Category Archive: CMS

Is your organization getting the most out of Salesforce’s Trailhead?

Stephen-St.-John February 17th, 2022 by

Have you ever found yourself trying to figure out how to create a flow, update a page layout, or create a complex formula field, and you can’t get it to work? I sure have. One of the things that I am constantly reminded of working in the Salesforce ecosystem is that there are always new things to learn, and the platform and its number of product offerings continue to grow. Salesforce also believes in continuous learning, and in 2014, they launched Trailhead.

What is Trailhead?

Trailhead is a learning platform built by Salesforce to allow seasoned Salesforce veterans and people new to the platform the ability to get hands-on Salesforce experience.

Trailhead’s 4 different main options: Projects, Modules, Trails, and Trailmixes

So when you are trying to get started with Trailhead, knowing where and how to start can be a daunting task. First, you need to create a profile and login to Trailhead. Login in allows you to track your progress, create your own trailhead orgs, and begin learning the Salesforce basics!

Trailhead’s training is broken down into 4 different main options: 

  1. Modules– Modules introduce you to specific topics in bite-sized units. Each module takes anywhere between 5 to 45 minutes to complete. The goal is to learn a particular feature, when it’s helpful, and how to use it. 
  2. Projects– Projects give you hands-on practice with different Salesforce technologies with step-by-step instructions. This offers you the ability to learn a new skill and gives you the experience of completing this skill in an actual demo environment.
  3. Trails– Trails are guided learning paths that group both Modules and Projects together. These teach you skills and knowledge about a specific topic with carefully curated modules and projects to streamline your learning experience. 

Trailmixes– Trailmixes are custom learning modules that combine modules, projects, and trails into the most in-depth learning experience on the Trailhead.

How do I keep track of my progress?

You will earn Trailhead badges as you complete your modules, projects, and trails. To keep track of your progress and show how your skills have grown, Trailhead utilizes Trailblazer Ranks. These ranks show how many badges you have completed as you work your way up to Trailblazer’s highest badge, the Ranger Badge! 

How can your Organization utilize Salesforce’s Trailhead?

Whether your Organization is already on Salesforce, your team is considering adding a new Salesforce product like Sales or Service Cloud, or your team is just interested in the capabilities you and your team can begin trailhead journey.

Many Associations and Nonprofit Organizations have many of their team members wearing multiple hats within the Organization. By investing in Salesforce, your Organization is adopting the #1 Cloud Platform, and your Organization will begin to immediately feel the benefit of the clicks, not code configuration that Salesforce provides organizations. Additionally, by utilizing Trailhead, your Organization can provide its team members a free and fun way to learn Salesforce on their own time and at their own pace.

3 modules to get you started with Salesforce Trailhead

  1. Salesforce Platform Basics– This module will get you introduced to the platform, help navigate potential uses for Salesforce, and introduce you to the AppExchange.
  2. Data Modeling– This module will explain the structure of the information within Salesforce and introduce you to the modeling basics of objects, fields, and relationships
  3. Reporting & Dashboarding– With Salesforce, the way your Organization reports and displays its data will be changed forever. Gone are the days when reports could only be built by one person. With this module, you will be able to see how easy it is to create reports using Salesforce’s drag and drop functionality. 

If your organization is interested in creating a tailored and custom learning experience for your employees, customers, or partners, you can leverage myTrailhead!

myTrailhead platform provides organizations a one-of-a-kind learning experience that allows the delivery of custom, engaging, and contextual learning. myTrailhead can be used for:

  • Trail Maker- Allows your Organization to quickly create custom learning modules and learning paths unique to your Organization.
  • Makes learning engaging and personalized- Motivate and reward learners with points, badges, and a gamified digital experience.
  • Track Learning and Progress- Track employees complete training, trends, and performance data to see business value and impact.
  • Deliver Learning in Flow of Work- Ensure that the training provided is relevant to your business.

Don’t Forget about the Trailblazer Community!

One thing to always remember is that with Salesforce, you are never alone! If you get stuck on how to do something, are looking for best practices, or are just interested in connecting with other ecosystem members, the Trailblazer Community is here to help! Within the Trailblazer Community, you can ask questions, join groups, share ideas and even join local groups for meet-ups!

