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NPSP as Easy as 1, 2, 3: Upgrading to NPSP 3

By February 8, 2016

By: Mags Rivett, Head of Marketing & Digital, Purple Vision

NPSP 3NPSP 3 was released last year. NPSP 3 offers comprehensive updates that make managing a range of nonprofit interactions more efficient, and adds new features, too.

Since then, some have upgraded, while others have held back. The reasons for not upgrading are as wide and varied as the nonprofits using Salesforce.

Time is a big factor since hours in the day are limited, and I’ve yet to meet anyone in a nonprofit who sits twiddling their thumbs wondering what to do next.

Fear is another. If you’ve spent hours getting your data in shape, and working out how the system works, even training and supporting others to use it too, there will naturally be a fear that an upgrade will change things and you’ll have to start again with the training (see Time).

I think we have to be honest, too ― the path of least resistance is also a well-trodden trail. If there’s no compelling reason to change something, or no immediacy, then it’s easy to ignore it or keep moving it down the list.

All these are, within organisational context, are fair enough. But we think the reasons for upgrading are more compelling.

Our 3 key reasons why you should upgrade to NPSP 3:

  1. Not getting left behind. Other nonprofits have already upgraded and are able to take advantage of the additional functionality. The extra features will help with your day to day tasks, and ultimately mean you will get smarter reporting and be able to make better decisions about your funding, relationships and direction of travel. Don’t get left behind when you could be enjoying additional benefits.
  2. Compatibility with other packages. The Nonprofit Starter Pack is just that – a starter pack. As demand grows and more users are adopting it, more third-party developers and members of the community are building add-on packages that extend the Starter Pack. Many managed packages and apps for nonprofits are built to be compatible with the NPSP codebase, so it’s possible that packages you have or may want to have in the future may not work on anything but the latest version, or may not work optimally on an older version.
  3. Automatic updates. When you’re using NPSP 3, new updates will automatically appear every 2 weeks. Yes, 2 weeks. That’s how fast things can change and develop. These updates will be a mix of fixes and new features. If you’re not on NPSP 3, you’ll miss the automatic upgrades.

If you’re still not sure about upgrading, ask for help. There’s plenty of it around – via the free Power of Us Hub (you’ll need your Salesforce login) release notes and documentation (via the Hub Knowledge Base), as well as the Upgrade Webinar recording. Alternatively, you can ask a Partner for support. While you will have to pay for this, it may be the fastest way for you to make the upgrade.

What’s included in the Upgrade

There’s something in NPSP 3 for everyone, whether you’re a technical or functional user. Salesforce Administrators can enjoy some smart new features that will make life much easier, such as a Health Check that automatically checks data for inconsistencies and makes sure that settings are still valid. But the biggest change for admins is the automatic upgrade – bug fixes and releases will just be auto-rolled directly to your Salesforce instance in the future.

Overall, the biggest changes are around architecture – and six packages of code have been consolidated into one single package, making future upgrades even easier. NPSP will also work more effectively with the Salesforce1 Mobile App.

The other updates are around Accounts, Contacts and Opportunities, with a range of new options available to you to configure as your organisation requires. The ability to set a primary contact for each a household is one example.

Make the move today

There’s a lot of extra support for making a move to NPSP 3 this month (it’s NPSP Upgrade Month – I bet you didn’t have that on your calendar), and throughout the year. Extra support is a good thing and accessing it wherever you can is going to help. Make sure to sign up for ‘office hours’ (dial an expert) and visit the Power of Us Hub Upgrade Group for advice from others doing the upgrade, too.

Looking for help with the NPSP 3 upgrade in the UK or Europe? Learn more at

Watch the Upgrade Webinar Recording