NPSP Data Import Stories

NPSP Data Import Stories

The NPSP Data Import Tool is a relatively new thing. I believe it was provided to give assistance to organizations who were switching to NPSP from legacy systems. Creating all the records in the proper order and with the proper linkage between contacts, households, org accounts, affiliations, donations, payments and so on can be daunting. And NPSP Data Import Tool makes that easy. It’s the tool of choice or migrating data into NPSP!

However, as I tried to help others use the tool, I realized that there is more to the story than simply importing data. Let me explain.

Quick Overview of NPSP Data Import Tool

Each line in your spreadsheet will be imported into a record called a NPSP Data Import record and will then be analyzed by the NPSP Data Import Tool and mapped onto one or more related records, some new and some matched from existing records. This is a complex but powerful idea.

The NPSP Data Import record is a flat representation of a bunch of information. But once it is processed, you can follow links to individual two contacts, one household, one organization, one affiliation, one campaign, one donation, and one payment. And you can tell if the processing succeeded, created new records, matched old records, or failed. If it failed, you can edit the flat data right inside Salesforce and try again.

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The Humble Volunteer Hour Data Structure

How I have used Volunteers for Salesforce in many unexpected ways

Volunteers for Salesforce (V4SF) is a very nice package. While it’s a separate product from NPSP, it comes with every NPSP organization pre-intstalled product from NPSP, it comes with every NPSP organization pre-installed. I used it constantly.

Dealing with Limited Client Information

We often actually have anonymous donors and in-kind givers. We associate such actions with a contact with the first name “Anonymous” and the last name @Organization, where Organization is whatever affiliation they have or whenever location the action occurred.

We extended this idea of “fuzzy” information to our clients. We only know nicknames frequency. But the nicknames collide so we also ask a positive interest or passion. As we learn legal names and birth information, we record it and update it.

We had to implement a few fields and workflows to make his possible. You can read more about the solution here (You’ll have to request document access… I’ll move key features to this document if there is enough demand).

Automatic Email and Phone Preferences for NPSP

Three workflow rules that infer the value of the NPSP picklist called preferred email and set it. Saves time when moving or deleting email fields.

The NPSP is awesome in that it allows us to have cell phone, home phones, and office phones and emails for our contacts since it’s a B2C type of service. I like that. However, I disliked getting a warning when I saved contacts indicating that I had forgotten to set the preferred email or preferred phone. The worst is when I move the only email address from work to personal (or vice versa) and get a validation error that the preferred email is blank. So I decided to improve the intelligence.

Display whatever you want on SF1

Create a field specifically to display imporatant adaptive information on SF1 about clients.

Well, maybe not whatever you want but still.

Awesome @Christian Carter (Bigger Boat Consulting) that led me to some very productive and practical ways to improve user experience on SF1 by simple rearrangement of fields on the page layout. The article is Optimizing NPSP for SF1 and he first introduced me to the subject matter in a presentation at Dreamforce 2015.

He says you can only display four fields. Well… I don’t like limits. That led me to go further and develop one formula field that I call Compact Display Summary Field that shows key info about the person right under the circle/name fields of the SF1 contact page. It is a formula field that adapts to the contact whether they are a donor, volunteer, clients, etc. This way you don’t have to choose compromise fields that aren’t relevant. And you can explain to your user with phrases and connectors.

My formula fields show recent giving summary if a donor. Also shows recent work summary if a volunteer. If a client instead, it shows recent service summary if client. Note that we don’t classify contacts manually: the data speaks for itself by gift, volunteer hour, and served hour totals.

The display field also reminds what our next ask is. The next ask is a custom field I have to better focus myself and staff on moving people along a pipeline… i.e., find email, join newsletter, join prayer team, donate again, etc. this is another custom formula field on our contact already).

Because it’s so important to us, the display field also lists their affiliated organizations (a custom rollup field we have on our contact).

Very handy info at a literal glance. The sky is the limit as to how useful you might make this, depending on how you create the formula field.