technology, as a client/user, a consultant, and a business owner, my vision has remained the same: organizations should not be limited by technology to achieve their missions; technology should be available to enhance an organization’s mission. I have been and continue to be impressed and excited by what Salesforce has to offer because of its ability to move organizations forward. In a time of changing technologies, Salesforce provides a solid foundation while being more agile, responsive and innovative towards doing business, in both the public and private sectors.

Follow Tal, Cloud for Good and CRM Market on Twitter.

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