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5 Expert Tips for a Successful Salesforce Migration

By Mia Rodrigues July 16, 2021 Elevate is in the process of being retired, and will no longer be sold as of April 3, 2023. See more information in our communication, or find one of our many partners on the AppExchange if you are searching for a digital fundraising solution.

For existing customers, Elevate will be supported through the end of existing contracts.

When I did my kitchen renovation, there were so many things that I wish I had known before I started. Much like any new project or renovation, a transition to Salesforce could have you thinking about the various pros and cons of making this change. Now, I could easily write a blog about my kitchen and chrome versus brass faucets, but today we are going to be talking to five leading experts from various organizations to get their top tips about a migration to Salesforce.

People looking at a computer
Much like any new project or renovation, a transition to Salesforce could have you thinking about the various pros and cons of making this change.

1. Get a 360-Degree View of Constituents

Nicole Adair, Solution Engineer at

Nicole Adair, Solution Engineer at
Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP) is an app that sits on top of Salesforce’s Enterprise platform. It is nonprofit technology for use cases like constituent management, fundraising, marketing and communications, and program management. This means that no matter what your role is in your organization, you can see a full view of information and interaction with every constituent. NPSP has a rich history — it was built by the nonprofit community, for the nonprofit community!

Dustin Pitts, solution engineer at
Dustin Pitts, Solution Engineer at
NPSP allows you to know each donor to deliver exceptional experiences. Specifically:
  • Your major gift officers can drive productivity on a modern mobile platform with instant analytics and income forecasting
  • Programs teams can share transparent impact reports for specific funders
  • Leadership can gain full visibility into revenue and staff performance
  • Teams no longer have to operate in silos and won’t have to deal with the daily headaches of complicated reporting. Take for instance, Accounting Subledger, a product that allows you to align fundraising data with your existing accounting system

With this 360-degree visibility into people, funds, and outcomes, an organization can make better decisions that drive bigger impact. And because NPSP is fully integrated into Nonprofit Cloud, every nonprofit gets to take advantage of the Salesforce platform with world-class security, at least three product or feature updates every year, a robust AppExchange marketplace, and a thriving Trailblazer Community.

Nonprofits of all sizes use Salesforce. Learn more about fundraising with Nonprofit Cloud and NPSP.

2. A Flexible CRM Platform is Key

Tom Leddy, customer success at
Tom Leddy, Customer Success at
Many people who work in the industry will tell you that no two nonprofits are ever exactly alike. Just like a great pair of trousers, there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all software package for nonprofits. NPSP was designed to utilize the flexibility of the Salesforce platform to ensure that every nonprofit can meet the needs of its constituents as effectively as possible.
Organizations using NPSP have access to the same configuration options that are available to commercial organizations that use Salesforce, including the ability to create custom objects and fields that are capable of storing any constituent data that an organization would like to keep track of. The platform also provides the ability to secure that data to ensure that anyone who logs in will only get access to information they need access to. It also gives administrators the ability to automate their processes using point-and-click style tools like flow.
Additionally, NPSP comes with its own set of configuration options that can be used to manage things like naming conventions for donors. The Salesforce AppExchange has a number of industry-specific apps that can be used to extend the platform.
My favorite part: While these configuration options are available to all nonprofits, they really are just options. One of the best things about NPSP is that if an organization has really straightforward needs — like keeping track of donor contacts and their associated accounts and donations — the out-of-the-box functionality will work just fine and you won’t have to configure the platform at all.
Organizations like this can start using NPSP today with only a few basic setup steps. It’s nice to know that these options are there for anyone who does want to take advantage of them, but NPSP was designed to be flexible enough to be used by organizations of all shapes and sizes!

