Latest Episodes

Gauging a Nonprofit’s Readiness for Salesforce With Watt Hamlett


In this episode of the Nonprofit Thrive podcast, Ben Freda welcomes Watt Hamlett, Founder and Principal of Watt Hamlett Consulting, to discuss gauging a nonprofit’s readiness for Salesforce. Drawing on his extensive experience, Watt addresses common challenges nonprofits encounter when considering Salesforce as a CRM solution. He underscores the importance of having a clear organizational identity, being prepared to embrace change, and strategically planning for software implementation.

Today's Guest
Watt Hamlett

Watt Hamlett

Watt Hamlett is the Founder and Principal of Watt Hamlett Consulting, offering strategic guidance and innovative solutions to organizations seeking to enhance their impact. Watt brings over 20 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, specializing in CRM, mission management, and constituent engagement. Before founding his consulting firm, Watt held senior leadership positions in various organizations, where he honed his expertise in strategic planning, organizational development, and program evaluation. Beyond his entrepreneurial endeavors, Watt has authored the Nonprofit Guide to Choosing a Salesforce Consulting Partner and the Consulting Partner Landscape Report. He also contributes to and speaks at podcasts, webinars, user groups, and conferences, including the inaugural Dreamin’ In Color conference in 2022.

Listen On
  • Spotify
  • Apple
  • Amazon Music
image description

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • [4:22] Educational influences that sparked Watt Hamlett’s passion for media, creation, and technology 
  • [10:03] How Watt’s interest shifted from media and architecture to nonprofit technology 
  • [13:06] Basics of web development in today’s digital landscape
  • [19:35] Signs a nonprofit is ready for a Salesforce implementation 
  • [19:51] Watt’s needs assessment on organizational identity, challenges, and goals
  • [23:20] The role of internal readiness and commitment in nonprofit Salesforce success
  • [28:35] The significance of informed decision-making in technology implementation roles 
  • [34:05] What is Watt’s List, and how does it aid nonprofits in finding suitable Salesforce consultants? 
  • [35:15] Why some nonprofits need guidance in areas where they lack in-house expertise

In this episode…

In today’s digital landscape, the foundational aspects of web development remain crucial for nonprofits aiming to enhance their online presence and operational efficiency. One significant step in this journey is determining the readiness for a Salesforce implementation project. What key indicators are involved in identifying whether a nonprofit is prepared for such an undertaking?

Salesforce executive and consultant Watt Hamlett’s approach to assessing a nonprofit’s readiness begins with a comprehensive needs assessment focusing on organizational identity, challenges, and goals. This thorough evaluation helps determine if the nonprofit clearly understands its mission and the specific problems it aims to address through Salesforce. By assessing these factors, nonprofits can evaluate their readiness for a Salesforce implementation project, ensuring they are equipped to maximize the benefits of this powerful tool and make a meaningful impact in their communities.

In this episode of the Nonprofit Thrive podcast, Ben Freda welcomes Watt Hamlett, Founder and Principal of Watt Hamlett Consulting, to discuss gauging a nonprofit’s readiness for Salesforce. Drawing on his extensive experience, Watt addresses common challenges nonprofits encounter when considering Salesforce as a CRM solution. He underscores the importance of having a clear organizational identity, being prepared to embrace change, and strategically planning for software implementation.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Quotable Moments:

  • “Once you put yourself into the buyer’s seat, it’s no one’s job to tell you no.”
  • “I thought school was forever until I realized I didn’t want to be a student anymore.”
  • “Salesforce is just a website, and it’s important for nonprofits to understand its potential.”
  • “The ‘journey framework’ focuses on who you are, where you are now, and where you’re trying to go.”
  • “Watts List is not just a directory, it’s a starting point for informed Salesforce consulting choices.”

Action Steps:

  1. Conduct a “journey framework” assessment for your nonprofit: Assessing your nonprofit’s identity and goals helps align technology decisions with organizational needs.
  2. Evaluate your nonprofit’s internal readiness for new technology. Change management preparedness is critical for successful technology adoption.
  3. Explore Watts List for potential Salesforce consultants: Finding the right consultant ensures tailored solutions for your unique nonprofit challenges.
  4. Consider outsourcing expertise for complex tech implementations: External guidance can prevent costly mistakes and streamline the tech adoption process.
  5. Continuously reassess and adapt your nonprofit’s digital strategy: Staying agile and responsive to technological developments can effectively leverage your nonprofit’s mission.

