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Step it up: How to use NPSP Levels for moves management

By: Sara Metheny

Last year, at Dreamforce 2016, I presented on how you could use the Nonprofit Success Pack, usually referred to as NPSP, in a variety of different ways to extend Salesforce’s capabilities. Around that same time, Salesforce introduced its new and modern user interface (called the Lightning Experience) and a host of new features for NPSP, including a long-awaited feature called Levels.


Levels simplified the process of adding up numeric fields. We no longer need to use Process Builder, reports, and roll up summaries, though we still could, to determine how much certain donors had donated and what level of engagement they may be at with an organization. This new feature makes it easier for nonprofits to see who their top constituents are and implement a successful moves management strategy (moving donors or members to increasingly greater levels of engagement).


How do Levels work?


Levels were created to help nonprofits define a numeric field and assign it a “level” at certain numeric points. Every night NPSP calculates the numeric field and updates the record with the correct “level”.


A common example of how this works for a nonprofit is membership levels. Let’s say your organization has four levels of annual giving: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. You organize your memberships based on the “total gifts this year”, so when a donor makes a gift this year their donation is added up and assigned to one of the level.


When they give less than $100 they are considered Bronze, between $100 and $1,000 they’re a Silver member, between $1,000 and $10,000 they’re a Gold member and any donations over $10,000 make them a Platinum member. Let’s say a member who has already donated $500 this year gives another $1,000: their account in Salesforce will be updated to show they donated $1,500 and are now a Gold member.




You can easily define and set up your levels of membership, or any numeric field, within NPSP’s new feature, Levels.


For a nonprofit who has used multiple work arounds in Salesforce to calculate a donor’s total gifts, Levels are great news because they make it easy to calculate a member’s total gifts and where they fall in your membership offerings.


You don’t have to just define memberships with Levels. An organization could add up volunteer hours, attendance at events, or any other numeric field an organization could have in Salesforce.


How can I start using Levels?


If you received your Salesforce instance after September 2016 or have recently upgraded to NPSP 3.8 or later there’s good news! You’re all set up to create Levels and you can start here.


If you’re using an older version of Salesforce, you’ll need to enable the Level object and then create Level fields in Object Manager. The Power of Us Hub provides full instructions here. Of course, Idealist Consulting or your internal Salesforce admin can be a helpful resource if this seems daunting.


Not sure what version you’re using? You can find out what version of Salesforce you have here.


Keep extending NPSP


Not only can you use Levels to add up a field and assign it a level of membership or volunteer status, you can use Levels to display the previous Levels or count record types. Using Salesforce to the full extent like this will help your organization get a full picture of each of your donors and their engagement with your organization.



You can add fields to display the donor’s past Levels and gifting history.

The options for how you use NPSP are flexible for each organization- its “Proprietary Open Source Environment” is what makes this possible. As Levels become more common within the NPSP community you’ll be able to find many use cases documented online to help you expand your instance.


Ready to take your moves management even further?

Check out our resources for how Salesforce technology can help you achieve your fundraising goals with a moves management strategy.


View the Moves Management Resources


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