The Fionta Minute: Setting up Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP)

In this episode of The Fionta Minute, we’re helping you set up Nonprofit Success Pack for…success!


Today we’re going to talk about some best practices when setting up your Salesforce instance.

First, we want to familiarize you with basic Salesforce Terms.

Objects are buckets of similar information [like a table of data] and are represented as tabs along the top of your screen. Organizations/Households are an example.

Each object contains records, which are comparable to the fields and rows in a table of data. In this case, Ikea is an example of an Organization Record.

Each record then has fields which are equivalent to the individual pieces of data in a table. Fields allow you to capture specific information relevant to each record, like Type of Organization, which for Ikea, would be Corporate – Retail, and Website,

You and your team work in what is commonly called, your Production database. Everything is live and changes are available to everyone once they’re saved.

As a general rule, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the standard objects, records and fields in Salesforce, instead of creating new, custom objects and fields. So, spend some time clicking through the objects, creating new records and learning about the fields and values that come with the NPSP before you begin making changes to its structure.

It’s simple to rename objects and fields in Salesforce to suit your business needs. For example, in setup, search for ‘rename’, then find the object whose label you want to modify.

Rename the Opportunity object to Donations/Grants, and change the Close Date field to ‘Stage Date’ so it’s more in line with how your team works.

Did you know that you can try new ideas out in a Salesforce Sandbox to see how it works there first? A Sandbox is a copy of your database structure at the point in time it is created. So, create a Sandbox by searching for it in Setup.

Once it’s created, login and work there to develop options and ideas before enabling them in production. This will minimize confusion to your team, while allowing you time to test changes to the database.

When you’re considering creating a new object, consider re-purposing an existing Salesforce object, instead of adding one that might be similar. Re-purposing doesn’t mean you have to stop using an object for what it is intended; just that it can be used both differently and more broadly.

For example, the Opportunity object is used for tracking money that comes into your organization, such as donations, grants and sponsorships. You can also use it to track money going out of the organization, like vendor payments, outgoing grants and the like.

Understanding that a Salesforce object can be used for many purposes, and renamed to reflect its use, will help you think of options with current objects when a new requirement arises.

Also important is to make sure that Standard and NPSP Custom fields are not duplicated within an object. Checking [searching for] all the fields in an object before creating a new field is critical.

These are just a few helpful hints to working smarter and not harder with your Salesforce database.