How to get Fiscal Year NPSP Rollups with Custom Fiscal Year Enabled by Michelle Regal

Inheriting a Salesforce org from another administrator can be both freeing and frustrating. One major source of frustration we’ve seen recently? New admins logging into their new-to-them orgs, only to find that the previous admin enabled Custom Fiscal Years.

*cue melancholy music*

This is horrifying for a couple of reasons, mainly

1. Your organization does not have custom fiscal years. Say it with me: “My organization does not have custom fiscal years.” That’s right, if your organization’s fiscal year is a standard 365 days (no matter when it starts), then you do not need Custom Fiscal Year enabled.
2. Once you turn on Custom Fiscal Year, you can’t turn it off. Ever. Even Salesforce Support can’t turn it off for you. You’ll need to start a whole new instance of Salesforce.
3. All of your NPSP rollup fields that calculate donations based on Fiscal Year are invalid because they aren’t compatible with the Custom Fiscal Year setting.

So what’s an admin to do?

After shaking your fists at the sky and crying out in frustration, head over to the AppExchange and install Declarative Lookup Rollup Summaries (DLRS)* in your Salesforce instance, because we’re going to solve your donation rollup problem!

Once you have DLRS installed in your org, you’ll need to create a few fields on the Opportunity and Contact objects to help with the rollup calculations.

First, create a number formula field to calculate the Fiscal Year on the Opportunity (Donation). The formula should look something like this:

  MONTH( CloseDate ),
  1, (Year( CloseDate )),
  2, (Year( CloseDate )),
  3, (Year( CloseDate )),
  4, (Year( CloseDate )),
  5, (Year( CloseDate )),
  6, (Year( CloseDate )),
  (Year( CloseDate))+1)

In this example, a donation made on 2/1/2016 (February 1st, 2016)  would be assigned as Fiscal Year 2016, while a donation made on 7/1/2016 (July 1st, 2016) would be assigned as Fiscal Year 2017. 

Update the formula so the CASE function includes a line for every month in the calendar year before your fiscal year start. For example, this organization’s fiscal year starts on July 1 (7/1), so I included a CASE condition for months 1-6.

Create a currency field on the Contact to hold the sum of donations for a particular fiscal year (i.e. Sum of Donations FY2017). This is where the result of your DLRS rollup summary will go. 

Next, create the Lookup Rollup Summary to sum the amount of all related Opportunities (Donations) that are Closed Won and fall in that fiscal year. The key is setting the Criteria: StageName = 'Closed Won' AND Fiscal_Year__c = 2017. 

Fiscal Year NPSP Rollups

Similarly, if you want to count the number of donations in a particular fiscal year, you just need to create a number field on the Contact object to hold the amount and create a Lookup Rollup Summary where the Aggregate Operation is Count.

But what if I just want a field that calculates for THIS fiscal year?

The only way to automate that is with custom Apex code. However, you can “hack” a solution with DLRS by just updating the year specified in the Relationship Criteria to the current fiscal year. (You’ll just need to remember to update it each time a new FY rolls around.) Just remember to click Save and then Calculate when you update the year so all your Contact records get updated.

* Make sure to read through the DLRS documentation to learn about how the rollup summaries work, latest release features, and any limitations.

Your Salesforce Needs Some Design Love (Part Three) by Reilly Ellis

Usability Testing (You are not your users)

The most important thing to remember about design is that you are not your users. The design principles that I previously covered will help you set the groundwork for a usable system, but the best way to see if your system is usable is to test your users using it.

Remember the law of familiarity. Admins are in Salesforce all the time. What makes sense to you may because of your history with the platform may not make sense to someone who is just in Salesforce to enter program data.

The is doubly true when you’re doing a redesign or introducing a new feature. You’ve developed familiarity with your design through the time that you spent creating it. It can be hard for you to tell if something makes sense because of its design or because you’ve developed a learned association.

