Since its earliest days Salesforce.org’s Nonprofit Starter Pack (NPSP) has been an attractive option for new and small nonprofit organizations looking to establish a CRM system. Rich fundraising and constituent management features are provided by installing the NPSP managed packages into the Salesforce Enterprise Edition base offering that was developed for commercial organizations. These packages were specifically tailored to meet nonprofit needs and are well-suited to the basic processes of many organizations. They include:
The additional incentive of 10 free user licenses and the online support of an active and generous user and developer community helped it to become a widely used platform serving a multitude of missions.
Many aren’t aware that NPSP is an open-source software project, and a robust community of volunteer developers have contributed to its development. Their experience, knowledge and expertise have been a constant guide to the packages. In fact, through a system of suggestions prioritized along with user feedback, the nonprofit community has had a substantial influence on what new features and functionality have been revised and added to the packages. This user input has had a profound impact on what NPSP has to offer, and is part of the reason we are discussing it today.
With the constant input of knowledgeable and active nonprofit users and consulting partners, NPSP has grown from a suite of add-on apps tailored to the basic needs of small organizations into a customized, packaged set of powerful features. It has become an attractive option for many mid- to large-sized nonprofits and Heller has found it to be the most effective solution for many of our clients. Regardless of their size or the complexity of their requirements, the advanced functionality that is now provided by NPSP is a solid cornerstone when designing robust solutions to serve an organization’s mission.
Several aspects of NPSP have changed in the last few years. First, the functionality of the initial managed packages has been refined to meet the more complex needs of contemporary enterprise organizations. The current release of NPSP provides features and functions to match the way established nonprofits track and communicate with their constituents. It also provides additional objects, fields and record types that allow for organizations to customize their instance to fit their unique needs. This allows them to adjust the solution to serve their mission in the most effective way without compromising the value of the core Salesforce platform. NPSP is now easier to customize and administer, and integrations with other applications and systems are built on a stable and consistent model.
A second change is more AppExchange developers have taken advantage of the newest revisions and are providing robust solutions that weren’t possible in the past. This is in part due to the constant evolution of the core Salesforce platform. We’ve also noticed an overall increase in the sophistication and knowledge of the nonprofit developer community. There are more skilled developers focusing their time and talents on nonprofit-serving solutions than years ago. Developers are creating apps and tools that utilize standard processes, structures, and terms that match established formats in the nonprofit community. There are even Salesforce Trailhead modules to help educate the developer community and end users in the concepts and structures that are unique to nonprofit organizations. With this type of support, we expect to see the community expand more every year. This is an outstanding sign of good things to come for NPSP users.
Another change comes less from NPSP and more from the nonprofit community at large. Only a few years ago the concepts of cloud computing and platform-as-a-service were relatively unfamiliar ideas. As the technology has been adopted and proven in a wide variety of circumstances by very large commercial and nonprofit organizations, confidence in the capabilities, security and flexibility of cloud options has increased. Many organizations are now willing to consider the benefits of the hosted platform software model. Not all nonprofits will choose cloud solutions, but many are and as more come onboard, our entire community benefits from the additional knowledge and experience they share.
In the end, Heller’s role in serving nonprofit organizations doesn’t change. We still focus on providing the right strategy and technology solutions so nonprofit organizations can deliver their mission effectively and efficiently. We are excited to have this strong option for organizations to consider, and look forward to the clearly expanding possibilities that the newest NPSP provides. We have also heard there will be big announcements coming for NPSP at Dreamforce this year, so it should be a good year for nonprofits looking for technology solutions.
To find out more about how NPSP has evolved to serve larger organizations, please contact us. We have over 20 years experience helping nonprofits with their strategy and technology challenges, and have worked with over 1000 organizations. We’d love to share our experience to support your organization’s mission.