Our team will be happy to help answer any questions and provide insight on how best to start the Salesforce journey together. Reach out to our team of experts!!

One thing to always remember is that with Salesforce, you are never alone! If you get stuck on how to do something, are looking for best practices, or are just interested in connecting with other ecosystem members, the Trailblazer Community is here to help! Within the Trailblazer Community, you can ask questions, join groups, share ideas and even join local groups for meet-ups!

Our team will be happy to help answer any questions and provide insight on how best to start the Salesforce journey together.

Importance of Support Services After a Marketing Platform Implementation

Susan Baumbach May 7th, 2020 by

Sending the first email on your association’s new email marketing platform can be exciting and probably a bit nerve-wracking. Over the past few months, you have worked with an implementation partner to configure the system and ensure it integrates properly with your CRM, helping you to send the right email, at the right time, based on your member’s most up-to-date information. After a few weeks of tweaking the email templates and creating new lists, you all of a sudden realize that your seemingly minor changes to the template mean it doesn’t display properly on Outlook and your new lists have a high unsubscribe rate.

For moments like these, it is important that you have someone you can rely on to help get the answers you need.

fusionSpan believes that the addition of support services, after a marketing tool implementation, is a critical component to the successful adoption of that tool. Not only is that support answering questions from staff, but also there is a maintenance component to ensure any product features are upgraded and new tools are vetted before use. There are valid concerns about the monthly cost of support, being reliant on an outside party while not building capacity internally, and dealing with knowledge transfer if you do end the support agreement in the future. These issues may arise if expectations are not clear at the onset.

When starting a support agreement with any partner it is important to understand what value the partner offers and to communicate your needs. Do you imagine a support arrangement with more concentrated hours in the first few months that later decreases to cover complicated or urgent questions as needed? Is the support partner expected to train your staff if the same question arises and a quick 30-minute training session means your staff can resolve the issue themselves in the future? Make sure to notify your support partner several months in advance when your staff starts feeling confident in the tool so that a strategy can be developed to reduce support hours in the future.

Benefits of Support

  • Time and cost savings because the partner providing support thoroughly understands the configuration and does not need to “get up to speed”.
  • When an issue does arise, a partner is able to dissect it and offer a solution quickly because they are the subject matter and tool experts.
  • Having an ongoing support agreement means that you do not have to wait for contracts to be discussed and ratified before the partner can go in and try to identify the issue. Not having your main line of communication to your members working optimally for several days can incur a significant cost.

Use Support Services to Assist Staff Who Already Have a Full-Time Job

Training internal staff quickly to become expert users is an achievable goal but may take longer than expected. Priorities and circumstances shift and training is put on the back burner. Typically, we see multiple tools being implemented together, so your team would need to learn several items at the same time. Your staff already have full-time jobs and it takes focus on the product to really maximize your investment. A support partner is aware of the tool’s ultimate capabilities and they also have a pulse on new system updates that can resolve issues and enhance your staff’s work. In addition, a partner has experience with the reporting and analytics capability of the tool, allowing it to be refined to better engage members in the future.

Staff may engineer a solution to a problem that works initially, but may not follow best practices or be future-proofed. Partners work in these tools every day and have significant experience by working with multiple clients. This experience can be invaluable in identifying the best, long-term solution for your association. Ultimately, having a support relationship with the same implementation partner will ensure the services you receive are personalized and allow you to fully leverage your newly implemented marketing tool.

Preparing for the Salesforce Spring ’20 Patch

Avatar photo February 27th, 2020 by

Technical writing

What is Happening

If you use Salesforce or a platform built on the system, then you are probably well aware of the Salesforce Spring ‘20 release, which came out on February 17, 2020. Although the releases are a regular Salesforce event, the latest one contains a security patch, which may require a little extra attention.

Patching normally involves installing the patch and conducting a full round of testing of all your customizations to ensure that nothing was impacted. However, there is always the chance that something is missed or an unexpected complication happens. While the Spring ‘20 release brings expanded innovations across the entire Customer 360 platform, it warrants a look at your current Salesforce/Association Management System (AMS) platform.