Usability Testing vs. User Acceptance Testing

You’ve probably does user tests in your system before, but it’s likely those were user acceptance tests. User acceptance testing checks to see if your systems working correctly, for instance, does the “Total Payments” rollup accurately calculate all the payments?

Usability testing checks if your users are using your system correctly. For instance, do they know what the “Total Payments” field is? Do they use it like you want them to use it?

Usability Testing in Six Steps

1. Identify users

Survey a range of users - new users, super users, and users who still struggle.

2. Introduce a scenario or task

This is what you’ll be testing! Something like, “create a new contact” or “find the date of someone’s last donation.”

3. Ask the user to narrate their thoughts while they complete the task

Their narration will give you insight into your design. What parts do they understand? What parts are they missing?

4. Observe the user complete the task (silently!)

This may be the hardest part of user testing - but it’s important for you to stay silent. You won’t always be there to guide them when they’re using Salesforce.

5. Ask follow-up questions after the task

This is your chance to dig in to the actions you observed and get more feedback on the design.

6. Iterate & repeat!

Make the necessary changes, find more users, and repeat!


Usability Testing Quick Tips

Not everything is perfectly intuitive the first time around. You can test “learnability” by asking the same user to complete the same task multiple times. If they get it after a couple tries, great! If they still need help weeks later, you should reassess your design.

If you or your users don’t have time for dedicated usability testing - wrap it in with training. When your users ask you how to complete as task, have them show you how they do it first before you show them. This will give you some quick insight to the usability of your design.

Your Salesforce Needs Some Design Love (Part Two) by Reilly Ellis

Gestalt Principles (Why we group the things we do)

Visually, our brains like groups. They’ll take small, simple images and form them into groups. They’ll take large, complex images and break them up into groups. Our brains do this so that the information is easier to process. (Spot a trend?)

Gestalt principles explain how and why we create what groups or associations.

Used well, the gestalt principles can help make your interface easier to understand.

Used poorly, they can create confusion where people group things together that are different.

There are eight in total, but I’m going to review the most relevant below.

Laws of Similarity & Proximity

The law of similarity states that we group similar elements together.

blue and yellow.png

That’s why you can easily identify the blue rectangles as one group and the yellow circles as another.

The law of proximity states that we group close things together.

That’s why we don’t see one group of blue rectangles - we see three groups separated by whitespace. In the right hand group, the yellow outline helps us mark out a subset of two squares.

The laws of proximity and similarity come into play in page layouts and field names.

Here are two page layouts. In the first one, I threw the fields onto the page. There are only nine fields, how hard can it be to understand?

On the second one, however, I considered the laws of proximity and similarity and designed the page to facilitate the users’ understanding.

Version 1

Version 1

Version 2

Version 2

Let’s take a closer look. The first version has some groupings, but are they what we want?



In the red box, we can see that all fields are in the same section, so they are all given the same level of importance.

In the purple box, the “Background Check Complete” and the “Background” fields are next to each other and share similar names, so they’re easy to group together. However, in this instance, the “Background” field refers to a contact’s general background instead of their background check, so that grouping is misleading.

There are some fields that I want the user to associate together, but because they’re violating the principles of proximity and similarity, it can be harder to make that connection.

The “Background Check Complete” and “BG Check Date” relate to each other, but are separated and use different names.

“Volunteer Type” and “Donor Status” are both measuring an Active/Inactive quality of the contact, but it’s harder to see them as similar measurements since their names are dissimilar.

Now that’s take a look at the second version where I used deliberate spacing and naming to facilitate different groupings.


The top section is now distinct and it’s clear which fields are more important. With a name change, it’s also easy to tell that the “Volunteer Status” and “Donor Status” are measuring similar things.

The “Background Check Status” and the “Background Check Date” are next to each other and clearly associated. In turn, the “Background” field is now visually separated from the background check information, so it’s easier to keep the two meanings separate.

Just as you can create deliberate groupings with gestalt principles, you can create deliberate separations by violating the principles.

