The Future is Bright with Salesforce for Nonprofits
The Future is Bright with Salesforce for Nonprofits

The Future is Bright with Salesforce for Nonprofits

06/26/2023 by Jason M. Atwood (he/him)
Our take on the move away from NPSP to Salesforce for Nonprofits and Nonprofit Cloud.

The news around changes to Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud started swirling last year, but here at Arkus, we have been doing our due diligence before taking an official position. For the first part of this year we have spoken to hundreds of people including product managers, prospects, clients, and partners as well as held internal workshops covering the news and direction.

All that to say, we have done a lot of homework. 

After all that, we do believe that taking the NPSP add-on package and building it into the core functionality of Salesforce is both good news and means Salesforce’s thinking is headed in the right direction. 

How did we get here?

Salesforce implemented Pledge 1% on the heels of its original foundation which had the mission of solving world's biggest problems. To reach this goal the pledge was to donate 1% of the profit, product, and time to nonprofits as a part of embracing the power of corporate philanthropy. As part of the pledge, Salesforce funded which for years gave out grants that included 10 free licenses to use the platform to any qualifying 501c non-profit. From there a free managed package was born to help set up Salesforce for the nonprofit data-model and provide a quicker path to implementation. This eventually morphed into the Non Profit Starter Pack which was rebranded the Non Profit Success Pack (NPSP), a powerful set of open-source packages used by over 50,000 nonprofits. 

Years later Salesforce embraced and partnered with NGO Connect, a licensed version of a competing product to NPSP.  We at Arkus got enabled on NGO Connect at the time but ultimately decided it wasn’t the right choice for us or our clients.

Salesforce eventually dropped support for NGO Connect and fully embraced NPSP, funding its development and support. For years NPSP has been a shining example of both the Salesforce ecosystem and how an open-source product can thrive on the platform. 

Where are we now? 

This year Salesforce announced they will be moving away from further development of  NPSP and instead will be building the nonprofit data model and functionality into the core platform as a paid licensed product. They started with program management and grant management functionality with other areas such as fundraising expected to catch up later this year/early next year with new functionality tied to the standard Salesforce release schedule. Salesforce has been working on being transparent around the timeline and roadmap moving forward but there are still a lot of unknowns. 

What does this mean?

Over the last few months, there has been a lot of confusion, opinions, and feelings around what this means for the future of NPSP and Salesforce supporting nonprofits. After all our research we are cautiously optimistic this is both a good move for Salesforce and one that will benefit nonprofits using the platform to power their missions.

Moving from the NPSP open-sourced package into the core platform aligns the Salesforce for Nonprofits with the other verticals like Health and Financial Services. From a feature standpoint tha twill give Salesforce for Nonprofit Cloud access to ARC, Document Generation and Omnistudio. By creating a licensed product, Salesforce receives a return on investment that can fund future investment in the nonprofit roadmap. Moving to fully on platform removes installation issues and conflicts that come with managed packages. 

We see these as all good things. 

Where are we going?

Ultimately we believe that the success of Salesforce as a platform for nonprofits is good for all current and future nonprofits using the platform. We predict that it will take years to become truly feature-compatible with NPSP, but that it can currently benefit some of our prospects and clients starting with the release this year. We suggest that all organizations looking to choose between the new Salesforce for Nonprofits and NPSP take the time to evaluate the many pros and cons, but we see no immediate need for current NPSP users to migrate to the new for Nonprofits. While nobody knows the future of NPSP, it is open source, which means that other organizations can support it with enhancements and fixes for years to come and it is our belief that it will continue to thrive.

If you or your organization is interested in evaluating using Salesforce for Nonprofits or using NPSP, please feel free to contact us and talk to one of our experts. Connect with Arkus on our LinkedIn or reach out using our contact form.