Behind the scenes: NPSP’s new Customizable Rollups

Profile picture for user Kirsten Kippen
By: Kirsten Kippen | 7.17.18

If you’ve been watching the Nonprofit Success Pack release announcements recently, you know that their developer team has been HUSTLING. There have been tons of exciting new features released. The new Customizable Rollups feature was of particular excitement to our team.

One of Idealist Consulting’s former developers, Michael Smith, now works for the NPSP developer team at, so we decided to catch up with him and get an inside look at how the NPSP team decides how to approach new features.


How does the developer team decide what to focus on for new features?

We have a product management team and product owners who make final product decisions. We’ve also got a solid team for QA and release engineers so we can have more initiatives at the same time.

A lot of features come from client requests - things like soft credits and platform encryption for example. Our product owners review the product backlog as well, go through and pick what they see as something that’s needed.

This is largely informed by what they’ve seen the nonprofit community talking about on the (Power of us) Hub, but it also includes broader market trends and what they see as critical for being competitive in the nonprofit market.


I think of the Hub as mostly a helpful resource for nonprofits seeking answers but it really sounds like your team relies on it as well–how often are you on there?

Actually, I just answered a question in the Hub this morning—our team definitely pays attention. It’s amazing for us to have this direct insight into what customers are asking for and how they think about the platform.

We have people on (Customer Centric Engineering Director) Judi Sohn’s team who are dedicated to community conversations, and are constantly looking for issues, addressing questions, and bringing stuff up. Check out the NPSP Hub group for a look into this conversation.

The Hub is really different from other Salesforce success communities–it’s a very welcoming environment and people are always willing to help–our team all want to make a product that’s helpful for everyone. That’s why we work here.


Let’s talk about a specific new feature you released–what was the problem you were trying to solve with the new Customizable Rollups fields?

This definitely was a grassroots thing–people said we really need better support for this. Nic (Campbell) drove the process early on. The community really helped us focus on what was needed, and our amazing product manager Stephanie Zeitz and development team made it a reality. This is one of our biggest, most complex features ever, and we're very proud of the SFDO team that worked on it.

Here’s how describes the new Customizable Rollups feature on their blog:

“Fundraisers need a complete view of donor giving to properly engage with all types of donors, from major to recurring and more. Rolling up donor data is an essential part of this overall view and an important part of fundraising with the Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP). And since every nonprofit is unique, it is especially important that you’re able to roll up exactly the data you need, and to the right records. With Customizable Rollups, you can easily understand lifetime donor giving, years donated and more depending on your unique organizational needs. In fact, you can create as many custom rollups as you need and define their process, filters, and where they roll up to.”


As one Idealist Consultant put it, “this will be a game changer for most nonprofits, especially those that struggle with accommodating both cash and accrual totals.” What other benefits do Customizable Rollups have for nonprofits?

Here are just some of the benefits:

  • It’s great for cash and accrual - fundraisers are able to roll up from the payment level to account or contact.

  • Offers increased flexibility of being able to have specialized donor statistics that differ from the out-of-the-box NPSP package. For example, one client I recently worked with had rollups for last 5000 days, 1000 days, 500 days and could break down fiscal year vs. calendar year.

  • There are newer rollup types: for example, you can build a list of all the years someone has donated.

  • You can report on the current streak (number of successive years in a row that a donor has donated).

  • For larger orgs we’ve improved how it supports millions of rows–there used to be some data skew when there were hundreds of thousands of attached opportunities–now we have rewritten the code to support them.


So it sounds like anyone building reports will be super excited. I imagine this is also powerful for segmentation–what possibilities do the Customizable Rollups have for donor campaigns?

Absolutely. You could easily build campaigns based on some of this data–or example you could create a rollup, run a report, realize an average number of consecutive years of donation is four, then pull everyone who last donated more than four years ago and build a marketing campaign for that.

Or you could target those who have only donated two years in a row, and build a campaign for that to turn them into more regular donors. Or even lapsed donors–a creative marketer is always looking at ways to slice and dice data and take advantage of ways they can make an impact–Customizable Rollups gives them tools to be smarter.


Could Customizable Rollups connect to engagement plans and levels?

You could have rollups based on specific criteria that link into levels and engagement plans. There’s absolutely potential here - opens up more possibilities for using levels.


Do NPSP users need to learn how to do anything differently in order to adopt this feature?

This is probably an extension of how they are already thinking about fundraising. Now we have given them the tools to get the information they were previously unable to get. There isn’t really a need for people to rethink data structure - this was more about filling a gap.


What are other new NPSP features you excited about?

Automated Soft Credits are being released into production this evening and I’m particularly excited about this. Now you can identify people ahead of time who should receive soft credit for gifts from an Organization, or people that are being solicited by another Contact. When a donation comes in from that Contact or Organization, soft credit is automatically applied.

This will help organizations with board members as solicitors, or those where people give through a family foundation. We’re also releasing support for platform encryption. You can find full details in our release notes.



Want to chat about how your nonprofit can benefit from Salesforce or an upgrade to the Salesforce Lightning experience?


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