Lightning Path is a really good example. You’re visually separating the fields from the rest of the group, so it’s easier for the user to find them.


Law of Familiarity (or Past Experiences)


The law of familiarity says that our past influences how we see things.

That’s why, even though floppy disks haven’t been used for years, they’re still synonymous with “save.” People who have never used a floppy disk will recognize a save icon because they’re familiar with it from other systems.

This law is also why it’s important to pay attention to business process when designing your Salesforce instance. It’ll be easier for users to understand a process or layout that is familiar to them from their other work. For instance, ordering the Contact fields in the same way they’re ordered on a paper volunteer intake form.

However, the law of familiarity can tricky. It can convince you to maintain a poor design just because your users are familiar with it. Be on the lookout for this and when redesigning a page, consider the other principles first. But, if you need a tiebreaker between two good designs, go with the one that’s more familiar to your users.

The law of familiarity is the weakest gestalt principle, so chances are that your users will quickly adjust to a well-done redesign.

The emphasis here is on “well-done.”

If you’re going to do a redesign, consider it carefully. Think about the last time your favorite app did a redesign. If the new design was usable, you probably caught on quickly and appreciated the new flow. But if the new design wasn’t usable, it may have caused frustration. Not only did they did the app designers rip away your familiar associations, they didn’t give you an easy to use design to replace it.

Hick’s Law

Hick’s Law isn’t actually a gestalt principles, but it’s definitely relevant to your Salesforce design. It states that the time it takes someone to make a decision increases logarithmically with the number of choices.

Essentially, the more choices you present to your user, the longer it takes for them to find the one they want.

You can mitigate this extra time by limiting choices. You can create dependent picklists or filter your Lightning components so they only show up when relevant. 

Picklists and Subcategories

Picklists and Subcategories

You can also limit the number of choices by grouping lots of smaller choices into several larger choices.

Let’s take a look at those page layouts again through the lens of Hick’s Law.

hicks law 1.png

In the first one, all the fields are in the same group. So in order to choose one field, like Volunteer Start Date, you have to sort through nine options.

hicks law 2.png

In this layout, since the sections are grouped together based on proximity, there are only a total of six choices: three to find the correct section and three to find the Volunteer Start Date field in that section.

Gestalt Principles + Hick’s Law Recap

  1. Design your names and page layouts to facilitate understanding of your fields.

  2. Try to mirror your users’ real life or previous experiences in the page layout, but don’t let your users familiarity with a poor design trick you into maintaining that poor design.

  3. Do your best to reduce the number of choices presented to your users through filtered Lightning components, dependent picklists, or meaningful grouping on your page.

Stay tuned for part three! 

Your Salesforce Needs Some Design Love (Part 1) by Reilly Ellis

Your Salesforce Needs Some Design Love.

(Don’t worry, everyone’s does.)

I recently had the pleasure of presenting at Force Academy LA on psych and visual design principles that can help improve the usability of your Salesforce instance. We'll be posting highlights of my talk broken out into three parts.

  1. Cognitive Load (Our brain power is limited)

  2. Gestalt Principles (Why we group things the way we do)

  3. Usability Testing (You are not your users)

Cognitive Load (Our brain power is limited)

Psychologists call the amount of brain power we have in our working memory “cognitive load.” We don’t have a lot of it. It matters that our cognitive load, our brain power, is limited because we use our brain to process unfamiliar things, make decisions, and learn new concepts.  

The cognitive load theory is a psych theory that says people learn easier when we reduce cognitive load. Essentially, the more brain power we can reserve for learning, the better.

Learning is relevant to our Salesforce design. The first time that someone interacts with your system - they’re learning. Your long-time users who have never really gotten it, who ask you how to complete the same task 10 times, they’re learners too.

Good design reduces the cognitive load so our brains don’t get tired trying to process the design and still have space to process the information.

There are two types of cognitive load that directly relate to visual design - intrinsic cognitive load and germane cognitive load.

Intrinsic Cognitive Load

Intrinsic cognitive load is the difficulty level of information being learned.

