How to Organize a #Trailhead4All Event in Your Local Community/Nonprofit

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A few weeks ago, I posted my first blog and made a call to action to host a Trailhead event in your local community/nonprofit. The response was amazing: so far 41 volunteers, 30 pledged events, covering 3 countries. Thank you to those salesforce rockstars! If you haven’t yet accepted the challenge, but would like to, please tweet me @AnnieForce with #Trailhead4All hashtag or message me on the success community.

Here’s a brief breakdown of things to think about when coordinating your #Trailhead4All event. I hope it is helpful and if there are tips you want to share and add, shoot me a tweet @annieforce. I also want to thank Melissa Van Dyke for helping put together these wonderful templates/checklists

  1. Find Your Dream Team: If you don’t already have volunteers to help you with your event, here are some ideas on finding a few. In my experience, a 10:1 participant/volunteer ratio is great so you don’t need to find a large team, just a couple of helpers. When you do, let me know who they are so I can recognize them on my site and maybe even at DF16!
    1. Ask your local user group members- I made a pitch at my local UG group and met a few individual volunteers as well as the CTO of PortfolioSolutions who informed me that his company has “volunteer days” so… I a potential army of volunteers!
    2. Ask colleagues
    3. Ask family and friend
  2. Choose the audience: The past two weeks, I’ve been reaching out to nonprofits who might be interested in this event. I reached out to the Executive Director of Boys and Girls Club of Flint (BGC of Flint) and the Medical Director of the Teen Resource Center. Now I happened to know the Executive Director of BGC of Flint through my husband and I actually helped start the Teen Resource Center in 2003. I’m quite passionate about youth development, which is why I wanted to reach out to high school youth. It could open their eyes to a different career path. However, you can target a different audience like college students, women, veterans, your own circle of friends and family who are seeking a change in career! Ask friends and family who work in nonprofit sector or in community organizations if there’s potential to host this event at their workplace. If you have a hard time, shoot me a tweet and we can brainstorm.
  3. Solidify Date & Marketing: These events should last about 2 hours at minimum and be sure to give the nonprofit a few date options that work for the volunteers. Because I’m working with nonprofits who have a consistent attendance rate, marketing can actually be quite easy. Ask your nonprofit if they can pitch in for marketing or sending out an email blast to their community and handling RSVPs. A few weeks ago, I worked with Flint Area Reinvestment Office (FARO) for a similar event called FlintForce and after they outreached, 24 people signed up in 4 days! Feel free to use the pitch that I gave to FARO to post on their meetup/facebook/email blast: is one of the leading CRM (customer relationship management) systems that businesses use to manage business relationships and the data and information associated with them. Join us for a fun day of learning about why companies use, what job opportunities are available, and get real hands on experience building on the platform (with clicks and not code using Trailhead). Participants do not need to have any previous developer experience.

Light refreshments will be provided.

Please bring your laptop and charger. If you need a computer to use, let us know!

About the Session Leader:

Annie Shek is a Senior Consultant at The Innovation Network, a consulting firm that delivers technology strategy, implementation, management, and support to private, public, and nonprofit organizations. She’s worked on the platform since 2009 and has been a system administrator, implementation consultant, and project manager. She currently holds 3 Salesforce certifications: Administrator, Developer, and Sales Cloud Consultant.

4. Resources:

    1. Location: After engaging both organizations, it turns out that BGC of Flint and Teen Resource Center have computer labs! BGC of Flint even have vans to transport the youth to another location if we need a larger space. This definitely makes organizing a tad easier for me. But had they not had the space or the computers, I would have tapped into the local libraries or schools for computer labs. Or a tech company may donate space and participants can bring their own laptops.

(PS – Make sure they won’t be having any major events going on during your event… like some system upgrade and the internet went down. That’s happened to me before and the class got cut short.)

B. Materials:

      1. Sign In Sheet
      2. Introduction Slide Deck- This will be shared to volunteers and provided by Salesforce. Feel free to customize it to cater to your team and your community.
      3. Name Tags – I highly recommend this if your participants don’t know each other. This will help create a supportive community.
      4. Refreshments: If you are a user group leader, we’ve got the green light from Holly Goldin that we can tap into those UG meeting funds. If you aren’t a leader, consider collaborating with a UG leader. If there’s none in your area, well… why not start one?! =) The other route is sponsorship. You can reach out to local businesses for small financial support in exchange for some recognition.  
      5. Phone/Camera: Take a couple of pics to document the event. Tweet them, write your own blog post, share a few with me and I can highlight in a future blogpost or potential presentation! =)
      6. Evaluation Form – This will be provided to volunteers that will gather some brief information from your participants about the quality of the session and their experience with the Trailhead platform. (To come)
      7. SWAG: Thank you to Chris Duarte, April Nassi, and all of the Salesforce Trailhead team! They are showing lots of love by providing swag to the Trailhead4All events. They do require a minimum of 2 weeks notice. Please submit your request here. For those who have pledged an event, I encourage you to submit your request by the end of October. I will be delivering the details to Salesforce. If you decide to pledge afterwards and make the request after October, that is fine, but it’d be helpful to give Salesforce a heads up as early as possible.  

C. Grants: If you work with a nonprofit organization, ask if this type of event supports any of their grant funded deliverables. It might and they actually might have funding to cover food or incentives to participants. I found that at BGC of Flint had a grant deliverable related to career development events. By getting 1-2 Salesforce volunteers to swing by and chat about the “Life as a Developer/Admin” with hands on Trailhead, that’d fulfill the nonprofit’s deliverable. #winwin

5. Have a good time! This event is supposed to be fun and inspirational. Keep it simple and if you run into an issue, give me a holler on twitter @AnnieForce or message me on the success community.


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