Preparing for Salesforce Data Migration with Nonprofit Success Pack

For many nonprofit organizations, choosing to invest in Salesforce and creating your Salesforce data migration strategy to a brand new CRM can be exciting. However, one challenge that can present itself is not knowing how to fit legacy data into Salesforce Nonprofit Success Pack architecture. This is a crucial step for ensuring that users will successfully adopt the platform. How can nonprofits plan effectively so that they can successfully migrate and make the most of their existing data into Salesforce? 


Tip 1: Analyze Legacy Data

Prior to starting the process, we advise nonprofit organizations to invest time to understand  the current data that they have, as well as any nuances that exist with the current system or platform that is being used. In doing so, it is likely that any organization going through this exercise will  encounter dirty and duplicate data, which means there is a high probability that there will need to be a cleansing and transformation exercise completed in order to have the data structured in a way that is meaningful. Key analysis questions to keep in mind before getting started:

  • How does a user identify a constituent in the current system (e.g. John Smith may be in a database numerous times) and is there a unique identifier that allows the user to find a distinct person?
  • When a constituent gives a gift how is that information entered?
  • How are data points currently connected or associated? (e.g. gifts, other constituents that may be related for example)?
  • How many years worth of data are you keeping in your current system? Is there value to bringing it all over into your new system of record?


Tip 2: Familiarize Yourself with NPSP Data Structure

The Nonprofit Success Pack turns Salesforce into a constituent management system built to manage common nonprofit use cases from fundraising and gift matching to program management and even accounting (learn more here).


Tip 3: Make a Plan for Legacy Data in Salesforce

Migrating legacy data generally means that there is a reporting goal in mind that will enable an organization to address their reporting needs, so thinking through how the data could be utilized once it’s in Salesforce is also really important. 

Brainstorm key reporting metrics that are required. For example, several nonprofit organizations have requirements to report on how fundraising is allocated and where the funds were designated to. Another popular report that may be required is a summary of giving totals by individual or organization. Visualizing how key data will be utilized once it’s in Salesforce will aid nonprofits with being able to decide what data is relevant and will be utilized for future reporting needs.


Tip 4: Map and Validate Where Data Needs to go

At times, this can be a very revealing part of the process and is essential to building the perfect blueprint to transitioning data. I liken the process to moving into a new space with set dimensions and a floor plan with a limited amount of square footage. Without planning carefully, the new homeowners may have purchased a sectional couch that does not fit through the door frame, or the desired space (e.g. the living room).


Sample Scenarios:

As mentioned before, understanding Nonprofit Success Pack architecture is critical to ensuring that data ends up in the right destination. Here are a few sample scenarios to illustrate an approach nonprofits can take to assign data to the appropriate landing spot within NPSP:


Scenario 1: Source legacy data contains information about 1 or more constituents living at the same address

Where does it go in NPSP?

Each individual constituent will exist as a contact record, and each person residing at the same address can be modelled so that they belong to the same household account. Additionally, if there are numerous addresses associated with the household members (e.g. vacation homes, work and primary residences) this can be captured as address records.


Scenario 2: Organizations are identified within the source legacy data, and there is information about the specific entity (e.g. the business is a foundation, or grant making authority).

Where does it go in NPSP?

In Salesforce, the organization entity would be captured as an organization account.


Scenario 3: In the current platform, constituents have a complete gift history, with gifts that are captured and tied to their constituent records.

Where does it go in NPSP?

Each gift would be captured as a donation opportunity. Within NPSP, there are data points to aggregate the total giving, on the household as well as on the contact.


Scenario 4: When constituents are only influential to a gift being made. For example, for each time they solicit another person to make a donation, the legacy data has documented each time this happened.

Where does it go in NPSP?

Since it can be incredibly important to track gifts that are influenced by constituents like board or staff members, NPSP can define the role of the influencer and generate a soft credit with opportunity contact roles.


Scenario 5: Legacy data contains information about how constituents interact with other constituents or business entities — that is how a person is connected to another person, or a business. 

Where does it go in NPSP?

In the case where the constituents are related, or living at the same address, this can be modelled with Relationships. When it is important to identify how a constituent is linked to an organization, NPSP can capture this information with affiliations.


Tip 5: Complete a Dry Run

If possible, complete the entire migration in a sandbox org. Understand current constraints within the existing system so that users can have a plan on how they will move forward. Is all data relevant data? It can be tempting to bring over every single piece of information from every table in the current system, but what is absolutely necessary? Completing the dry run in a staging environment is a fantastic way to simulate what the data will actually look like, and it allows users time to audit and fix issues before stakeholders begin using the platform regularly.


Nonprofits should plan to leverage their data to tell a story about who their constituents are, as well as how and why they continue to support their missions. Purposeful planning ahead of a data migration journey makes achieving this storytelling a little easier. 


If you’d like to start a conversation about how we can put these principles to work for your organization, please get in touch with us today!

Written by
Plative Miata King

Miata King

Salesforce Consultant

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