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Putting the Pieces Together: Tracking Relationships in Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud

5.17.23 By: Idealist Consulting

Each person your organization interacts with may have countless types of relationships that are meaningful to their lives. Understanding these relationships and affiliations is vital for better program management, grants management, and effective fundraising.

In this post, we'll explore how to use Salesforce to track the various types of relationships that are relevant to your constituents, including family members, legal guardians, affiliates, and partnerships. You will also learn how employing the householding method to track these relationships by grouping individuals together can expand your organization's understanding of your community and help nurture relationships more effectively.

Salesforce offers many options for organizing and understanding these relationships. With the release of their new product, Nonprofit Cloud, there are several new, customizable ways to visualize relationships within your organization’s network.

Understanding relationships is like solving a puzzle: just as a puzzle requires many pieces to come together in order to create a complete picture, modeling relationships in Salesforce requires many different data points to come together in order to create a complete understanding of each constituent.

Understanding Person Accounts

Before we dive into Salesforce relationships, it’s important to understand what Person Accounts are as they will be used by any nonprofit using Nonprofit Cloud. Person Accounts are a type of account in Salesforce that blends account-specific and contact-specific information into one holistic view. They behave very similarly to accounts but represent an individual rather than an organization. To get a more comprehensive introduction to Person Accounts, check out our post: Salesforce Person Accounts: A 3D View

Householding for Nonprofits

Householding in Salesforce allows you to organize people (Person Accounts) into groups and track important information that pertains to that group. For example, a group of people enrolled in a nonprofit's programs who live together, an individual's relatives, donations from a family, life partners, or spouses. Households also allow you to have an address and phone number listed for a group of people living together and other data points that are helpful to be tracked at the household level. Householding simplifies the way nonprofits identify and manage individuals within a household, and enables organizations to see all the relationships and affiliations related to an individual. 

Nonprofits can use householding to enhance program management so that caseworkers can understand an individual’s family relationships and impacts (for example, noting a minor’s legal guardian). Using households can also facilitate more effective fundraising efforts by grouping individuals together so that fundraisers can easily document the name of a spouse, child, or family member of a donor, allowing nonprofits to gain a better understanding of that individual and nurture the relationship.

What is new with Nonprofit Cloud?

With Salesforce’s Nonprofit Cloud, we gain access to four new ways of documenting these different types of relationships. Below we’ll outline each of these new additions to gain a better understanding of how organizations can track relationships:

  • Party Relationship Group: This object serves as the descriptor of the group and holds information like group size and group income. This allows organizations to capture and consolidate more information for each household. We'll have additional information on what this will look like for fundraising purposes later this year.
  • Account-Account Relationship: This object allows for professional and personal affiliations to be tracked. As an example, consider a family and their attorney. In this scenario, you have the family's household record, which serves as an account, and there is also a connection to the attorney's office to indicate that the attorney is representing that particular household.
  • Contact-Contact Relationship: This object allows for personal affiliations and relationships between contacts to be modeled, and functions much like the Relationship object in Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP). This object could represent the relationship between spouses, or that of a grandparent and grandchild.
  • Party Role Relationship: This object allows nonprofits to standardize and track types of relationships they deal with repeatedly. A Party Role Relationship must be identified for every Account-Account or Contact-Contact object created. For example, “Parent-Child” or “Tenant-Homeless Shelter”.

How do we bring all of this data together?

A new tool within Nonprofit Cloud, Salesforce’s Actionable Relationship Center (ARC) is a powerful data visualization tool that models all the different relationships inside a constituent's life. It helps organizations understand the relationships and networks each constituent is a part of. With advanced configurability, it compiles all the information needed to understand relationships, including family relationships, legal affiliations, and donor partnerships into one easy-to-read visualization.

What’s next?

Understanding and managing relationships and affiliations with more depth can transform the way your organization achieves its mission. Salesforce provides many different models for grouping individuals and documenting relationships as we covered above, and offers tools like the Actionable Relationship Center to help organizations better understand and visualize the relationships and networks that make up communities.

We’re staying up to date with all the latest Nonprofit Cloud updates, and will continue to share what we’re learning with you here on our blog, in our monthly newsletter, and on our LinkedIn page. Stay tuned for updates on fundraising and the Party Model, coming soon!

Follow along!

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