Sponsor for this episode…

This episode is brought to you by BFC Digital.

At BFC Digital, we help nonprofit organizations thrive on the web so they can improve the world.

Our team of creative and tech experts understands that an online presence can help foundations and organizations accomplish their missions. That’s where we come in. Over the last decade, we’ve advised our clients on web design, front- and back-end development, and tech support.

We’re committed to supporting a select set of clients who continually inspire us with their vision for a better world.

To learn more on how BFC Digital can assist you in realizing your organization’s mission, visit, email us at, or call 646-450-2236 today!

Episode Transcript

Intro 0:00

Welcome to Nonprofit Thrive, a podcast where we learn from the humans who are helping nonprofits succeed in the digital world. Now, let’s get started with the show.

Ben Freda 0:22

Welcome. I’m Ben Freda, host of the show where we share the leaders and their stories. Leaders in the nonprofit space. That’s the people behind the organizations, the foundations, the companies that help nonprofits change the world. Past guests are many and varied and wild, kind of like the cuisine in Queens, which is just over the bridge from where we’re recording this now anyway, but our show has a diet of nonprofit technology. Past episodes include the very first episode of the show Ryan Ozimek of Soapbox Engage. We talked about CRMs and how to think about them. Hat tip to Ryan because he introduced me to today’s guest, which I’m very excited about, but his identity today’s guest will have to remain in ministry for yet a few more seconds because I also want to point you to another episode. For instance, if your taste turns more towards the aesthetic or the musical. Check out the last episode. That’s just the last episode of the podcast. Hit the back button one time, and you can listen to an episode we just recorded with Rachel Rossos Gallant of the League of American Orchestras, who discussed how she was able to sort of increase the engagement of orchestra listeners at her nonprofit and also talked about ways of turning those people off, which you may want to avoid. So listen to that if you get a chance for today. How could we ever match the quality of those past guests? What we do, and I’m going to reveal his identity in a second. But before we do, I have to let you know that BFC Digital sponsors today’s episode. BFC digital at BFC Digital, we help nonprofits thrive on the web. If you work at a nonprofit or a foundation or another type of social change organization. I’m sure you know that unless you’re doing a big old project like a rebrand or something, it can be very difficult to find reputable, high-quality, responsive, friendly help for your website and your web issues. If you have a site, you need it to contribute to your mission, not hold you back, and that is what we can help you do at BFC Digital. We can help you fix your bugs and redesign your site’s resource library. We can integrate that new donation system, maybe a Salesforce integration, to your web presence, and we can do it all for a small monthly fee. And we never make you fill out a support ticket, because support tickets are terrible. Go out to BFC Digital to learn more. So, I am finally ready to let you know who Today’s guest is very excited to have on the show, the one and only Watt Hamlett. That’s Watt Hamlett of Watt Hamlett Consulting, and also the bass guitarist of Mandatory Recess, the most awesome rock cover band in Northern Virginia, DC area. And I know that’s probably what you’re most interested in, friends, but he also has been able to squeeze into, between gigs, an entire career as a nonprofit technologist. Started as a web developer, now has moved into the Salesforce ecosystem. Has worked in a nonprofit, the National Alliance of Mental Illness. So he’s worked in-house at a nonprofit. He has also worked as a consultant outside of nonprofits, helping them integrate Salesforce into their workflow. And he is here to talk about all of that. Watt, thank you so much for joining us on the show.

Watt Hamlett 4:07

Ben, thank you so much for having me. My pleasure.

Ben Freda 4:09

So, you know, the first question I tend to ask people is where you grew up and what you wanted to do when you were a kid because I think that’s interesting in terms of tracing where you ended up. So, what about you? 

Watt Hamlett 4:22

I grew up in a small town in central Virginia called Farmville. And it’s not the, it’s not the huge metropolis that the name would suggest,

Ben Freda 4:33

or the inspiration for the original Facebook game.