A great example of this is math equations. When you were first learning complex equations, if your teacher asked you to do this problem, it would have been difficult:


Instead, they probably broke it down for you into smaller steps. First the parenthesis, then the exponent, and then the division.

smaller steps.png

Each of these steps is simple, so they have low cognitive load. This makes the cognitive load of the problem itself lower, and therefore easier to learn.

We can see intrinsic cognitive load come into play for Salesforce admins in the emails and instructions that we send to users.

Version 1


Version 2


GeRMANE Cognitive Load

Germane Cognitive Load is the difficulty level of creating schemas.

Schemas are patterns that we identify in order to help us categorize the word. Once we have a schema, we can make sense of new things based on that schema.

Take, for instance, a kid who is just learning her animals. In her animal schema, she has two categories: mammals and reptiles. When she’s first introduced to lizards, she sees they have scaly skin. Based on this information, she categorizes lizards in her animal schema as reptiles and then she suddenly make more guesses about them - like they’re probably cold blooded and lay eggs.

Essentially, schemas are like cheat sheets.

Germane cognitive load is measures how difficult it is to creating those meaningful categorizations, those cheat sheets, in the first place.

A great example of this in Salesforce is naming conventions.

Can you find the process that updates an Opportunity’s status?

This is a version of something that I’ve seen in real life and may be familiar to you. Whenever someone creates a process, they use their own, different, naming convention. Every time I go in to update a process, I have to read through all the names to find the one I’m looking for, instead of the design facilitating that search.

process 2.png

Part of the reason this page is so difficult is that there are a bunch of different schemas. For instance, the processes in red have the object first. The processes in purple have the action first, but they’re using similar words to describe the same action. My brain needs to spend some extra time processing if “change” and “update” actually belong together.

The process that I’m looking for, the one that updates the opportunity status, uses yet another schema - department first.

Because of the lack of consistency, this page’s germane cognitive load is high. Yes, I will eventually find the process I’m looking for, but my brain has to filter through a bunch of other stuff to get there.

Cognitive Load Recap

  1. Reduce the intrinsic cognitive load of instructions by breaking them down into smaller steps.

  2. Reduce the germane cognitive load of your system by paying attention to naming conventions and other places where you can add consistency to your system.

Stay tuned for our blog post next week to learn about Gestalt Principles! 

Two Minute Tip: What Can I Quit?

Welcome to post two in our #TwoMinuteTip series on UX! 

Today's tip is to consider what users can quit doing.

Yep, you read that right! 

In many Salesforce implementations, the focus tends to be on new features, expanded functionality, and enhancements. But one of the tips to user experience I hold most dear is designing your UI in a way that users can actually quit doing something -- bonus points if it is something they perceive as duplicative or a waste of time. 

Chances are your users aren't all that thrilled about learning one more new thing, adding one more new process to their day-to-day routine. If you can replace something they were doing with a new process, though, they are more likely to try! 

In an implementation we did for a domestic violence shelter, their data model was to set up a Contact for the victim and the perpetrator. It was then an extra step to link them together via Relationships. As part of their UX we created a Flow that would allow them to enter the name of the victim, the name of the perpetrator, the relationship between the two, and then Salesforce would automagically create the Contact records AND the Relationship. Steps reduced. BAM! 

What are your examples of improving UX by allowing users to quit something?


Two Minute Tip: Know Your Audience!

Beginning in June, Now IT Matters will launch a blog series on User Experience. Each week we will feature tips on User Experience to improve Salesforce user adoption! We are excited about sharing these tips with you! 

As a little teaser, between now and June 1 we will share a few Two Minute Tips on User Experience. These are quick, practical suggestions you can begin using NOW. We'll dig into more of the meaty suggestions during our weekly blog series starting June 1. 

Our first UX Two Minute Tip is to get to know your audience.

My dad, a 30+ year salesman, is the king of memorable sayings and his quote for this one is: 

The day before, go next door!

