Top Tip # 2

User Meme

So, you’re a new admin adding users to your organization. But what do all those fields really mean?

Create New user

You enter the first name, the last name, alias auto-populates and then you look at the next field.

Add New User

Email. Easy enough. Enter the new user’s email. Username. Re-enter the email? It might work and it might not. You see, email needs to be an actual existing email that the user can access to activate his account, receive notifications etc. Username, while in an email format, does not have the be a real email. It is a unique login for a user and can not be used in multiple accounts.

User Error

In this scenario, “” has already been used for another org and is not able to be the username for this new user. We can replace it with unique text in email format and then press save. New user created!


Salesforce Certification: My Journey

With 3 Salesforce Certifications under my belt (and one earned today!), I feel that it’s time for me to share my experiences and paths to this accomplishment. For many, the exam seems daunting and they shy away from it.  Please read on and check out the resources below to find your path to certification.

ADMINISTRATOR: About 9 months after being introduced to Salesforce, I realized that career potential and decided to actively pursue one. I quickly realized that the first step was to become certified. In preparation, I attended the ADM 201 which was a disappointment to me. There wasn’t much that I learned and with the high price, I didn’t feel that the class was worth it. Also, it doesn’t cover all the topics you need for the exam

At the conclusion of the week-long course, I spent 2 weeks reviewing it and the other topics listed in the study guide. I then felt confident to take the exam…..and passed!

DEVELOPER: About 1.5 years later, I started preparing for the Dev 401 exam. It is very similar to the Admin exam so in retrospect I would recommend you do it immediately after. This time, I watched a recorded Salesforce course and reviewed the necessary information. I looked over the study guide, felt that I scored high enough and went for it….and passed!

**Tip: Use the study guide as a…guide. Gauge your knowledge of each topic and give yourself a rating. Once you score over 85% – 90%, you should have sufficient knowledge to pass the test.

ADVANCED ADMINISTRATOR: For this exam, I followed David Liu‘s recommendation. I went though the study guide topic by topic and read the relevant Salesforce documentation on it. Then, I rated my knowledge on each topic. My last step was to go through the flashcards. All this done, I felt ready to take the exam…and passed!

So yes, with lots of studying and prepping, I passed these 3 exams on the first try.

You can do it too!

Tip #1: Review the study guide. I can’t stress it enough. It outlines exactly what you need to know and what percentage of the exam it covers. Adjust your studying accordingly.

Tip #2: Watch videos on topics you’re not familiar with. If you don’t have hands-on experience with a specific feature, it is sometime hard to visualize what you read on it.

Tip #3: Use flashcards and mock exams. While they may not accurately reflect the exams, they will help you think in a question/answer format and probe into areas you may have overlooked.



Udacity: Intro to Point & Click App Development: Great place to get hands on overview of many Salesforce functions.

Trailhead: Another great place to get aquainted with Salesforce

SFDC99: Guide to Passing all Salesforce Certifications The New Crowdfunding

 Launched in the beginning of 2014, this crowdfunding site has run over 380 campaigns,  raising over $24,000 000 for various non-profits. They credit their success to these 3 campaign criteria:

1. Three matchers. That’s right. You need 3 donors (or groups of donors) that will match dollar for dollar all donations received to reach their goal. So if your organization wants to raise $250,000, then you need 3 donors of $62,500 (is my math correct?) to match the rest of the participants. On the flip side, every dollar donated has quadruple impact; $50 becomes $200, $1000 becomes $4000….

2. It’s all or nothing. You reach your goal, you get all the money. Should you not, the funds are returned to the donors.

3. Only 24 hours. Every campaign runs for 24 hours. Any start and finish time. But it’s only 24 hours.

“To date, campaigns have an 100% success rate!”

Why the interest and why the success?

I watched in astonishment as hundreds of charities ran fundraising campaigns with Charidy. My astonishment changed to delight as I watched the funds come in and goals reached. This week, an organization that I support ran such a campaign and I finally got it.

