The Salesforce Foundation is offering nonprofit organization and benefit corporations 10 donated licenses of the Salesforce Enterprise edition. You can choose from two different configurations of their product donation – Salesforce CRM or Salesforce CRM + Nonprofit Starter Pack. What is the difference? Which version is right for your organization?

The stand alone Salesforce CRM is the “out of the box” edition that is generally geared towards the business world. With that being said, Salesforce is an extremely flexible platform and it can be customized to meet your nonprofit’s       mission and needs. The “generic” Salesforce CRM configuration provides your organization with full control over your database; however, it might take more time (and money) to tailor it to support your operations.

What is the Nonprofit Starter Pack?

The Nonprofit Starter Pack (NPSP) was created to help nonprofit organizations use Salesforce. It was built to extend the functionalities of the standard Salesforce CRM to nonprofits in addition to supporting common business processes across social change organizations. It currently includes five managed packages. Each package consists of custom fields, custom objects, reports, workflows, page layouts, Code (Apex) and VisualForce pages.

So what are the different packages?

  1. Contacts and Organizations Package – manage relationships with organizations and individuals (contact-to-contact). For example, with participants, students, or volunteers.
  2. Household Package – group people who live in the same household.
  3. Recurring Donations Package – track donations pledged over time.
  4. Relationship Package – manage key relationships (family, friend, acquaintance, co-worker) between individuals.
  5. Affiliations Package – track individual’s affiliations to organizations. For example, John Smith can be an employee of ACME Corporation and a board member at Save the Whale.


  • Out of the box solution that addresses key nonprofit needs
  • Allows managing relationships with individuals, not only organizations
  • No need to update when code changes or bugs are fixed
  • Can be uninstalled easily


  • Every organization is different; it might not fit to your needs
  • It is managed; cretin components are locked and cannot be configurable
  • Individual module (one-to-one) is very limited
  • Does not support Person Account
  • Installation is complex

Salesforce CRM Donation + NPSP

Implementation and Training Costs

Whether you choose the NPSP or standard Salesforce CRM, you will likely require some assistance with customization, data migration, adoption, and training. The actual cost will vary depending on your needs, the number of staff that will be trained, your data, and complexity of business processes.  If the NPSP addresses your core needs it may require less customization than the standard Salesforce solution.

You Can’t Go Wrong

The Foundation enables you to sign up for a 30-day trial before you make a decision. If you are not sure, try both before you apply for the donation. Ready to get your hands on? Click here to sign up.

Please remember that with either template you choose, there may be a number of things to configure, there is no magical solution. Salesforce is one of the most flexible web-based solutions available on the market and it can be customized to meet your needs.

Still not sure? Contact us to consult which template will be right for your organization. We provide one hour of FREE consultation for nonprofit organizations.

Here is a message I received from Steve Anderson (Salesforce Foundation) – good job Steve!
I’m happy to announce new releases of 3 of the Nonprofit Starter Pack packages—Contacts and Organizations, Households, and Recurring Donations.

I recommend installing these packages as they each include bug fixes.
They also include some nice new features:
  • Upgrading is easier
  • Replaced S-Controls in favor of VisualForce
  • Automatic Household Contact roles on Opportunities
  • Campaigns in Recurring Donations
  • Better handling of translations

You can see all the issues that I worked on for this release.
And here are the release details:

Contacts and Organizations

Bug Fixes
  • Marking Contact as Private doesn’t blank out Account (Issue 122)
  • Contacts can be inserted into an existing One to One Account (Issue 132)
  • Standard Accounts don’t work in Contact Merge (Issue 139)
  • Upgrading package requires renaming the Individual Account (Issue 141)
  • Changing Contact data renames non-one-to-one Account (Issue 142)
  • Lead Conversion errors when Lead has no first name (Issue 150)
  • One to one Account can be deleted if it contains Contacts (Issue 165)
  • Outlook Sync doesn’t work with standard NPSP Contact page layout (Issue 83)

New Features
  • VisualForce page for Contact Donation History (Issue 155)


Bug Fixes
  • None

New Features
  • VisualForce for Household Donation History (Issue 156)
  • Contact Roles for Household Members on Opp creation (Issue 151) Docs.

Recurring Donations

Bug Fixes
  • Translation breaks Recurring Donations (Issue 120, Issue 140)

New Features
  • Ability to relate Recurring Donations to Campaigns (Issue 94)

If you are interested in upgrading your packages, please check out the wiki.