What’s New in Salesforce NPSP 3 (Cumulus)?

The Salesforce Nonprofit Starter Pack 3 (NPSP 3) – previously referred to as Project Cumulus – is here! You may have heard rumblings for a while that the Salesforce Foundation is doing a major overhaul of the Nonprofit Starter Pack. The team has been hard at work to improve the tool and the entire install experience. I’ve tested it out and I am incredibly excited about it.

The best place to get all the details is in the Salesforce Foundation HUB group here or from the full documentation. Below is a quick overview of some of the highlights that think are most notable.

Household Account Model

The biggest change is to the Account-Contact model. In the past, organizations would select either the “Bucket” model or the “1 to 1” model. The NPSP 3 has a third model that is similar to the one used by Luminate CRM and roundCause. In this model, each household is an Account, which can have multiple Contacts. For example, John and Lisa Smith would have a single Account record for their household, yet have individual contact records for John Smith and Lisa Smith. They could potentially have other household members as well, such as children.

This Household Account model will now be the default model for all new organizations signing up for the Nonprofit Starter Pack. Organizations wishing to change models should do so carefully by testing in a sandbox environment first.

Address Processing

The next big improvement is Address Processing, for years a big challenge for many nonprofits. For a long time, organizations have had to track address information directly on an Account or Contact, with little detail about start and end date, or potentially seasonal addresses. The new release addresses this issue well and will go a long way to handling many of nonprofits’ most pressing contact management needs. On top of that, the Foundation has built an integration with Smarty Streets, an address verification service, which offers address verification FREE to nonprofits!

UPDATE 11-2014: Smarty Sheets has clarified their policy as the following: Our policy is that we don’t have any special pricing for non-profits. We provide 10,000 lookups the first month for each customer and then 250 free per month thereafter. Anything above that needs to be purchased. These can be used in any fashion, including with the NonProfit Starter Pack from Salesforce.

Smooth Upgrades

If you are already using the NPSP you may be wondering how you can get these wonderful features. Well, the upgrade path is meant to make things as smooth and seamless as possible, with a single installer. It evaluates what is currently installed and acts accordingly. Of course you should test in a sandbox first before making any updates. You do not need to change the data model if you are using the Bucket model or the 1 to 1 model. However, you will want to consider it as it is the direction many organizations are going. If changing Account models, some data migration may be necessary. But no data migration is necessary to run the upgrade. All details for upgrading are available in the Power of Us HUB.

And of course, the upgrade is FREE!

Overall, with this release I think that the Nonprofit Starter Pack, plus a few key low cost Apps can give many legacy fundraising systems a run for their money (and did I mention it’s FREE?). It really seems like a great opportunity for those organizations that have been considering taking the plunge into Salesforce to get in with a tool that will take them to the next level. It provides a great foundation for nonprofit organizations to start their organization on their long term CRM strategy. Find more specific details in the documentation here.

Have any questions I can answer? Ask below.

Mary Pustejovsky

About Mary Pustejovsky

A 2013 Salesforce MVP, Mary joined Heller Consulting in 2006 and has been helping nonprofits be more effective with their data ever since. At Heller, Mary has worked with clients of all sizes and types, from small schools and hospital foundations to large international relief organizations. She has a passion for nonprofits that drives all of the work that she does with clients. She strives to truly understand the business needs of an organization and help clients to find the solution that is best for them. Mary consults on The Raiser’s Edge as well as Salesforce.com and various Apps in its ecosystem, and enjoys helping clients be more successful with the software they have, or determining what will help them to meet their needs in the future. She is a Salesforce.com Certified Advanced Administrator and Certified Developer, as well as a Luminate CSP Consultant and Technical Specialist.


  1. susan wright

    Super helpful synopsis. Thanks Mary.

  2. Bryan Giese

    Here’s a video from the Salesforce Foundation Office Hours with Kevin Bromer, Salesforce.com Foundation Director of Product Development walking through what’s new with the latest version of the Nonprofit Starter Pack.

    What’s new in NPSPv3?

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