The thrill

The anxiety

The excitement

The tension

The stress

The emotion

The passion

The care.

The support

Because, for only 24 hours, every dollar donated would be matched by three matchers and it’s all or nothing.

Simple and brilliant.

For 24 hours, supporters were glued to their phones and computers, watching the success of the campaign, calling friends and relatives to donate, posting on social media and spreading the word. There was a hype and frenzy that comes about when there is so much at stake. And then we hit the goal and the stress and anxiety left. Elation and exhilaration kicked in.

Another Charidy success.


Disclaimer: This post is purely my thoughts and not written at the request or behest of any company or organization.

Power of Us Hub: A Love Affair

Like flour is to a cake.

Like water is to a pool.

Like a smile is to a face.

Like the HUB is to NPSP users. Or just non-profit Salesforce users. Or soon to be users.


When I first stumbled through Google some three years ago in search of answers and solutions for my Salesfore org, I came across 2 Google Group forums dedicated to users of the NPSP. It was there that I was first introduced to the wonderful community of Salesforce. There were hundreds of threads on various topics, ideas and solutions for best practices, and a place to connect with other users.

It was at first sight.

Since then, the NPSP community has grown by leaps and bounds (I know, Cliche, right?) and the updates the Salesforce Foundation made to the system are incredible. But to me, the most incredible change is the HUB.

Sooo, what is it?

Its a private community for non-profit users – whether you use the NPSP or not. Its a place to connect, to discover, to learn, to share, to inspire and to be inspired. It’s a place to get answers, discuss solutions and brainstorm ideas. But the first word that comes to my mind is “COMMUNITY“. There is a vibe and family ambiance of caring and helping each other that goes beyond the written words on my screen.

I must admit, that at first I was quite lost. I would login (**Using my regular login!!- no new usernames and passwords to remember!**), look around, get intimidated after a bit, and then logout. All the time. Here and there I would deviate and join a group. And that was it. And the Weekly Chatter Digest was ignored. But slowly, things changed (mostly along with the new interface). I would see a question and think, “Hey, I know the answer to that!” or, “Wow, we had the same problem. What is their solution?” And that’s when I fell in love again. And I joined more discussions, and asked questions, and learned, and reached out. And that’s when I realized the Power of US: Me, you and you and you and you. Yes YOU. All of US together, empowering each other.  

So if you are a Non-Profit User, and have not logged into the HUB yet, do so now. It will be a transforming experience for you and your organization.


According to Salesforce Foundation:

The Power of Us Hub is a one-stop resource center where customers of the Salesforce Foundation can find resources and training specific to nonprofit and higher education users, engage with one-another, and connect with employees, MVP’s in our community, and relevant partners.

  • Ask Questions
  • Answer a Question
  • Collaborate
  • Share resources
  • Access Nonprofit Starter Pack documentation
  • and lots more to come . . .

Login by visiting, and the logging in with your regular (non-profit) Salesforce username.

Top Tip #1


Display a lookup in a related list. For example, when viewing a Contact record, we wanted to see the Campaign an Opportunity is associated with. Unfortunately, this is not possible using the standard interface.

My Solution:

Create a formula field that populates/references the lookup field (Campaign) and then add that field to the related list (no need to have it in your page layout).


Now you can go into the weekend with ease of mind.

Security: Theory or Reality?

Security has taken over our lives.The average person has over 6 passwords that they use regularly. Our homes, phones and computers are flooding with security controls, apps and codes. But can we really control this?

Enter Salesforce

Salesforce has layers of security features to create a super strong infrastructure. There are features to secure your org, your users and your data. A general understanding of the available options is essential to creating a powerful and complex security model. The best place to start learning this is by watching this video series.

