I began attending Dreamforce five years ago, while working at a nonprofit, and have continued to attend as a nonprofit consultant for Jackson River. My favorite part of Dreamforce, hands down, is the opportunity to connect with colleagues, clients, friends, partners, former colleagues, future colleagues, acquaintances, mentors—you get the picture. As a virtual company, the opportunity for face time with those important members of the Jackson River family is invaluable.
There are other benefits too, like nonprofit-focused sessions and the Salesforce Foundation hub and theater. There is a nonprofit expo. There is schwag. There are parties, events, fancy keynote speakers, cupcakes, and free drinks. There is even free lunch! Every. day.
Every year proves a little less overwhelming and there are more and more friendly faces to connect with on the escalator, in the nonprofit hub, and at the various social events. But getting there and making the most of the event can be daunting for a rookie Dreamforce attendee. As a Dreamforce vet, I have created this quick reference guide for the newbies, the weary, the shy, the curious...
- If you are traveling from out of town, consider an AirBnB near a BART station, but away from downtown where the conference is located. (see: overwhelming)
- Dreamforce is huge. It spans the convention center, a movie theater and several hotels, and by next year, who knows?
- Register at Moscone, not at the hotels. It is faster.
- Get the schwag. Just do it. You need it. Or someone you know does.
- All of the nonprofit focused aspects of Dreamforce take place in one hotel. Your mission? Find that hotel by looking for the location of the Salesforce Foundation Hub.
- Go to the Nonprofit expo to learn about new technologies which integrate with Salesforce.
- The Foundation Hub has a theater with nonprofit focused presentations which run the gamut of nonprofit fundraising and marketing automation.
- There are nonprofit focused sessions you can register to attend—just filter the schedule on “nonprofit” to see those options.
- Sessions geared towards for-profit folks can be useful too, especially if you are in IT, human resources, or similar administrative roles. Filter the schedule on “Hands On Training.” These fill up fast, so plan to register and book your sessions early.
- People at Dreamforce are really friendly, especially in the nonprofit space, so siddle on up and make a friend!
- Attend the parties! They are fun and an excellent opportunity to meet new folks and learn new things.
Dreamforce is an epic event which continues to grow each year. It can be overwhelming and at moments feel as though you are lost in a sea of eager professionals from every imaginable field.
With a little help a little planning and a few tips, though, you’ll be ready to take on Dreamforce like an old pro.