Watt Hamlett 4:37

Yes, it’s not just a It’s not just a game that ended relationships on Facebook. It’s an actual town

Ben Freda 4:44

who knew. Who knew? Okay, yeah, say,

Watt Hamlett 4:47

as I like to say, Farmville is the state’s leading exporter of low self esteem. That’s, it’s an, it’s an it was actually a very lovely place to grow up.

Ben Freda 5:00

And if you don’t like self-esteem, it’s a great place to grow.

Watt Hamlett 5:05

Some people still manage to have it, even if they kind

Ben Freda 5:08

of, what is it about Farmville that that pounds it out of you?

Watt Hamlett 5:13

You know, I, I don’t, I don’t know if I have a good if I have a good answer to that. Because, you know, maybe a lot of people feel this who, kind of, who kind of grow up, you know, in smaller communities, and you sort of always assume you’re less than the people who are in, you know, in bigger cities and more exciting areas. But, you know, so I was, I was happy to leave to go away to college, but in, you know, as time has gone by, I’ve come to kind of really appreciate the unique time and time and place that that Farmville really was. And you know, believe it or not, there’s some people of note who have come from Farmville, other than yourself, other than me, way bigger than me. So this guy named Vince Gilligan is from Farmville, and he create. He created a Breaking Bad. Yeah, he’s a creator, creator of Breaking Bad and better. Call Saul. And his mom was my second grade teacher in elementary school. Wow. My Brother was a classmate of mine, and Vince was a few years older. Wow, but yeah, one of my tiny claims to fame is that I got to go trick-or-treating with him. You know, when we were home. Dr Vince has no memory of me, but you know that

Ben Freda 6:35

that’s it. You know, it’s funny too, because I once read a profile of him in the New York Times, and I think they did focus on the angle of, hey, here’s one of the very few creators on TV now who focuses on everyday people in everyday towns. Because Breaking Bad, of course, Albuquerque, New Mexico, which is the opposite. I think there was, and I might be getting this wrong, but I believe the article contrasted Breaking Bad with Mad Men. Mad Men was the metropolis’s glamorous, sophisticated, stylish show about New York, and Breaking Bad was the Everyday Guy in Albuquerque. It’s not very stylized, you know, but maybe there’s that. Maybe that’s the Farmville. I’m pronouncing it like you Farmville influence right there

Watt Hamlett 7:21

it could be, I think the other thing, and this is a part of part of my story. And you know, as it turns out, Vince’s story is that the elementary school that we went to was attached to the local college, and it was a, like a, like a laboratory school for the college’s School of Education. And so they really focus on trying to be innovative, and, you know, forward-looking in the way they did education. And so I felt like I was really a beneficiary of that. And so, like, one example is, you know, we would have access to things from the college campus. And one of those was, was video production. I remember, you know, Vince, actually, in elementary school, would take the college AV equipment and go out and make these short films, and then they would, they would show them to the students in the school, really, and that, I think, for me, that also sparked a real love of kind of, of, kind of media and creation. So to kind of to answer your answer your question. That was, that was kind of one of my earliest professional goals, was to be to be an entertainer, to be in the media. I wanted to be a stand up comedian for a while, really. And do you just do something in TV, radio, film? And, yeah, and thought even leaving high school, that would kind of be the route that I went down. And I did not end up doing that and instead pursued a different interest going into college, which was architecture. And I did one semester of architecture in my freshman year, and quickly realized that at least for this particular program, that’s all, that’s basically all I would be doing all of college was architecture. I would live at the architecture school, and I would do four years of architecture, and that would be my life. And right at 18 years old, I just thought that I’m not ready to make that kind of commitment. So I started, I started passing about for something else to to focus on in college. And, you know, ended up in in liberal arts. Did not think that was my going to be my thing. I was very practical-minded as a young man. And just thought, you know, if you’re not going to school to learn something that’s going to get you a job, what’s the point? And then I just live to eat those words over and over again, a couple majoring in religious studies and psychology going on to get a master’s of divinity degree. So I did a master’s in theological studies with the intention of that, you know, that’s I was going to become a professor. I was, you know, I was going to teach in this field. Wow. That’s, you know, that’s really the thing that kind of, that kind of ended up lighting

Ben Freda 10:03

me up there for a while. And by lighting you up, you mean your interest in religions,