Patch Details

In today’s age of unsecure data and wireless breaches, Salesforce’s latest update is improving it’s platform and security. The new release brings a plethora of great features and innovations across the entire Salesforce ecosystem. As certain Association Management Systems such as Fonteva are built on the Salesforce platform, it is imperative to fully prepare for the release in the best possible way. At fusionSpan, we are able to provide the peace of mind that comes with a fully-functional AMS through actions such as:

  • Refreshing your testing environment
  • Implementing the patch
  • Carrying out testing in sandboxes
  • Resolving the resulting issues
  • Deploying the patch
  • Conducting all post-deployment tests, and so on

Since the Spring ‘20 release will affect different users in different ways, be sure to check out Salesforce release notes to see how the update affects your organization

Your Next Steps

Since the patch date is near, there is no better time than now to begin implementing it within your AMS. If your staff does not have the time to handle the impact of the Spring ‘20 release or Fonteva security patch, do not worry! Reach out to us here at fusionSpan for all of your AMS Consulting needs. We will work closely with you to develop a detailed plan and testing schedule to implement either patch.

Site Navigation for Dummies

Avatar photo February 13th, 2018 by

As a web design company, one of the first things we’ve had to tackle is the website navigation (also called the site information architecture or Sitemap). The site navigation often drives the entire website project and its content, so it is important to determine the site navigation early.

Most clients have a site that has become bloated as more and more content has been added to the site, and the site navigation is a 3-dimensional puzzle. Associations typically seek direction on what should go on the navigation menu of their new site. Everyone wants their content front and center, but also seek something manageable and clean.

While there is no one size fits all, here are some general principles on how to come up with a navigation menu for a website.

  • Three-click Rule: This has been an unofficial design principle for a website navigation and it basically says that no information should be more than three clicks away. An end-user who has never been to your site should on average be able to find what they are looking for in three clicks or less. This rule has never been proven scientifically, but can serve as a good design ideal to aim for.  The experts at User Interface Engineering (UIE) conducted a study on e-commerce sites and found that the more pages a user visited, the less they purchased from the site.
  • KISS Principle: KISS or Keep it simple, sometimes is a well-established design principle that states that most simple systems work better than more complicated ones. Most people will agree that a website that has a simple menu with a limited number of choices is easier for users to navigate. Look at Apple for example – the largest company on the planet has a site with seven menu items in the main menu, but then each section has a second level menu that helps you find what you are looking for very quickly

While simplicity and minimalism are easy to understand, the challenge remains on “how” to construct the sitemap, or what to put there. So here are some ways to look at that problem.

  • Functional Areas: Segment the menu into the main functional areas. For a professional association, these functional areas could include Membership, Publications, Education, and Events. For a trade organization, this could include Membership, Advocacy, and Industry Data and Trends.
  • Audience-based: Who is your target audience? If the audience can be logically put in distinct buckets, then the menu could be segmented according to the audience. So existing members could go to one section of the site, non-members could go to an another, and organization members could have their own section. Each section would then have a distinct navigation menu, with links that are relevant to that member group. These, of course, don’t need to be wholly separate sections, but could just be top-level menu items.

Maybe the Quick Solution IS the Right Solution For Your Website

justin fusionSpan Team September 28th, 2017 by

Blue Pen beside Black Smartphone with a design notebookWhat has many people excited to start, in tears by the end, and is not a Tom Hanks drama? Your website redesign! People start out with such high hopes that they’ll have an amazing new website with lots of new features and a seamless user experience. Then with the blink of an eye the project is two weeks past due, at 180% of the original budget, and the vendor is requesting approval for ANOTHER change order. Now, before you start hyperventilating, let me hand you a figurative paper bag and tell you there is another way. Redesigning your website does not have to become a monstrosity of a project. Instead, your organization should consider using the minimum viable product strategy when developing your website.

What is a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)?

A minimum viable product (MVP) is the simplest version of your website you are able to create that still has all the necessary features for you to continue to do business. For associations, this might mean that the site allows customer to purchase memberships online, to register for events, and to access any members-only benefits that your organization has promised. The site will have a new design, there will be a fully functional menu, and business can continue. At the same time, an MVP may not have every single widget built out. Some of the functionality may be fairly simple, and there won’t be every single feature that everyone has ever wanted. You basically ask the question, “Will not having this feature prevent me from performing business critical tasks?” If the answer is no, then you probably don’t need it initially to launch your MVP site.

What is the advantage of a MVP?