3. Assess Your Data & Map it to Your New Model

Amanda Styles, solution architect at Traction on Demand
Amanda Styles, Solution Architect at Traction on Demand:
NPSP’s core features set nonprofits up for fundraising success while delivering a best-in-class user interface and a 360-degree view of your constituents. Your nonprofit can harness the experience of thousands of nonprofits using NPSP while maintaining the flexibility to customize processes for your unique needs.
As you prepare for your migration, one of your first steps should be assessing your data and working to map it to your new model.
  • Do you really need all that data? We tend to get really attached to all of our data, but many nonprofits would be best served by archiving older records. We have some good advice on what to keep, archive, and leave, which is relevant no matter where you’re coming from.
  • Will you need custom fields and objects? What information do you track that is particular to your organization? You know your data and your donors best. What are you squirreling away in a spreadsheet that you wish you could include in your system?
  • Would you like to consolidate systems and manage program data in the same place? You can combine mission and fundraising in one place and give all of your users the experience they need. Read how The Trevor Project took their LifeLine to the cloud.
  • Which applications do you integrate with now, and which would you like to in the future? For example, there is a ton of opportunity to integrate with your email marketing program. The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society has been thrilled with their Marketing Cloud integration.

4. Customization is Critical

Tal Frankfurt, CEO at Cloud for Good

Tal Frankfurt, CEO at Cloud for Good:
Our customers adopt Salesforce for many reasons, and the ability to customize Salesforce for their needs is a key one. Customization doesn’t mean building everything from scratch, it means flexibility. Salesforce spends almost $2 billion a year on research and development, and as part of that budget they have been steadily releasing solutions for the nonprofit and education sectors.

Recent innovation includes solutions such as: Elevate, a built-in online giving platform Insights, a data quality solution for NPSP; and the Accounting Subledger. Combining these solutions with thousands of partner applications means that our clients don’t have to focus on building common use cases. They can focus on customizing Salesforce to meet their unique business process and needs.
We talk about this and other migration to Salesforce tips in our eBook, Your Guide to Migrating from Raiser’s Edge to Salesforce. A great example of this is Human Rights Watch. This organization consolidated the technology that each department is using into Salesforce for a more holistic view of their organization. They customized the platform to fit the needs of all their different departments — all in one location. In phase one, we focused on fundraising, moving over 17 million total records from their legacy system to Salesforce! Their more unique needs included multi-lingual and multi-currency customizations.
Many of the other platforms available to nonprofits were created for a primary purpose, like fundraising or supporter management. These point solutions limit the flexibility our client’s desire. While true for all organizations, flexibility is especially important for enterprise or fast-growing organizations that don’t want to change their business process to accommodate architectural decisions a vendor made three decades ago when it built an all-inclusive product.

5. Get the Most From Your Events

Laura Flatley, partner marketing at Classy
Laura Flatley, Partner Marketing at Classy:
There are lots of great examples of how an organization can use Classy’s Salesforce integration, but here are two of my favorites.
First, we see organizations using Classy’s Salesforce integration to empower their peer-to-peer fundraisers. Within Classy, you can:
  • Create milestone emails to congratulate and thank fundraisers who raise a certain amount
  • Segment your contacts to recruit peer-to-peer fundraisers (search for successful peer-to-peer fundraisers in your Salesforce database)
  • Create new contacts from peer-to-peer donors and implement an email drip campaign to educate new donors and incite action

Second, we see Classy for Salesforce users get a lot more out of their events. When you connect Classy with Salesforce, you can:

  • Use past fundraising data to inform the goals you set, both on an individual and campaign level
  • Collect all the associated names and information when a family registers for an event or buys more than one ticket
  • Pay attention to data trends, like finding out that people tend to give more frequently or in larger amounts after attending an event or activity

These are just a few of the ways nonprofits can use the Classy for Salesforce integration to optimize fundraising campaigns, nurture donor relationships, and accelerate progress on their mission, but when you connect the platforms to get a holistic view of your audience, the possibilities are endless.

It’s also important to create a timeline for the implementation, but don’t be frustrated if you have to make changes to it. The Canadian Cancer Society is an organization that had to do just that. They had to pivot in the midst of the pandemic and run a mini-implementation before eventually bringing it all together.

There you have it — solid expert knowledge on migrations that can get your organization started on the path to planning for a successful migration.

Learn more about’s Nonprofit Success Pack.

About the Author

Mia P. Rodrigues, Product Marketing at
Mia P. Rodrigues
Product Marketing at
Mia works at on the product marketing team. She previously worked at the World Bank on education policy in Eastern Europe and founded Skill for Kids — a non-profit based in Mongolia. She lives in California with her husband and two kids and is always up for home renovations, book clubs and a good cup of tea.