Watt Hamlett 10:08

yeah, yeah, in religion and in academia. Now, my mom was a college professor, so, you know, maybe, maybe I could have seen some of that coming just growing up and kind of seeing, seeing what she did, and kind of seeing the life that she led, I think that was, you know, any kind of an example and maybe a role model for me. But, yeah, wow. Okay, so, so

Ben Freda 10:30

a whole bunch of things, stand up, comedy, included, and then, and then architecture, and then theology, did you? So after college, you had this, you know, you had a theology major, you had a theology master’s degree. What made you not want to go into academia? Or what made, what sort of short circuited that? Because right out of college, it looks like you were a web developer. Yeah,

Watt Hamlett 10:51

so about halfway through my master’s program, I suddenly didn’t want to be in school anymore. I thought that they would never come. I was, I love school. School was my thing. I was, I was a student, first and foremost. And about, about, yeah, about halfway through that program, I just thought I kind of ready to not be in school anymore. I went ahead and finished the degree. But while I this was at Emory University. And while I was there, I had an on-campus job in the campus Media Center, okay, where we would make copies of audio tapes for language classes. We rented out the, you know, the AV equipment for the school. But there also was a kind of a, sort of a creative computing lab that was part of this multimedia center. And this was in 1993 1994 and this thing called the World Wide Web has been invented and launched. And so, you know, while I’m while I’m working there in this campus job, I’m learning HTML and what a web browser is, and FTP and so and what’s what’s interesting in retrospect, is that the web, the introduction of the web, really brought together what had been Two of my interests, which was communication and architecture.

Ben Freda 12:23

I never thought of it as an architecture-related thing, but I that makes a lot of sense. But say more about that,

Watt Hamlett 12:29

yeah, just just in the sense of here was, here was a set of tools that would allow you to build things, build, build places that people would go to, would visit, would spend time in. And so I think, you know, I, again, I wasn’t really conscious of this at the time. I just thought this was kind of pretty cool that I could, you know, I could type something on one computer and it could show up on another computer, right? But, but, yeah, so that’s so then that part time student job that was really just kind of for money and fun, ended up really setting the course for my career ever since then.

Ben Freda 13:06

Yeah, enter it. That’s really interesting. So when you started at doing that in 1993 94 I started doing it in 9899 so very similar. But were you start with HTML? I assume, right and then, and was CSS a thing back then? Or no, not, not yet, not yet. Okay, so you were just emailing it probably with tables, right? It’s doing tables. You’re doing even

Watt Hamlett 13:30

doing, I mean, even that tables was kind of advanced, you know, in the beginning, like, sure, you know, like, if you didn’t want something to just come down the left margin of the page, you had to get creative with, and then the table was a solution to that. But

Ben Freda 13:44

so one of the things I have a fantasy of doing is creating sort of a basics course for so many of our clients are nonprofit communications people, right who like are dealing with website stuff, dealing with digital on one day, they might be doing Salesforce on another day, there might be a huge bug on their site. They don’t know how to fix all kinds of stuff as of stuff. I sort of have this fantasy of, like, what’s a one weekend course you could give somebody at a nonprofit that would give them enough sort of facility with like, these different tools so that they would at least know how to talk to a developer. And in my mind, it starts with HTML first, and then goes to CSS to add styling. Then it goes to just basics of JavaScript to add some interactivity. Then it just goes basics of PHP to dynamically generate the HTML, rather than just have the HTML that you have. And then it goes to MySQL, or whatever the database is, to sort of get data to that PHP. Do you think all that stuff is still worthwhile to talk about, or are we now way beyond, so far beyond that, that it’s not even a foundation that people need to have. That’s

Watt Hamlett 14:44

That is a great question. I mean, I thought the last thing you’re gonna say is, then you use a, you know, a chat GPT prompt to help, yeah, I just write it. Do it all for you. Do

Ben Freda 14:53

it all for you. But, that’s the thing, if you do use, I mean, you can do that, but then is it still useful to know why? All those things, how they work together. I mean, that’s how I learned it. But maybe that’s not useful anymore. Yeah,

Watt Hamlett 15:05

yeah. Because I think you know, you could, if you, if you extended that same kind of concept backward, you’d be talking about getting into, you know, operating systems, which are abstractions on top of 1000 rows, which are, you know,

