Photo: The Bandits of the 2018 Bandit World Tour in our Toronto office.
“It seriously makes me cry. Reading how much people want to be a part of the Bandit Tour when they apply to participate.”
Michelle Malpass, Director of Community Performance at Traction on Demand, can hardly believe the evolution of Traction on Demand’s annual Bandit Tour for Good, an initiative that started off as a road trip to San Francisco in time for Dreamforce, Salesforce‘s annual mega-conference. In the seven years since, the Bandit Tour umbrella has grown to include the Bandit World Tour, which is taking place right now from Montreal—Kingston —Toronto.
In the beginning… there was Dreamforce
“In the years before the Bandit Tour for Good, Dreamforce was such a whirlwind,” recounts Michelle. “We would all rush to get there, it would be chaotic and then we would fly back. It almost felt empty to me. We thought, ‘There’s got to be more to this. What if we went on a road trip and did good along the way?’ The first year, we took the whole business development team, which was 10 people at the time.”
The evolution of the Bandit Tour
Over the years, the Bandits have supported close to 100 nonprofits by providing pro bono Salesforce services. “My background is in nonprofit,” says Michelle, “so I understand the challenges they face. The restrictions in funding, for example. They don’t always have the financial flexibility that businesses have to invest in technology. By giving what we’re good at, we’re able to help them build capacity.”
Every year, regardless of which Bandit Tour (East or West Coast) is coming up, there is a flurry of applications being passed from potential Bandits to the selection committee. “I am so touched to read what this opportunity means to Tractionites,” says Michelle.
Here are some excerpts from the most recent applications :
On fulfilling personal values
“I have dedicated my life and career to grassroots organizations and spent over 10 years working for nonprofits. I joined Traction on Demand with the mission to continue the work. It would make me very happy to contribute in this manner.” Deepa Balakrishnan, Program Manager
On helping others build capacity
“It’s crazy how these mini-projects (i.e. configuring a process builder or some other type of automation) can represent such a huge improvement to these organizations. Since I joined Traction on Demand last year, I’ve been able to learn so much about dealing with different people and the Salesforce platform. I want to put these lessons to good use and bring value to the people/organizations that don’t usually have the time or money to do so themselves.” Johnathan Lam, Cloud Technologist
On connecting with fellow Tractionites
“I want to give from my obsession for Salesforce to those who don’t understand what’s possible with it. I want to connect deeper with my Tractionite peeps, to grow them and myself while making a bigger impact together than each of us can do individually.” Jeff Grosse, Service Cloud Subject Matter Expert
Michelle can’t say for certain what the next years will bring for the Bandit Tour but she hopes it inspires other organizations to take on similar initiatives. “There’s so much momentum,” she says. “It’s so cool when we’re at Dreamforce and people come up to tell us, ‘You guys do the Bandit Tour for Good? That’s so amazing.’ There’s definitely a rumbling in the Salesforce ecosystem, and it’s great to share the wider Traction on Demand story by starting with the Bandit Tour one. It’s way better than having a corporate booth to let people know what we’re about!”
The Bandit Tour is ultimately about getting a group of like-minded people together who want to make a positive impact on the community around them. Michelle thinks back to a time on the Bandit Tour for Good, which illustrates this idea. “After a day of removing invasive species off the coast of California with Friends of the Dunes, Justin, our guide, gave a little talk under a canopy of trees. The way he spoke so passionately about invasive species— it was so contagious. He said to us, ‘Find your own invasive species. I know it’s not actually going to be invasive species but whatever your passion is, find it and follow it.’ I looked around and you could hear a pin drop. Everyone was listening to him so intently. You could really tell everyone was trying to understand what this meant to them. That’s what the Bandit Tour is all about.”
Know a nonprofit that could use some pro bono Salesforce support? Check back on our Bandit Tour for Good site in May to apply for fall 2019 openings.