What the Salesforce Winter ’20 Release means for foundations and grantmakers

Working more on the digital strategy and solutions selection side at Grantbook, I don't get as deep into the weeds into specific tools as some of our Leads and subject matter experts. Like many of you that we work with, I am always excited about new product feature releases, but have a little difficult always connecting them to what it could mean for grantmakers day-to-day.

To write this blog, I sat down with our Salesforce expert, Justin Carter to discuss the release of Salesforce Winter '20 and what it means for grantmakers and foundations.

Lightning is coming! Lightning is coming!

As of January 2020, all new users will have the Lightning experience set as their default when the log-in. This means that anything not optimised or not compatible for Lightning will generate operational friction. You’re also missing out on all the new features that Salesforce releases with every seasonal update. Those new features are not being released for Classic.

What this means for foundations and grantmakers

Grants Managers and Program Managers - If you are not already on Lightning, you may be surprised by what new users see when they log-in to Salesforce in January. Have you heard of Lightning? Has you team been informed about Lightning and the upcoming transition? If not, ask your Salesforce System Admin, CTO/Tech team or consultant partner!

CTOs/Tech Teams and Sys Admins - Have you started preparing your transition to Lightning yet? Have you reviewed you AppExchange applications and managed packages for compatibility? Have you begun to transition any Javascript buttons, Visualforce pages and any AppExchange packages for Lightning? Have you outlined to your teams which processes will require a move back to Classic for the user while you continue to adapt? Luckily, Salesforce has released a Lightning Converter (https://releasenotes.docs.salesforce.com/en-us/winter20/release-notes/rn_lex_lecc.htm) to help you along this journey.

CEOs and Operations - Have you started a change management plan yet for Lightning in collaboration with your CTO/Tech Team and a few Grants/Program reps? It's never too late to start! Depending on the configuration of your Salesforce organization, this can be a major project that can unlock major new features to improve operational efficiency and improve the experience for your staff.

Flows power-up!

Flow Builder is an incredibly powerful process automation tool for Salesforce. In Winter '20, you'll be able to start a Flow based on a time schedule rather than relying on events-based  triggers. Lightning Web Components can also be added to Flow Screens, to increase the customisation and functionality for Flow.

What this means for foundations and grantmakers

Grants Managers and Program Managers - Have you ever wanted to remove duplicates from registration automatically on a nightly basis? Do you have a multi-currency update that has to happen at a specific time every day? Do you need to calculate grant portfolio balances and have it be updated in a report or sent to stakeholders automatically every week? Basically, any work that you want automated on a time schedule versus a specific trigger (e.g. Moving a grant to another stage) should now be re-explored.

CTOs/Tech Teams and Sys Admins - With more control and more customisation, you'll need to lean more into design with your team and stakeholders to prevent overbuilding. Also, it may be time to review your features "wishlist" to see if added functionality and scheduling now make the impossible, possible.

Layouts and usability

Lightning Experience allows you customize page layouts for individuals or groups of users. With Winter ‘20 you’ll be able to bring more Lightning components into the Home screen and allow for more devices awareness when it comes to page layouts.

What this means for foundations and grantmakers

CEOS/Program Managers - If you’re on-to-go a lot, but still do spend a few days a week in the office, you can now design page layouts that are unique to each device you use (e.g. mobile and desktop). Now, depending on whether you’re on Salesforce on your phone or at your desk, you’ll see the information most important to you. 

Grants Managers - More types of information and components can now be added to your Home Screen dashboards. Reassess your needs and wants and re-approach your Salesforce support team. 

CTOs/Tech Teams and Sys Admins - To help your team navigate wants and needs, start by asking them what are the top 3-5 questions they need to answer in a dashboard and how does this change when they’re on-to-go or at a desktop. 

Beta Features for Flexible Reports

Report Builder is already a strong feature in Salesforce, but it is getting even better. Row-Level Formulas, a beta feature from the Summer ‘20 release, are now generally available. Field-to-Field Filters and Unique Value Counts are available as Beta features.

What this means for foundations and grantmakers

Grants Managers - These reporting features give you more flexibility to explore your data without exporting to Excel. For example, you can use Unique Value Counts on a report of your funded Grant Opportunities to see how many unique grantees you supported in a given reporting period. Field-to-Field filters allow you to filter report results based on the values of two different report fields. A great use case may be a report that filters Grant Opportunities to show only those with a disbursed amount that is less than the amount that was originally requested.

CTOs/Tech Teams and Sys Admins - With Row-Level Formulas entering general availability, your users will now have access to this feature. It may be useful to let them know that it is available and give some guidance on how to use it. The beta features can be enabled in Setup. Just remember that they are not supported by Salesforce and are offered “as is”.

Want to learn more?

We hope that this translation and analysis of Salesforce’s next release helps you prepare for change and imagine what is possible. If you have any more questions about how we think you could use these features, plan for change and get ready for Lightning, reach out to us at hey@grantbook.org.


James Law

Director, Business Development & Innovation

Relationships, Innovation Strategy

James Law has worked for 10 years in the social finance and social sectors, designing, exploring and implementing technologies to help organisations activate mission and achieve impact.

He began working in lean non-profits, employing databases and constituent relationship management tools (CRM) to help track and aggregate data for land conservation and environmental protection. Moving into social finance, he managed the development of an application to administer community bonds and equity.

Moving to Grantbook in 2015, James dove head first into helping foundations - of all types - alignment on digital values, explore technology options and select the best path forward. From there, he continued to explore solutions architecture and integrations, connecting best-in-class tools to meet the ideal needs of grantmakers, grantees and all stakeholders. 

More recently James is investing in Grantbook’s use of service design tools - from personas to service blueprints - to increase resilience and reduce the risk of technology planning and adoption via human-centred thinking. He also helps rally and co-ordinate Grantbook’s new ideas and opportunities as philanthropy and technology change.

Justin Carter

Implementation Consultant

Data Analysis & Salesforce Implementation

Justin has spent 5+ years working in organizations and technology, working across management and digital lead roles and working in systems including Salesforce (inc. Communities), NationBuilder, Zapier and other tools.

As the former Executive Director of reThink Green, he designed and operated several sustainability certification programs, including the reThink Events auditing program for major festivals and public events. In addition to this professional work, he has spent significant time volunteering in the governance and day-to-day of nonprofits, social impact organizations and their networks.