What he means by this is that before he talks to a prospective customer, he gets to know them. He does this in a variety of ways, including asking others (i.e., "going next door") to find out what's important to them.

So before you dig in to Lightning components, page layouts, and field sets, get to know your audience.

Are they early or late adopters of technology? Do they keep a written to do list or utilize Salesforce or another tool to manage their tasks? How many minutes a day do they spend in the system? What are their key tasks? Where does their gaze naturally fall on a page?

Getting to know your users is fundamental in User Experience.

Your ultimate goal is to create a useful system, not just a useable one.  

If you don't understand your audience, you may wind up with a UI YOU think is useful, but your end users may hate because it requires more clicks than they are accustomed to.

Take the time to get to know your audience. 

#NPSPDay - New Orleans by Jenifer Alonzo

The Collaborative Un-Conference Model

NPSP Day in NOLA, my first NPSP Day, followed the standard un-conference format, which Shonnah explained in her March 21 blog post. The magical thing about un-conferences like NPSP Day is that they depend on attendees to set the agenda through structured collaborative exercises (many of which were created by theatre practitioners - more on that later). That means that each NPSP Day’s content is different, even when the structure of the activities is identical. Below, I’ll discuss some of the content that made the NPSP Day worthwhile and I’ll share how that content helped me grow as a consultant.

Relationships with Clients

This NPSP Day was unusual in that consultants and partners outnumbered nonprofit users! This gave the consultants a wonderful opportunity to listen to a small group of users and gain insights into how the best partners build relationships with their clients. Here were some of the takeaways:

  • Honesty at the beginning of a relationship is key. The best partners are up front about their area of expertise and they build relationships with other partners so that they can recommend trusted colleagues.

  • Setting clear expectations is a collaborative responsibility of partners and clients. The best partners have processes for helping clients collaborate in creating project plans and following through with responsibilities to the project.

  • Making mistakes is part of life. Consulting is no different. The best partners aren’t the ones who make no mistakes (spoiler: they don’t exist). The best partners are those who recognize, own, and work with their clients to fix their mistakes.


About half of us recognized this acronym, a quarter of us knew we should recognize it, and a quarter of us knew quite a lot about it and its implications for the Salesforce community.

GDPR = General Data Protection Regulation.  

It’s the EU law that includes the right to be forgotten and the right to request data about oneself. Granular and specific opt-ins are also part of how many are interpreting the law. Many present at NPSP Day assumed that the law would not affect US-based orgs. NOT TRUE. The law applies to all EU citizens even if our orgs have no EU presence.

Building a Salesforce Team

It’s not news that experienced Salesforce admins and developers are in short supply. The shortage is especially hard on non-profits who might not be able to afford market rates. We discussed the necessity of finding resources to raise IT salaries, as well as opportunities for hiring on an apprenticeship model rather than trying to find the perfect “forever employee.” Building a team can include collaborating with organizations like Pep Up Tech to find talented people who need their first job, supporting them as they develop in the profession, and planning for them to leave for higher wages in two-three years. In this model, non-profits get the benefit of making the development of Salesforce professionals part of their mission! I have personal experience with this approach: the Louisville Urban League offered me my first Salesforce job. I learned more than I ever would have at a for profit company. Even better, I am now and will always be a League supporter and advocate, even though I have moved on professionally.

We also discussed hiring for problem-solving skills, capacity for teamwork, and confidence first and Salesforce skills after that. Partners and users agreed that teaching Salesforce skills is easy. Teaching problem-solving skills is hard. Teaching the capacity for teamwork is even harder. Instilling confidence, the currency  of consulting, is hardest of all. We discussed rethinking job descriptions so that the best problem-solvers (even if they have never worked with Salesforce) could see themselves in Salesforce-related jobs.

As a person with two degrees in experimental theatre at my very first NPSP Day, I was heartened to discover that most of the people at NPSP Day held degrees in the arts and humanities! Not a single one of us had a degree in a tech field. Our presence in the room underlined that the problem-solvers and team-builders make the best Salesforce professionals and those folks often build those skills first in non-tech fields.

