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An Open, Flexible NPSP Supports Open, Flexible Nonprofits

By October 20, 2016

By: Rev. Tracy Kronzak, TK Endeavours

Successful nonprofits make sure that the information they collect about constituents, donations, programs, and other vital operations in support of their mission can outlive the moment in time that it is collected. A nonprofit’s data is its legacy – to its constituents, staff, and community of change makers. Data and mission are becoming increasingly synonymous as nonprofits embrace a diverse array of tools and strategies to make sense of both. Especially now on the advent of the artificial intelligence revolution with the power of tools such as Salesforce Einstein.

There aren’t always easy means of connecting all of these data dots and keeping them preserved over time. This fundraising tool makes exporting data difficult, that volunteer tool doesn’t talk to any other tools, the other program management tool will talk to the fundraising tool but doesn’t make reporting easy. An organization’s legacy falters, because the very information necessary to support the next step is rendered inaccessible or incomprehensible over time.

Consider what would happen if your nonprofit had both a platform capable of replacing these tools that helps you easily share data between all these dots, and gives you a strong foundation on which to build. This is Salesforce with the Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP), and what you’re about to read is a love story from a community member who has implemented Salesforce as a nonprofit employee, consultant to nonprofits, and nonprofit-serving business owner. I also have the honor and privilege of serving on the NPSP Advisory Board this year for a second term, which helps guide the development and community-powered decisions of as it continues to innovate with NPSP.

NPSP is the foundation of successful data management based on an open, flexible data architecture, rooted in the best practices of the nonprofit industry and shepherded by the very community it serves. These are terms that when strung together sound technical and complex, like they belong inside the Matrix. In actuality, this is far from what they mean when we’re talking about the Nonprofit Success Pack. These aren’t buzzwords, they’re community-shared values – and that is what makes NPSP truly special. By following these values, NPSP helps organizations become empowered to be their own trailblazers, and preserve their data legacy while better meeting their mission.

Open: Salesforce is a platform that makes easily moving data in and out possible, all in ways that can scale with your organization’s needs and budget. And, open in that all of NPSP is Open Source, and available for anyone to participate in as a community member, review as a developer, and learn as an administrator. The openness of NPSP is a facet of Salesforce Ohana, and we need look no further to the 20,000 strong and growing Power of Us Hub community to see these ties of enablement, guidance, and success.

Flexible: Great care has been taken to ensure that NPSP provides a balance of both power and promise. The best part of Salesforce is that it can be shaped to an organization’s needs, and NPSP respects this by providing a solid nonprofit-serving core with plenty of room to grow. Because NPSP is built on Salesforce, organizations are free to choose from a myriad of tools from the AppExchange to help them meet additional needs, many of which are Pledge 1% members and contribute by offering their applications at a substantial discount to nonprofits. There is a growing movement of AppExchange applications that are making additional refinements to better accommodate NPSP and grow with it inside your Salesforce instance.

Data Architecture: This is the underlying connective tissue between your information inside of Salesforce and NPSP. NPSP is built around best practice nonprofit business process needs. Which, breaking this down into simpler terms, means that it puts your organization’s data in the best places possible to support common uses such as fundraising and volunteering, while helping your organization leverage this information elsewhere inside Salesforce or with other integrated applications. As NPSP grows and encompasses more nonprofit needs beyond fundraising and volunteer management, it’s data architecture will be curated to ensure that as its uses expand, these will be supported in the best possible way so that the tens of thousands of nonprofits using it will continue to have long-lasting frameworks.

To make the data and information nonprofits collect stand the test of time, we need only look to these values to advance an open, flexible nonprofit world. Nonprofits succeed when there is a complementary tool that helps them succeed: organizations that are using Salesforce and NPSP this year will still be able to find their data in the same, accessible, open place in ten years. Your data legacy is safe, now, and into the future.

What’s happened with NPSP isn’t just a simple renaming. It represents an alignment around shared values and ongoing commitment to the community of users in the nonprofit industry and its many verticals. The core need that every nonprofit has is to have impact in our world that leaves it a better place than when we found it. By abiding by the values of an open, flexible data architecture, NPSP helps nonprofits have greater impact towards their mission and with each other.

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