Ben Freda 15:24

maybe you could, though, maybe that would that be worthwhile? Maybe knowing how computers work, why the ones and zeros are stored on the thing, and now it’s electricity. I don’t know

Watt Hamlett 15:31

I like it from the sense of just, I think the eight, the agency that it could help people feel. Because what you’re making me realize is that. So, you know, my domain now is, is Salesforce? Yes, Salesforce is just a website. Yeah, it’s all the same stuff, right? It’s, it’s, I mean, I ought to know what it’s actually built, built on, and running on, but it the day it is, it is HTML, so it runs in a web browser, exactly. Yeah, totally, you know, but it’s so it’s for my for my intents and purposes, and working with my clients. None of that really matters, right? I mean, there may be some things that you’re trying to design within the context of Salesforce, but mostly you’re just using their UI and the components that they’ve built it, you know, to give you a system to Dan to manage your organization’s

Ben Freda 16:22

data. So for your version, it would be, for the Salesforce version, it would be, what is a database? Why does the database exist? Why? What is data? How? What are links between data? So you have a record of a person and you have a record of a donation, how do you link between them? Kind of thing. Is that useful? Maybe. So,

Watt Hamlett 16:41

I mean, I It’s hard to say, right? I guess it just, we’re just so old now we’ve really, we’ve really just lost touch with how people think these days. But, you know, yeah, it what like, for example, I started working for nonprofit, yeah, it didn’t before they really had a computer. My first, my first time working for a nonprofit was an internship I did in college, and I worked for an organization based in DC, and they maybe had a computer for word processing, but it wasn’t anything that was on everybody’s desk. And so I, you know, I was, I was working with the development director, and he, he was fairly new, right? And so he’s thinking, I’ve got to come in and get a handle on who our donors are, and, you know, kind of make my strategy about how I’m going to raise funds for the organization. And so part of his idea was, he got himself a file cabinet, and he was going to create a file folder for each donor of the organization inside that file cabinet, and then he was going to keep correspondence, and I don’t know copies of checks or whatever about that donor, yeah, but one of the things he asked me to do as the intern was to go ask the office manager if we could get this giant quantity of file folders to put this donor information in. And she said, No, that many file folders. That’s ridiculous. You don’t need that many file folders.

Ben Freda 18:15

But really, that’s hilarious. He just, he

Watt Hamlett 18:18

was trying to organize information about donors in a way that he could access it and make sense of it, use it, right? So, that’s part of my mental model, as I think about, you know, the nonprofits I’m working with and the challenges they have to solve, it’s still kind of the same thing. I mean, do you think even, even Windows, right? The icons and windows are, they’re still file, file drawers and, yeah, folders and documents inside of folders. It’s all, it’s all still relevant.

Ben Freda 18:46

But when a nonprofit comes to you now, do you use that analogy? Are you like, oh, you need to organize your information because you need to be able to have a folder for each donor, or no, is this? Are we beyond that? Yeah, no, I

Watt Hamlett 18:57

don’t. I don’t think that’s really helpful for most, for most folks anymore, I think most, most of the organizations I’m working with are kind of beyond that. They generally already have one or more technology systems that they’re using. They’re used to managing data through these systems, and they are now either definitely going to make a move to Salesforce or probably going to make a move to Salesforce, and they’re just needing someone to come in and help them through that decision process, to give them the level of clarity and confidence that they need to make the kind of investment that they’re going to potentially be making in a system like Salesforce.

Ben Freda 19:35

So so many questions come out of that for me, because I don’t know so much about I mean, I know something about CRMs, right, because we do a lot of web development work, and we need to integrate CRMs and all that kind of stuff all the time. So when an organization comes to you,

Watt Hamlett 19:49

are they What? What? What kinds of things

Ben Freda 19:51

are you looking for to advise them as to whether Salesforce is a good solution for them, and what are the sort of red flags where you’d be like, No, Salesforce

