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NPSP 3 Keeps Washington Hiking!

By January 27, 2016

By: Karen Uffelman, Partner, Percolator Consulting

Washington Trails Association (WTA) is one of our favorite clients. While they are busy protecting hiking trails and wildlands and promoting hiking in Washington State, they are equally busy making sure their systems supporting that work are top-notch.

In the midst of a huge custom volunteer management system rebuild, an online supporter dashboard remodel, and, well, taking care of thousands of miles of trails in the heart of Cascadia, they also took on upgrading their Nonprofit Starter Pack instance to version 3.

Indian Pass by ErikHaugne Goodman
Photo credit: Erik Haugen-Goodman

Why? With so much going on, couldn’t they wait?

They could have waited, sure, but they were eager to take advantage of:

  • Streamlined Household Accounts. No longer are family members connected via the custom Household record. Reporting on and “rolling up” shared information, like donation stats, is much easier in NPSP 3. Or maybe they were swayed by these helpful NPSP Account Model diagrams.
  • Powerful address management. Nonprofits, especially groups that are as successful at engagement as WTA, often know much more about their constituents than most businesses: multiple emails, phones and addresses. NPSP 3 makes tracking addresses much easier and even syncs with address verification services.
  • Push upgrades. NPSP 3 is upgraded bi-weekly with new features and fixes, no admin action required. (WTA’s admin, Charlie Kahle, is an active NPSP community member, so he knows to follow #NPSPNewRelease on the Power of Us Hub for release notes)
  • Fabulous new features. NPSP 3 is constantly evolving and improving. In just the last year, there have been updates that help development teams and administrators be more effective (including new health check reports contributed by Barbara Christensen from our team at Percolator).

Franklin Falls by Erik Haugen Goodman
Photo credit: Erik Haugen-Goodman

And the upgrade wins for WTA have been all that they hoped for:

  • They love the cleaner schema now that they don’t have to use the custom household object. Maintaining data, reporting, etc. is all much easier and cleaner now. WTA’s Aaron Brackney says, “We were really in trouble with 100,000+ contacts in the same “Individual” account in the old model. Household Accounts really helped here.”
  • They love the push upgrades! NPSP just keeps getting better automagically 🙂
  • The SmartyStreets integration is awesome! Although their mailhouse provides address correction when they do bulk mailings, it was a manual process for the WTA staff to get those corrected addresses into their database from the mailhouse spreadsheet. Thankfully that manual data entry is now a thing of the past.
  • Now, when WTA staff enter an opportunity for a campaign member, the campaign member’s status is automatically updated ― hallelujah! This is a feature that’s been on the WTA team’s wish list for a while, and was just added at the most recent NPSP developer sprint here in Seattle.

Bottom line: WTA is saving staff time and effort with the NPSP 3 upgrade, and they have a higher degree of confidence in their data integrity.

And what’s very exciting for us, as a consulting practice that likes to teach fishing skills as much as we like to deliver the fish, is that the WTA team was able to manage much of the upgrade themselves! We did a Salesforce inventory for them in advance of the migration, helped worked through a couple of Apex errors, and handled a little code retro-fitting, but otherwise we coached from the sidelines while our client team accomplished most of the heavy lifting themselves. Hurray!

Looking for some help with your upgrade to NPSP 3? Learn more at And check out the Upgrade How-To webinar recording to learn more about upgrading to NPSP 3.

Watch the Upgrade Webinar Recording