  • Password Policies: Studies have show that most people create simple and easily guessed passwords for even the most sensitive of data. As an administrator, you should consider enforcing password policies regarding the length, character usage and expiration time of each password.
  • Login IP Ranges: Set this for your organization (users can request an authentication code to login from an outside IP) and/or on a profile level to limit user’s access to predetermined IP ranges.
  •  Login Session Times: Limit the time a user (based on profile) can login  to Salesforce. **Note, that leaving it blank does not lock them out, it gives unlimited time for that day. The start and end time should be the same to lock them out for a specific date**
  • Object Access, Organization-Wide Defaults, CRED Permisions, Hierarchy etc: There are the key to data security, control, access and visibility in your org! Again, There are the key to data security, control, access and visibility in your org!
  • Data Backup: If you don’t have your data regularly backed up, do so now. I mean it. Stop reading this….go backup your data!


CRED = What a user can DO

OWD = What a user can SEE

These serve as a baseline for your organization security. settings. For example, although a user may be granted access to see records through role hierarchy, they will not be able to edit unless they have “Read” permissions for that object.

Always start with the most restrictive settings and open access as needed. It is easier to open then restrict as needed (think Hierarchy and Permission sets – they open access).


Create a chart listing all all users/profiles along with the CRED and OWD settings they should have per object. This will guide you as you build you security model. Ask yourself questions as to what data a user needs to see, to edit. This will help you determine the appropriate features and settings needed for your org.

“With great power comes great responsibility” 

Hello world!

Welcome to Clouds ‘n’ Tricks!

Im coming up to the 3.5 year mark since I was first introduced to Salesforce. It’s been a long journey of struggles, trials, frustration, triumphs, ecstasy and lots of adrenaline. I hope you will join me on my journey now as I aim to share some of my thoughts and insights with others.

Each blog post will focus on a specific feature, a challenge overcome or a tip to share. It is not a step-by-step tutorial though I will often direct your to the appropriate resource.

I look forward to addressing any questions you may have and learning together.

Ciao for now,


List views: Misused or Underused?

One of my greatest hardships as a SFDC Admin is that my end users were not immediately trained on how to create and use list views. When I took over the instance, I made it my mission to teach my team their way around list views. Over time, I realized that list views are usually thought of as “quick views” and most of it’s functionality ignored.

If you are not familiar with List Views, visit this page to learn more about it.

Here are some of my favorite tips. What are yours?

  • Give the view an clear name: So often we are temped to quickly type something in and move on. I am guilty of having list views called “blabla”, “test1” and “asdfg”. This will only cause you to never use them again since you don’t know what it contains thus leading you to have duplicate lists.And who wants to scroll through an endless list of inept list views to find their top accounts?!
  • Delete unused/temp lists: If you have to scroll though your list views to find the one you need, you probably have too many. Reconsider what data each one is offering and whether the list you created is still relevant or needed.
  • Filter Logic: You know that you can filter by owner, (campaigns) and fields, but are you using filter logic? They allow you to group your filters together and create more complex criteria.
    Using filter logic

    This screenshot demonstrated filtering contacts by OWNER, CAMPAIGN and FIELDS with LOGIC.

  • Sort list views: Most columns (excluding fields like multi-select picklists) can be sorted to quickly organize you data in ascending or descending order. Just click on the heading to sort according to that column. Also, you can quickly navigate alphabetically through a list by clicking on the appropriate letter on the top right side of the list. **Note: the list will display according to the column currently selected.**
  • Inline List Editing: If you do not have inline list editing enabled for your organization, consider enabling it now. It allows you to directly click into some fields and edit them. You can also a few records at a time by selecting them and clicking on the field you wish to edit. A popup will ask you for the changes and whether to apply to all selected records or the one clicked on. **Note: You can not do inline editing when using filter logic. You can only use one record type (included in the filters) for inline list editing)**

Most Importantly: 

Train your users: One of the best things you can do for yourself and your team is to well train them in the usage of list views. It will empower them to review and prepare their data independently (a headache off your head) as well as give them starting tools for report creation.