Watt Hamlett 19:58

is not right? Yeah. So I would say just first that, just as kind of to set the context that there’s a lot of, there’s a lot of things that’s that organizations can do with Salesforce, yeah, so it’s, you know, it’s, it’s, yes, it’s a CRM, but over time, as Salesforce has built to require new technologies, there’s probably 40 different things at least, that a nonprofit could buy from Salesforce, email marketing, analytics, slack as a Salesforce company, right? So there. So there’s a lot that can be done with that technology, and because of the complexity of it and just kind of the nature of how Salesforce is built to work. Nonprofits almost always need consultants to come in and do the implementation work for them, do the technical work to get some and so that’s why, because of the kind of those two, two aspects of of what it means to work with Salesforce, that’s why, that’s why I do what I do to help organizations navigate all of that, because there’s so many there’s so many factors to consider. There’s so many again, ways they could use the tool. There’s so many kinds of consultants they could work with, so many directions they could go in with the software. So much that needs to be true of them internally for Salesforce to be a good fit. So that’s, those are the kind of things I’m trying to help them work through. And if an organization just generally wants to make a technology change of some kind and isn’t sure what they want to do and just wants to kind of survey all of the nonprofit tech that’s out there, that’s that’s generally not the kind of project that I would take on. I would refer them. There are lots of other consultants out there who can help provide those kind of agnostic tech evaluations. Right where I where I really focus, and where, you know, where my expertise really lies is, either you know you’re going to use Salesforce, think you’re probably going to use Salesforce, or maybe you’re already using Salesforce, but you either you’re you’re struggling in some way, and are trying to get clarity on what’s going on and how to resolve it, or things are going great, and you want to expand your use of Salesforce, and you want to be sure that you’re doing that in the most thoughtful way, right? So it’s really, it’s really owing to the kind of the depth and breadth and the number of facets and complexity and all of Salesforce, that kind of necessitates having someone like me that can kind of be be a guide and an advocate to nonprofits as they’re as they’re going through and, you know, Salesforce is serves all, all parts of The market, they’re very, you know, very small organizations, using it up to the very largest organizations. I tend to focus on kind of mid size and up where they’re going to be making enough of an investment in Salesforce and the related professional services that it makes sense to spend some time and money with someone like me just make sure that that’s a they’re making a good bet that they’re going to get some return on this investment, that they’re ready. The smaller end of the market, there’s less, there’s kind of less at stake and and frankly, you know, they just have less less to invest. So they’ve got to be a little bit more, you know, on their own, in that, in that

Ben Freda 23:20

process. Yeah, that makes total sense. What are some of the when you say, like, if an organization is sort of ready for it, right? So talk about that a bit. I mean, what? How would you know, let’s say I’m an organization, and might I, I don’t know this is a sort of a facile example, but my fundraising is kind of all over the place. My executive director does a lot of the fundraising themselves, and there’s also development director, but if they don’t really, yeah, I don’t know. There’s not, there’s not that great. You know, there’s not a ton of record keeping going on that’s really good. What would you, how would you sort of say, what’s the self assessment that an organization would need to go through to say we’re going to be able to handle this type of technology? Be a good fit? Or maybe, no, we’re not. We should be doing it a different way.

