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3 Influential Takeaways From Salesforce Nonprofit Summit

5.26.22 By: Alison Wandschneider

Last week, Salesforce hosted its annual Salesforce Nonprofit Summit. The event included mainstage events with high-profile speakers, sessions for collaborating with peers in the nonprofit industry, and hands-on workshops aimed at honing your Salesforce skills. If you were late to the party or didn’t have time to attend, we’ve compiled our top three takeaways from this year’s Nonprofit Summit. 

A pervasive theme we saw throughout the two-day event was an emphasis on people and relationships as the core of technological evolution. Building meaningful relationships is central to initiating real change in our communities. These can be fostered between an organization and the folks they serve, between donors and organizations, or even between consultants and organizations. In any configuration, relationships are everywhere and essential. As we’ve learned in the last couple of years, these connections can be established and nurtured both in person and virtually.

In what ways can you cultivate key relationships in your work and community? And how might technology play a supporting role? Read on for three Nonprofit Summit highlights we found most inspiring.

1. An invitation to “move from generosity to justice”

Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation, shared his insights on the philanthropic industry and the important work currently happening in the space, as well as areas where there is room to grow. In his uplifting presentation, he invited listeners to move towards justice in our work. To me, this is a reminder to center communities and the nonprofits that serve them when considering giving and philanthropy. 

By centering the needs of these groups, we are trusting community leaders to know what they need, and we are effectively investing in change. Walker shared an example specific to the nonprofit sector - he encouraged leveraging technology to streamline and centralize grant applications and reporting in order to reduce the burden on organizations. As a former nonprofit employee, I have seen the potential for tech implementations to make real change in our communities. 

How to take action: You can center communities, nonprofits, and leaders in your giving by making consistent unrestricted gifts that allow for the largest possible impact.

2. The importance of agility

The ability to pivot and maintain agility is essential in enacting systemic change. This concept was a recurring theme throughout the event, but it stood out in the initial mainstage conversation with Mary’s Meals. The team began with an idea, and through creativity, inspiring others, and leveraging technology, they have built a movement that feeds children around the world.

While it is important to have a clear vision and mission, it is foundational to be open to new opportunities by listening to the needs of the communities you serve. As these needs shift and change over time, nonprofits must maintain a sense of agility and willingness to adapt to new conditions.

How to take action: It can be helpful to take a moment to think about how you and your work continue to evolve based on the needs of your organization and the community you serve.

3. Including the voice of young people

The panel conversation on activism in a digital-first world discussed the many different facets of the environmental justice movement. This included highlighting those most affected by climate change (differently-abled folks, young people, etc.), the importance of voting, and how each of us can enact change. Throughout the conversation, there were a number of references to innovative thinking and passions that young people bring to social movements.

The climate change crisis and access to technology have been key pillars of society throughout their lives, giving younger generations a unique opportunity to influence change from a new perspective.

How to take action: Consider in what capacities the voices of young people are present in the decisions you make in your work and at your organization. How are we tapping into this community to broaden our learning opportunities?

Over the course of the two-day summit, we heard from influential leaders in the nonprofit industry, as well as experts on how technological evolution can drive more impact in this work. If you’re still curious about these concepts or would like to learn more about how tech solutions could enhance your organization’s mission, feel free to send us a message!

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