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4 Useful Salesforce Trailhead Courses for Nonprofits

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Published June 8, 2016 Reading Time: 4 minutes

This is a guest post by Julian Joseph, Classy’s Salesforce Technical Support Representative. Julian started as a Classy client at Liberty in North Korea, where he headed up the integrity of donor data into their Salesforce account. Now, he helps nonprofits navigate the Classy for Salesforce Integration on the other side!

Calling all Salesforce admins: Feeling overwhelmed by the power of Salesforce? It has features, it has integrations, it can revolutionize your ability to communicate engaging and accurate data to your supporters. However, as one of my co-workers often reminds me, “Salesforce is like a puppy.” It can add a lot of value to your organization, but certainly requires at least a little intentional TLC to align it with your needs.

There are certainly some great out-of-the box benefits from the #1 CRM out there, but with a little extra knowledge you can multiply its value. That’s where Salesforce Trailhead comes in. In this post, we’ll cover some recommended Salesforce Trailhead courses for nonprofits.

Easy and Practical

Salesforce Trailhead isn’t just a how-to guide, it’s a thorough series of educational courses (trails) with practical and interactive examples that mimic real-world applications. Challenges and quizzes are general enough to apply to most use cases, but there are modules for many industries, including nonprofits. (Plus, you get some pretty sweet badges to add to your LinkedIn profile.)

Recommended Salesforce Trailhead Courses for Nonprofits

While you can find value for your nonprofit in just about any trail, these four are great to start:

  1. Admin Beginner
  2. Admin Intermediate
  3. Developer Beginner
  4. Manage Fundraising for Nonprofit

Admin Beginner & Intermediate

Admin Beginner & Intermediate

Admin Beginner and Intermediate are pretty much a package deal. If you’re new to Salesforce, you get a very solid foundation to set up yourself up for success. Even if you’re a seasoned Salesforce administrator, these are excellent refreshers. There may be a few modules you choose to skip, but most will give you a promising launchpad for future learning.

Developer Beginner


Don’t be intimidated by the name! In fact, if you finish the Admin Beginner and Admin Intermediate trails, you land in this course already 60 percent complete. Even if aren’t planning on becoming a developer, this trail gives you a valuable look at Salesforce’s more advanced capabilities. At the very least, you will have a better understanding of what Salesforce can do for your organization.

Manage Fundraising for Nonprofits


The name says it all. At the time of writing this article there are only two modules, but Salesforce plans to add more. This trail gives you a good basis for understanding the Nonprofit Starter Pack, Salesforce’s own application built especially for fundraising and donor management. There’s no better way to dive into how Salesforce can improve your fundraising and donor engagement workflows than this starter. Make sure to keep an eye on this trail because it’s sure to grow!

Tips to Make the Most of Trailhead Learning

1. Make a Plan

As the Salesforce Admin for your nonprofit, there’s a good chance you have many other responsibilities. Although it can  feel like you don’t have enough time to learn, you actually cannot afford not to learn! (Sorry about the double negative.)

Getting a few basic Salesforce skills beneath your belt can greatly cut down resources wasted by inefficiencies or mistakes that you and your organization may regret in the future. Here are a few simple steps to ensure learning gets the attention it deserves.

2. Identify and List Needs

Research a few tasks Salesforce can help you accomplish. Odds are you already have a good idea of what these are, but go ahead and write them down. Maybe you want to segment your automated email marketing based on donor giving levels or perhaps you just need to find out who your top donors are! Whatever it is, start with the next logical step for your organization.

3. Identify and List Trails

Look through Trailhead and make a new list, this time of trails or modules, that will best address these needs. You’ll probably start with Admin Beginner and Intermediate, but look ahead at some of the more advanced and specific ones too.

4. Create Your Path

Put this valuable learning time on your schedule. (I recommend starting with 1 hour a week.) Be flexible with your schedule, but try to get at least one module done a week or one Trail per quarter. Not all modules were created equal, so you may have to adjust the time spent, but consistency is key.

5. Get Your Supervisor Involved

Learning isn’t just for you, it benefits your entire organization. Share your plan with your supervisor so that they are in the loop and can give you the support your need. Be sure to communicate how this education will directly address your organization’s needs.

6. Don’t Hoard the Knowledge

While it can be tempting to be the go-to Salesforce admin, you can multiply the impact by getting coworkers involved. Not everyone needs to know how to create a formula field or modify user permissions, but all can benefit from creating an accurate report. Convincing your team to add a module or two to their personal development plans can lead to less stress for you and more confidence for them.

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