Salesforce Trailblazers the world over have converged on San Francisco to celebrate Dreamforce 2023. Now in its 21st year, this annual event is nearly indescribable for those who’ve never attended. Both the largest software conference in the world and the jewel in Salesforce’s crown as the #1 CRM, Dreamforce brings together the global Salesforce community for a multi-day event of learning, community building, education, philanthropy, and, not least of all, fun.
The theme of this year’s Dreamforce is all about the future of data and AI, with a special focus on how to incorporate these solutions into Salesforce CRMs with trust and effectiveness in mind.
Cloud for Good is proud to partner with four nonprofit Salesforce representatives, all specializing in different areas of expertise, to provide their instant reactions and first-hand impressions from this year’s nonprofit keynote address. Below are their insights on everything Dreamforce 2023 promises to offer the ecosystem and how the thousands of Salesforce clients representing nonprofit organizations worldwide can make the most of these new innovations.
What were your first impressions of the Dreamforce 2023 Nonprofit Keynote?
Nicole Adair (Principal Solution Engineer, Fundraising Specialist): I love that you can have your program management with outcomes and fundraising all in one place! Many nonprofits have to deal with a different system for every department and that just keeps things siloed and expensive to maintain. Now, fundraisers can see the outcomes of the programs and easily share that information with donors. We know how important that is for donors and now it will be easier than ever!
Serkan Bilgi (Lead Solution Engineer, Grantmaking Specialist): I am very excited about how Nonprofit Cloud is successfully marrying all functional areas of nonprofits, something I would expect from a proper platform. The future of NPC is bright and packed with innovation. We are listening to our partners and customers to deliver state-of-the-art solutions, and now more than ever global philanthropic organizations can break down silos and streamline their processes with NPC for Grantmaking. Outcomes Management has been a long-awaited solution, and I am sure many Foundations will benefit from outcomes weaved into their grantmaking process.
Chrissy Thompson (Lead Solution Engineer, Case Management Specialist): This is just the tip of the iceberg! Keynote speakers discussed Predictive and Generative AI and how donors can generate a more personalized Gift Proposal, but what about leveraging this same technology for our clients, or even our volunteers? Think about it: there are probably thousands of clients your staff are trying to stay on top of. Predictive AI can help generate a list of clients that may not be fully utilizing their benefits. We see this a lot in respite services. Case managers know from experience that once a client starts leveraging the support, they improve their outcomes. However, sometimes staff need an extra pair of eyes to find these clients.
Another example is a nonprofit that helps with employment services. Once they find that initial employment, Predictive AI can transition these clients to career development. This is traditionally the next step in their journey, but keeping track of every client, at every step, can be time-consuming. Then the Generative AI will gather all of their information to craft a personalized letter on how they would benefit from fully taking advantage of all the services they have access to. This takes the administrative time off the staff’s plate, while also becoming a second pair of eyes that no clients are left behind because the human eye missed key values. AI will help staff work smarter and not harder.
Kevin Zeigler (Lead Solution Engineer, Program Management Specialist): I think the biggest takeaway from me is that we’re just getting started with Nonprofit Cloud. In my almost five years here at Salesforce, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen such an accelerated roadmap of innovation for our customers. When you couple all of the incredible nonprofit functionality together with the rest of Salesforce innovation—like Einstein and the new generative capabilities—it’s really game-changing. Now, more than ever, customers can create experiences for their supporters and clients driven by data, powered by AI, and brought together by CRM. It’s really an exciting time to be in the Salesforce ecosystem.
What were your biggest takeaways from the keynote?
Adair: The importance of data. I remember back when I was a fundraiser and we had just transitioned to Salesforce. Previously, we had no transparency in our data and finally gaining transparency through Salesforce was like putting on glasses for the first time! It fundamentally changed the way we did our work because we had the ability to make data-informed decisions. Salesforce just makes this easy for the end-user no matter where they sit. And now if nonprofits get Data Cloud for free? Game changer.
