It Matters

It matters what and how people feel about an issue such as treatment at the hands of the police. There are people that feel strongly about the issue on both sides. Very strongly, and with justification. The language used to describe the issue has also been strong. Pervasive, rampant, insidious, in-bedded, over-stated, exaggerated.

Wombat Works builds databases. It’s only one of the things we do, but data drives a lot of things we do. Nonprofits once the home of wonderful feel good stories about their works are now held to a higher standard. Donors and funders now want to know the “outcomes”, what does the data show? Is the nonprofit really changing anything? What is the real problem?

This information isn’t always easy to gather, but collecting information on what is happening can bring insights, and is often required to understand the changes needed and if the proposed solutions are working.

There is a model we use to describe the progression or importance of data; Data, Information, Knowledge, Wisdom.

We went in search of some data and information on police interactions that led to death. We were surprised and saddened to learn that it doesn’t really exist. In spite of congressional instructions to build a database, the FBI collects this data only on a voluntary basis. Bad data or partial data doesn’t help us.

Lacking in the conversations about this are solutions. Now we know why. How can you discuss solutions if we can’t understand the problem? Wouldn’t we have a better discussion, reach better solutions that are embraced or better understood by more of us, and be better able to gauge the effect of the solutions if we had data on the problem?

Why do we hold nonprofit organizations to a higher standard than our government? Doesn’t it make sense that government should track and report its outcomes? Shouldn’t it have to justify the work it does just like an organization that helps tutor kids?

Lives matter. When any one of them is lost as a result of an interaction with our government we need to understand what happened and why it happened. We have to have some knowledge and some wisdom to help understand what happened, and how we fix it. This starts with the data.

Everyone, including our government, needs to track their data to understand the problem, develop smart solutions, and know the impact of their work!

List of killings by law enforcement officers in the United States
Factcheck: Grim statistics on race and police killings
Hundreds of Police Killings Are Uncounted in Federal Stats

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Dreamforce Full Force

I am full. I ate a lot of turkey this past week, but that isn’t why I am full. Dreamforce is the reason. Full is the best way I can describe how I feel after Dreamforce. My head and my heart are full. I get so much from going to Dreamforce that I spend a lot of time trying to share with members of my user group, clients, and basically everyone else, why they should go. I struggle trying to describe it all and often end up saying something like, “and Green Day is the entertainment!”

Not that Green Day wasn’t awesome, and it may even describe the scale, the thoroughness, or the planning put into the conference, but it doesn’t really get to what the experience means, what someone will take away from being at Dreamforce, why they HAVE to go!

Looking back on the Dreamforce conferences that I have been lucky enough to have attended, the experience has changed for me over time. I had different roles or different goals for the conference. I started out a novice, just wondering what Salesforce.com was all about, then became a leader in a small portion of the community. I also attended as I was becoming an Independent Software Vendor, and this year I went as the head of my own company. As a result what I wanted to get out of Dreamforce has changed each time I attended.

What has not changed is that each time I went to Dreamforce, no matter what role, no matter what goals I had, I come away full. Full of knowledge, full of new ideas, new hopes, and certainly new excitement about whatever role or project I was facing.

Dreamforce has a wonderful ability to be able to reach out to almost everyone of the 135,000 attendees and provide them with the experience that brings them what they need! I don’t know how they do it, but I am grateful for it. Thank you!

So my new message is that it doesn’t matter if you are a small nonprofit ED, or a Director of Development for a multi location nonprofit, or a potential Salesforce.com Admin for your Art based nonprofit, Dreamforce will fill you up with passion, knowledge, and engergy! And you also get to see Green Day.

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Lets Get this Party Started

Some of you may know me, I have been part of the Salesforce.com (SFDC) nonprofit community for almost seven years, and have worked with dozens of nonprofits. I have also been the Philadelphia Nonprofit User Group leader for that time period.

I have always seen myself as a nonprofit technology resource and often tell nonprofits I come in contact with that, “I would prefer you do it right the first time with someone else, than to work with you to fix it later. Nonprofits can’t afford to do it twice, so just reach out if you have a question.”

It is in this spirit that I have started Wombat Works, and the focus of this blog. How to help Nonprofits get it right the first time! I will be looking at this in the coming months and will look to partner with anyone who shares that goal.

Thanks for checking in!

Dean