Watt Hamlett 23:59

Yeah. So, so one of my primary offers for services to nonprofits is, is a needs assessment. So it’s really coming in to address exactly those kinds of questions and and I, I start with what I call the journey framework, which is really just helping, helping the organization answer some key questions. That’s, that’s, who are you as an organization, where, where are you now? Where are you trying to go, and how are you planning to get there? And that’s, I find, that’s, that’s kind of a con, that’s a set of concepts that people can kind of get their heads around. It’s not tech it’s not techy at all, right? And so that’s where I want to get them talking about, you know, just who they are as an organization, their mission, what they’re trying to achieve. Where are they now, in terms of the systems that they’re using, their processes, what are the challenges that they’re having related to any of that the current resources they have to bring to bear to their mission? And broadly. Then technology specifically, and then where do they want to go? Because they’re typically not going to hire me unless, unless they think something’s wrong, they need to make a change or somehow right. So I want to hear from them, where, where, where are you trying to go? You know, are you is it that we’re not raising enough money? We need to raise more money. Is it that processes are taking too long? Is it that we’re worried that our our data is too siloed? Is it that, you know, we don’t have the right people on our team to do the work that we need to do, like just, I’m going to try to uncover all of those factors right and hear from them, and then, and then, how are you thinking about getting there? And it typically the answer involves, at least sales. Involves Salesforce, at least to some degree. So they think, Oh, well, we’re going to bring Salesforce in, and that’s going to, that’s going to solve for these things. And I, you know, I want to verify that, right? Because I’ve, I’ve seen all the great things that Salesforce can do. I can also, I’ve also seen all the ways that it’s failed to deliver return on investment for organizations because they didn’t have the right expectations or the right resources. So those are all the kinds of things that I’m listening for and then. And so from there, I’m going to try to try to assess, does Salesforce seem like or to what degree can Salesforce address the challenges they have and help them get to where they want to go. Okay, and then, and that’s kind of the that’s sort of, I think of that as the fit, like, how much of a fit is Salesforce for this organization at this point in time? And then this, the second part of that is readiness. Are they ready as an organization, from a staffing perspective, a budget perspective, a timeline perspective, from a change management perspective, are they ready for what a move or an expansion of Salesforce is going to mean to them? And with all of that, I can reflect that back to them. I can make recommendations about, Does this seem like the right time? Is Salesforce the right direction? What are the things you’re probably going to need to be ready to invest in to make that happen, from both the licensing point of view, professional services, additional staffing that you might need, so just helping to paint that picture for them so that they can they can make the most informed decision possible. Or are we going to move to Salesforce, or expand our use of Salesforce to you know, in what ways are we going to do that? What, what aspects of the technology are we going to use? And then are we, are we clear and ready about what it’s going to take as an organization? Sometimes, sometimes they look at that and say, Actually, not, we got to go back to the drawing board. We’re not ready for whatever reason. Sometimes they look at it and say, This all makes sense. We’re gonna pause and do this six months from now. And then in some sometimes, they look at it and say, we’re ready to go. And so if that’s the case, then kind of a follow on service that I can offer is helping them pick the right implementation partner to the medical implementation for them. So I have a fairly I have a kind of packaged process that I can take them through to try to do that in a very efficient and comprehensive way. And then the third and kind of final service that I can offer to nonprofits is if, once they get into that technical work, if they want to keep me around as an advisor and a guide, both to help them make sure they’re doing the things they need to do through the process, as well as making sure that their Salesforce implementer is, you know, holding up their end of things. Then that’s work that I can Can, can advise them through as well. Gotcha.

Ben Freda 28:35

Gotcha. So a lot of you’re, you’re like, yeah, like, like, so almost like a coach, that’s sort of a bad way of putting it. But, like, you’re helping figure it out. People figure out what and where they want to go, how they can do it, giving them some advice for how you know, some information on how, what the best bridges would be, look out for XYZ. Yeah, totally help them, preventing things from kind of going off the rails.

Watt Hamlett 28:59

Yeah. And really, that’s, that’s the reason I started my business. So I’m in my just finished my sixth year of wad Haley consulting, and prior to that, I worked for a company that did Salesforce implementations for nonprofit and higher ed for six years. So I got, I got a front row seat to how this tended to go. And, you know, it often went quite well, but it didn’t always go well, and sometimes it went poorly. And yeah, my my hunch was that there was someone who could work with organizations upstream of those decisions around purchasing software, engaging consultants to do implementations that I could perhaps create, some higher rates of success for organizations kind of going down the Salesforce route,

Ben Freda 29:45

totally. I mean, we see this a lot in the web development world, too, where a lot of times, what kicks off the process is an RFP. So someone says, We need a new website, right? And they’re like, oh, let’s write an RFP. They write an RFP, they send it out, right? And then. Then, by that point, there are certain details that are set in stone, budget requirements, and other stuff that everyone who gets the RFP is going to respond to. But, you know, I had somebody on the on the podcast named Laura Quinn, who’s really good at this kind of stuff, who’s like, that’s kind of her thing too. You know, by the time you’re writing your RFP, you’ve already made so many decisions, right? Like, you’ve kind of, you know, you’ve made decisions that maybe you should backtrack on a little bit. I mean, websites are a little bit easier to conceptualize, I think, for people, than a Salesforce implementation. Everyone knows what the website is, you know. But then Salesforce can be it can require a little bit more thinking. But same kind of thing, we see that a lot, if the process kind of kicked off by an RFP, there’s a lot of stuff that a lot of thinking that may or may not have gone into it beforehand, you know,

