Nonprofit Starter Pack feature: Data Model and Functionality

Nonprofit Starter Pack Feature: Data Model and Functionality

The Nonprofit Starter Pack (NPSP) 3.0 is an App that configures Salesforce for lightweight demographic, relationship management, donation management and volunteer management needs of nonprofits. The NPSP is offered free of charge by the Salesforce Foundation. The Salesforce Foundation makes it easy to get NPSP 3 whether you are new to Salesforce or upgrading from an earlier version. NPSP 3 has also been updated to fully support Salesforce 1 for Nonprofits. Updates to the application are pushed out every few weeks and update your system automatically. Updates are based on a combination of roadmap items, responses to customer requests for functionality, and community-generated features. Heller Consulting released a white paper describing the basic features of the NPSP. Today we will be going over Data Model and Functionality.

One of the key differentiators of the NPSP is the ability to choose an account model that best suits your needs.

The NPSP provides three distinct options for tracking individuals:

  • Bucket Account Model. The Bucket Account Model automatically assigns individuals to a “bucket” account called “Individual”. If this model is chosen, the “bucket” Account can get quite large as the database grows over time. Eventually, it is possible for the Account to get so large (many tens of thousands of records) that database performance could be affected.
  • 1-to-1 Account Model. In the 1-to-1 Account Model, each Contact is automatically assigned to its own Account, which has the same name as the Contact and is not directly visible to the end user.
  • Household Account Model. In the Household Account Model, a standard Salesforce Account is automatically created and multiple Contacts can be added to the same Household Account. The Household Account model is enabled by default on all new installs of NPSP 3.

Each option has its own considerations, primarily around reporting, security, and data storage. This is a key pre-implementation decision for nonprofits that select the NPSP. Once a nonprofit selects a model, it can be changed, but keeping data usable requires running a Salesforce Foundation-provided installer to make the technical changes necessary. As time goes on, more and more organizations will install or migrate to the Household Account Model, as it is the new standard for NPSP 3 and likely to become the basis for
all future development.

Find out more about the features and benefits of NPSP’s newest capabilities by downloading this free resource now.

Download Free White Paper!
Emma Shipley

About Emma Shipley

I have always held a passion for community involvement, fundraising, and volunteering, which has brought me in touch with a number of nonprofit organizations. During my time at Indiana University, I worked with the City of Bloomington Volunteer Network to connect citizens with their ideal volunteer experience while promoting volunteerism in the community. In addition, I spent the summer of 2012 working as a mentor for adolescent girls ages 5-15 at Girls, Incorporated of Monroe County. I received my degree in Journalism with a focus in Marketing and Visual Communications. In my free time, I enjoy live music, visiting farmer’s markets, trying new recipes, and exploring Chicago.


  1. Check out this site. It is a comprehensive collection of video tutorials designed specifically to educate the Non profit users about NPSP 3.0.
    Get started at

  2. Ryan Granzow

    This is so helpful! Choosing a model can be difficult, and this helps me better understand the options.

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