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Salesforce Update Available

Posted Aug 20, 2014 10:50 AM
The Salesforce Foundation recently announced the release of a major update to the Nonprofit Starter Pack. Here's what you need to know about the new release and why you should consider upgrading.

The Salesforce Foundation recently announced the release of a major update to the Nonprofit Starter Pack called NPSP 3.0. Here's what's in the new release and why you should consider upgrading your Salesforce software.

A Little History

For the past few years the Salesforce Foundation has produced a package of customizations for the nonprofit use of Salesforce called the Nonprofit Starter Pack. This is a free set of software designed to make donor and household management easier for nonprofits working in Salesforce. In addition to the free user licenses the Salesforce Foundation grants to nonprofits, the Nonprofit Starter Pack is a major resource for nonprofits with limited budgets who want to be successful using Salesforce. Few other software companies offer this kind of product for free in support of mission organizations everywhere. NPSP 3.0 is the result of several years of development and is a well-seasoned product ready for wide adoption.

Why Upgrade

Here are the major benefits and new functionality available if you switch to NPSP 3.0.

  • Support for multiple and seasonal addresses, as well as address verification
  • A new Household Account model that makes it easier for you to manage households
  • Easier control of settings and configuration through a new centralized Settings tab
  • Faster load and response times
  • Push upgrades on new releases from Salesforce
  • And lots more

There are two points listed above which deserve a little more context. First, if you do not upgrade to NPSP 3.0 you will not be able to take advantage of any new releases of the Starter Pack. Your current version will continue to function as is for the foreseeable future but you won’t be able to take advantage of new developments. Once you do upgrade to version 3, all future upgrades will be pushed automatically to your instance of Salesforce much like the three seasonal releases of the base Salesforce product.

Second, many new features available in NPSP 3.0 require that you also switch to using the Household Account model. Previous versions of the Starter Pack made use of a custom Salesforce object for Households and with version 3 the recommendation is that you switch to using the native Account object for Households. For those of you using the “1-to-1” account model this will behave very similarly although instead of every Contact having their own account, Contacts within the same household will share an Account. This is a smart approach and will make working with Households “cleaner” than it is now from a data management perspective. Making this switch is easy but could require changing existing reports, workflows, or other configuration in your instance so plan accordingly.

Ok I’m Ready, What’s Next?

The ease of upgrading will vary depending on the level of customizations you have on top of the existing Starter Pack in your Salesforce instance. In general, the upgrade path is designed to be fairly easy and in most cases, even with customizations, you should expect the upgrade to go smoothly and take a minimum of time to complete. An analysis by a qualified Salesforce consultant or experienced administrator would give you a more complete idea of what’s necessary. If you’d like help, please contact 501 Commons and request assistance.

Wait . . . Do I Even Have the Starter Pack Now?

If you aren’t sure if you have the Starter Pack already, there’s an easy way to check. You must be using a System Administrator or similar profile to do this so you may need to reach out to a colleague.

  • Go to Setup
  • Click on Installed Packages (in the left-hand menu)
  • You should see several packages with Salesforce.Com Foundation as the Publisher with names like Households, Contacts & Organizations, etc.
  • If you do not see any packages like those then you probably do not have the Starter Pack

Note that if your organization is not already using the Nonprofit Starter Pack, then moving to version 3 will require more work than if you were simply upgrading from an earlier version. Contact your Salesforce consultant for more information.

Learn More

You can stay up to date on this new release and get advice from fellow Salesforce users by joining the Nonprofit Starter Pack Chatter group in the Power of Us HUB (the Foundation’s online community for nonprofit and higher ed users) and review the NPSP 3.0 FAQs and Release Notes.

501 Commons is also giving a training on Salesforce Essentials September 25, 9 am to 12 pm.  For more information on this training and to register, visit

Questions? Drop us a line and we’ll be happy to help.