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Salesforce Grant Management for Nonprofits: NPSP vs. Nonprofit Cloud

By: Idealist Consulting

When it comes to managing grants, Salesforce isn't just a tool; it's a strategic partner that transforms the entire grant lifecycle into a seamless and trackable journey. This translates to enhanced transparency, active engagement, and process simplification.

Salesforce currently offers two products to help nonprofits manage grants: Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP) and their new offering, Nonprofit Cloud. Both options offer tools that help organizations manage grants with grant lifecycle management, an efficient review platform, document management, and options for flexibility and customization. The Idealist Consulting team is here to be your guide in navigating these options and choosing the best solution for your organization’s needs. Read on to learn more about the options available for grant management organizations, and be sure to give our team a call if you want to talk through your organization’s specific requirements.

Managing grants in NPSP

Within the Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP), there are two options available for effective grant management, each tailored to different organizational requirements.

The first option, the Outbound Funds Module, provides a fundamental framework for tracking outbound financial activities with a primary focus on grants. Outbound Funds is free for nonprofit Salesforce users and is particularly suitable for foundations and nonprofits with a limited budget or who don’t need advanced functionality like building a user portal. For example, an organization may use this option to monitor scholarships and the individuals who receive them, allowing them to track outbound funds in detail. This option is designed with simplicity in mind, offering basic grant-tracking functionalities.

On the other hand, the Grants Management Module comes at an additional cost and offers a more comprehensive set of features compared to Outbound Funds. This option is tailored towards grant-making organizations, encompassing the entire spectrum of grant-related activities. It places emphasis on both those seeking grants and those providing funds. This module provides an array of advanced functionalities, including the integration of an applicant portal, tracking of guidance for applicants, robust task management, and due diligence processes to ensure that recipient organizations adhere to grant requirements. However, it may not be the most suitable fit for fiscal sponsorship organizations and might provide more features than needed for some organizations. Customization of the Grants Management Module is possible through the use of Salesforce flows, enabling organizations to construct bespoke grant application processes with the help of a trusted consultant partner.

NPSP offers nonprofit organizations the flexibility to choose between these two grant management options based on their specific needs and operational preferences. The Outbound Funds option is geared towards straightforward grant tracking, while the Grants Management Module provides a more comprehensive suite of tools for organizations heavily involved in grant-making activities.

What about the new product, Nonprofit Cloud?

Salesforce's new Nonprofit Cloud for Grantmaking offers functionality beyond what is available in NPSP’s Grants Management Module, allowing nonprofits to harness core components and tools developed for various other industries, including a suite of features designed to streamline and enhance organizations' operations. With Nonprofit Cloud for Grantmaking, organizations will still get a robust data model for grants and features similar to what they found with the NPSP version, but they will also be able to leverage these industry core components to create customized processes that align with their unique workflows. This functionality empowers nonprofits to not only manage their data effectively but also design automated processes that reflect the full lifecycle of their programs, making tracking and reporting a seamless experience.

The Actionable Relationship Center (ARC) is one of these components and significantly enhances relationship management. ARC allows organizations to see relationships and connections between participants, the programs they're engaged in, and the grants they're receiving. This comprehensive view enables nonprofits to better understand their constituents' interactions and tailor their support accordingly. ARC provides nonprofits with a holistic view of their relationships, promoting more informed decision-making and engagement strategies.

Nonprofit Cloud also introduced the Business Rules Engine, which facilitates eligibility assessments for various programs. This tool allows organizations to guide applicants through a backend process that evaluates their qualifications and identifies potential gaps in eligibility. For example, in the context of a grant program, the business rules engine can identify missing documents or requirements, allowing nonprofit staff to provide more targeted assistance. This level of automation and efficiency not only expedites the application process but also supports due diligence, making it easier for nonprofits to ensure compliance and assist beneficiaries effectively.

There are many other examples of industry common components that help simplify and streamline grant management processes including Omnistudio and Timeline. OmniStudio is a robust toolset that can create sophisticated automations and reusable, modular components. It can be used to create grant applications that allow organizations to easily update and swap out sections as the application changes over time. The Timeline component allows organizations to visually illustrate the history of an applicant, aiding in comprehensive tracking. While similar functionality is present in NPSP, Nonprofit Cloud refines the user experience, providing an intuitive interface for tracking applicant history, program participation, and grant reception. This emphasis on user-friendly design ensures that nonprofit staff can easily navigate complex relationships and histories.

Salesforce's Nonprofit Cloud product goes beyond the foundational capabilities of NPSP, offering advanced tools and functionalities that streamline operations, enhance relationship management, and increase the efficiency of eligibility assessments. These features empower nonprofits to navigate their complex workflows with greater ease and effectiveness, ultimately allowing them to focus more on their mission and the communities they serve. 

Want to learn more about Nonprofit Cloud? Check out our collection of resources on Salesforce’s latest offering for nonprofits.

Which solution is right for me?

The decision between NPSP and Nonprofit Cloud hinges on your organization's needs and the system you're currently using:

For New Users: If your organization is new to Salesforce, Nonprofit Cloud is an attractive option. It offers an established data model, fundraising capabilities, industry-standard components, and an enhanced user experience. If your organization is just getting started with Salesforce, implementing Nonprofit Cloud (as opposed to NPSP) will give you access to the largest selection of tools and features.

For Existing Users: If you're already using Salesforce, migrating to Nonprofit Cloud is an option if you’re seeking additional functionality and access to industry core components. Otherwise, you can choose between NPSP's Outbound Funds or Grants Management Module, based on your grant management complexity and budget considerations. It’s important to note that migration is no small task, so our team is here to help you weigh the options and considerations specific to your mission.

Salesforce's grant management capabilities empower nonprofit organizations to efficiently navigate the complexities of grant lifecycles. Whether you opt for the NPSP Outbound Funds, Grants Management Module, or the advanced features of Nonprofit Cloud, Salesforce provides tools to streamline your grant management processes. The Idealist Consulting team has years of experience implementing custom solutions for grantmaking organizations of all sizes, and we would be happy to talk through your options and considerations for your organization. Click the button below to talk to one of our Salesforce experts!

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