Watt Hamlett 30:41

right? And, yeah, and a couple of thoughts on that. One is that I have a saying that once you put yourself into a buy, into the buyer’s seat, it’s no one’s job to tell you no, I love that. It’s no one’s job to tell you know, someone might, out of the kindness of their heart, say you’re not ready for this? Yeah, it’s not their job at that point. It’s everyone’s job to figure out how to make it work for you. Yeah? And if you haven’t come into it with the right, the right requirements, the right yeah, you know all the things that are going to contribute to your project being being a success, you’re already, you’re already, you’re not pointed in the right direction from the very beginning, and you can waste a lot of time and money that way too. Yeah, yeah. And, and the other thing you know is that this is, this is true to extent I know in the web world, but I think even more so with Salesforce, is that most people who are tasked with leading an organization through this kind of change have never done it before. Right, right? And, and actually, I find some of my best clients are those who have done it before, and who realize how fraught and they don’t want, they don’t want that kind of hassle, right? Oh, my God. Like this is, there’s so much risk. So, you know, so much opportunity for this to go poorly, I have to have someone who can be my my side, to help me through this, make these decisions, watch my back and make and make sure that we’re accountable to doing the things we as an organization need to do, right? And it’s the same in the in the web world, right, that you can have the best external consultant in the world, but there’s still so much through that process that’s on the organization to, to dictate, to decide, to drive, and often they don’t have, they just don’t have, they don’t have that muscle for how to how can I turn around a decision about whether it’s this or that, when there’s stakeholders that we have to consider? And so that mean that’s kind of where I see the value of what I my approach is just being able to be that additional resource that can hopefully create, create more success for everybody involved.

Ben Freda 32:47

I mean, totally. And in the old days, an organization would hire somebody like you, they would have an employee full time who manages this kind of thing. But now, in these days, you can get, you know, you can spend a tiny fraction of that and get that person, essentially on your staff, helping you figure out, you know, what’s smart for you to do and what’s not smart for you to do. And that’s kind of where you come in. I think it’s like you’re like, the equivalent of, like, whatever, a quarter of an employee, or something like that. And you can act like, on their behalf, you know, with all these other people. I mean, yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Listen, time just just flown. I feel like I got to maybe one quarter of the questions I wanted to ask you. So we’re going to have to do this again for sure. Well, listeners, all, all you know, 1000s, 10s of millions of listeners out there are going to be waiting with bated breath for episode number two with Watt Hamlet because, again, I guess this is going to have to be a four-parter if we’ve got 25% of my questions. But listen, I hate to cut it off just purely because of the time limit. Do you my last question for you, really, is, where can people find out more about you, what you do, what you have to say, all of that.

Watt Hamlett 34:05

Yeah, so I’ll there’s three things I want to mention. So what Hamlet is my primary website, and you can get to everything from there. I also run a site called Watt’s List, which is a directory of consultants in the nonprofit Salesforce space. There’s 150 different consultant profiles there. So as organizations are just doing their own research and looking for who can help me with XYZ on Salesforce, that’s a great place to go.

Ben Freda 34:37

I’ve seen that list. Check it out. It is incredibly useful, please. Watt’s list.

Watt Hamlett 34:41

Google, that’s Watt’s list. Dot info is that, and then, of course, mandatory For all things on the band, you can check out our upcoming gigs. We gig once a month, generally in the Northern Virginia area. So hope to see everybody at our next gig.

Ben Freda 34:58

And, that summer’s coming up, it’s going to be a great time to sit outside, you know, drink a beverage of your choice, and listen to some serious rock and roll. Yeah, cool. Very exciting. Listen. I’m serious. We got to do this again. But thank you so much for doing it. It was, it was a real pleasure.

Watt Hamlett 35:15

Thank you, Ben. My pleasure as well. I appreciate it.

Outro 35:20

Thanks for listening to the Nonprofit Thrive podcast. We’ll see you next time. Be sure to subscribe to receive future episodes.

Stay in the loop

Sign up to be notified about each episode — and for highlights of the tips, tricks, and insights that our guests share with the world.