An MVP site allows your organization to make decisions based on information instead of speculation. You have a plethora of problems with your current site – the site is not mobile friendly, it lacks new functionality, it does not integrate with your other system, and the navigation is poorly thought out. To address these issues, your organization has compiled a lengthy list of necessary requirements. But are they all truly necessary? Probably not. With a MVP site you’re better able to test out functionality without committing to the feature, and without giving up a great deal of capitol up front.


Many associations believe an online community is exactly what every member wants. The problem is, will anyone bother to visit a community site to post? Instead of investing in a complex community platform up front without having tested their hypothesis, an association may be better off adding a basic community plugin to a WordPress site. Will the site have all the bells and whistles, no, but if no one comes to the site, you can pivot to apply those resources to another part of the site instead of wasting resources.

Succeeding with a MVP

The end is just the beginning – For many projects, they end once the system is delivered. With an MVP site, getting the site live is just the first step. From there, the team needs to continue building and testing in an ongoing basis. I would argue that for all IT projects there should be constant improvement, but there is no way around that process with an MVP project.

The right system – Ideally an MVP is done within a system that offers some flexibility. Some system that have a limited number of options. Changing directions after you start can be very challenging if not impossible. Instead, MVP tends to work best on a system or platform that can be customized. If you’re building a new website, consider an open-source system such as WordPress or Drupal. Open source offers a truly limitless number of options.

The right development partner – Because there is this ongoing process of improvement and development, your organization needs to have someone who can perform that work. That could be in the form of a technical staff member. It could also be in the form of a partner you are working with who can perform the work.

Managing resources – Throughout the process there is a temptation to just ask for new features to be done ASAP. Don’t. Always understand the level of effort for any new features prior to development. This ensures the budget stays under control. Establish a process for requesting new features that includes effort at the start of the project.

Managing expectations – For some customers and even staff, there may be confusion initially about what is going on. Sharing details before the project starts and during the project on the status of work. Explain why you’re using the MVP methodology, and how people can contribute will ensure long term success.

Ready to jump in?

While the process requires a change to how your organization approaches projects, the benefits are substantial. A more efficient use of resources means the ability to do more with less. When you’re done, hopefully creating a MVP will have made you the MVP off your organization.

Summer Cleaning Series: Website

justin fusionSpan Team July 29th, 2016 by
Clean-Up_FSNo one would argue that a website is an essential component of any new business. Even my grandmother has a website! Yet for so many organizations they completely ignore their site after spending gobs of hours to build it, completely forgot about like Woody from Toy Story. Don’t do it! Don’t be that organization everyone sneers at because you’ve neglected your site. Take a few steps to keep everything looking good!


6 P’s for a Strong Baseball Season and Website

Mary Glavin April 19th, 2016 by
“That’s the true harbinger of spring, not crocuses or swallows returning to Capistrano, but the sound of a bat on a ball” ~Bill Veeck, 1976


Despite the unusual cold that swept parts of the nation last week, the promise of spring beckons as cities savor opening day. Season openers are a light hearted welcome as teams and fans gear up for the long winded season that unfolds over the course of 162 games spanning approximately 6 months. Regulation games themselves average just shy of 3 hours; to succeed teams and fans need the right mindset and perseverance to make it through. Persistence and stamina are relevant in so many aspects of life and if you’re a non-profit professional, you know that launching a website will undoubtedly require patience and resolve.


PREZI: What is an API and why should I care?

justin fusionSpan Team July 23rd, 2015 by
API: Application Programming Interface. A vague phrase that offers little insight if you’re not a computer science major, yet if you’ve spent any time around system vendors or website developers they’ve likely thrown the acronym around as if its taught in the third grade of every classroom in America. Fear not, we’ve created a Prezi (a free, online presentation tool) to help illustrate what API does and why it matters to your association members, staff and you!


netFORUM Pro driven WordPress Site

Avatar photo March 24th, 2015 by
blog netFORUM Pro is a widely adopted association management system (AMS). It provides several interfaces that can be used for member interaction.

  • eWeb or “external web” which is a web based interface where members can perform certain actions – like purchase renewals, buy products etc.
  • xWeb is the “XML web service” interface. Mostly a programming API to interact with netFORUM Pro.
  • iWeb is the “internal web” interface, which the administrative users of netFORUM Pro use to manage customer information.