We hear about marketing teams struggling to manage duplicate records. Data Cloud unifies all of that information for you and gives you the power to segment your donors and prospects so you can truly target your messaging. The time savings here are really something to consider.
Bilgi: Before all else, Salesforce is a CRM platform, which uses your data and layers AI on top for nonprofits to maximize their impact. Watching the big push in AI while keeping trust and ethics at the center of technology is exciting. I am also stoked about the free Data Cloud offering for nonprofits, this shows Salesforce is true to its pledge to support nonprofits and keep the community impact at the heart of decision-making.
Thompson: I am excited to see that the shift to Nonprofit Cloud was a direct response from our community and customers. Many of our customers that manage their programs, funding, and direct services through case management need a multitude of functionality. Salesforce pulled together all of our industries to create the Nonprofit Cloud. It’s a synergy between health care, nonprofit, and public sectors.
This will hands down improve workforce efficiency to scale services while maintaining data accuracy and compliance for billing. I just love that regardless of company size or industry, we all are idea-sharing and helping our peers innovate across the board.
Zeigler: Remember the first time you typed something into ChatGPT and received a coherent, useful, and well-written response in return? My mind was blown, and I immediately started using the tool more and more. We’re doing the same thing here at Salesforce, constantly asking more and more of generative AI technology.
How can we bake more relevant and useful AI into the heart of Salesforce in a way that stays true to our value of “Trust” so that our Nonprofit customers can be more efficient and more effective in their daily work? Data Cloud is going to be a huge part of that, and we’re working hard to make sure it’s accessible to our Nonprofit customers.
How do you foresee nonprofit organizations utilizing the new technology revealed in the keynote?
Adair: I hear our nonprofit customers saying how excited they are about AI, but they are also scared. There is fear of AI replacing them and doing their jobs. There is fear that they won’t have the capacity to take advantage of the AI we can offer. There is a lot of excitement around this topic as well as a flood of information that makes it hard to know where to start and how to understand the implications. I strongly encourage nonprofits to take a “crawl, walk, run” approach here.
Maybe generative AI is the easiest to start with: try using GPT to write an email or a case statement for your donors. It’s NOT going to be as good as if a human had written it, but it will help you generate ideas and give you something to work with. Fundraising will always be a relationship business involving humans, ALWAYS. But AI can do some of the work for you so you can focus on the face time and worry less about the administration.
Bilgi: Personally, I am very excited about all NPC solutions coming together for foundations, such as Grantmaking, Fundraising, Program Management, and brand-new Outcome Management. There is huge potential for incorporating Einstein and Data Cloud to create a complete picture. Generative AI will drastically improve the grantmaker and grantseeker experience.
Thompson: I want our nonprofits to know that everyone is at a different phase of their journey. It’s scalable. For those just starting, the Nonprofit Cloud will be the foundation to begin with. Leveraging Nonprofit Cloud and moving off of multiple systems or spreadsheets will be night and day. Then when they are ready, take it to the next step by leveraging all the rich data you have centralized to feed AI. Salesforce has many tools in the toolbox and a massive support system behind it. We are all here to help and we can coach you through your journey.
Zeigler: I have customers tell me all the time that they don’t have enough data or aren’t sure they have enough of the right kind of data to take advantage of AI. I like to think of it as sweeping a room. The room doesn’t look dusty, but when you’re done sweeping into one place, you’re surprised how much was actually there. Customers can get started now with all that Salesforce and Nonprofit Cloud have to offer.
Getting your data into one place and having a unified view of your supporters and clients has never been more achievable than through Data Cloud and Nonprofit Cloud. The use cases are almost endless for how customers can leverage generative AI in their work. We’re laying the groundwork with Nonprofit Cloud, Einstein, and Data Cloud for our customers to truly accelerate their missions in ways never before possible.
Contact Cloud for Good today to learn more about what the Dreamforce 2023 announcements will mean for the future of Salesforce.
Couldn’t make it to this year’s big event? Recap the biggest announcements and presentations on Salesforce+.