Three Collaborative Team-Builders and the Information They Shared

I learned from everyone at NPSP Day, but I want to highlight three people and a specific thing I learned from each:

Anne Young (Salesforce.Org, Power of Us Hub) - Anne suggested using the Power of US Hub not only as an online community, but also as the place to start when building in-person user groups and communities in response to a question from Allie Tabberer, an Admin at the Oklahoma City non-profit Canterbury Voices. This is useful for me as I have been searching in vain for the Salesforce non-profit community in my new hometown of Louisville, KY. Now I’m going to use Anne’s suggestions to build a community here!

Patty Simonton (Patty Simonton, daizylogik) introduced us to their product FoodBank Helper, a comprehensive tool for food banks whose staff work in the field. The tool's automations help users decide what size food bag to give to families and alerts them to special needs for the family like diapers and formula.

Katie McFadden at Common Voyage shared a couple non-profit use cases for Einstein. I was particularly interested in how educational non-profits are using the tool to predict which students might drop out and then provide extra interventions for those students.

Theatre (The More About That Later Thing)

My journey to becoming a Salesforce Consultant began a year ago, when I left a tenured faculty position as a specialist in experimental theatre and team communication. I spent the fall of 2017 doing Trailhead modules and earning my Admin certification. Since then, I’ve been working as the sole Salesforce Admin at the Louisville Urban League to earn my experience.

This NPSP Day was my first professional event as a Salesforce consultant! I was really nervous that my “old” skillset and my new identity as a Salesforce professional would clash. But, NPSP Day allowed me to create conversations with many other people whose journeys were just as weird and rich as mine! I learned that the Salesforce NPSP community is committed to collaboration, support, and mission-driven work. (Bonus: I also learned a neat trick for getting related records to show only the information I want on a Lightning page!)

NPSP Day was well worth both the time and the small fee. I look forward to the next one! 


Kristin Kwasnik, Manager of Customer Success at presenting on the spectrum of success. 

Kristin Kwasnik, Manager of Customer Success at presenting on the spectrum of success. 

What a great group! #NPSPDay

What a great group! #NPSPDay

TrailheadX | #EqualityforAll

Now IT Matters’ mission is to be a sustainable business that makes the world a better place by increasing the capacity of nonprofits through the development of brilliant staff. Over the past eight years, NiM has consistently invested generously in developing our staff. In the beginning, folks thought we were crazy, but we decided early on that developing brilliant staff and supporting what matters to them was how we wanted do business.

You might say it’s our “why”-- or our “it.”

Developing and supporting our staff means we give them time and space to invest in their own journey -- not just NiM’s. We enable our staff to become Salesforce rockstars and then step aside to let them truly shine in this ecosystem. One of the very most rewarding aspects of #TDX18 has been watching members of #TeamNiM and the organizations they represent gain accolades and attention within the #SalesforceOhana.

Shonnah on the big screen!

Shonnah on the big screen!

Last night, Shonnah Hughes, co-founder of PepupTech, co-leader of the Women In Tech Diversity User Group, Salesforce MVP, and Senior Consultant with Now IT Matters, was honored with a 2018 Salesforce Equality Award. At the awards ceremony, Shonnah shared her reflections on diversity in tech, challenging all in attendance to take action.

Action is what will propel you forward, I choose to focus on actionable outcomes through my work with PepUpTech, WiT Diversity, in K12, and my work with Now IT Matters. I am so proud to be part of this team! ~Shonnah Hughes
Shonnah and fellow Equality Award winners! 

Shonnah and fellow Equality Award winners! 

Earlier this week Shakil Kamran shared his Salesforce journey, starting as as a PepUp Tech student and now a member of #TeamNiM.

Big smiles for TrailheadX! 

Big smiles for TrailheadX! 

#TDX18 highlighted the work of Angela Mahoney, co-founder of RAD Women, a cohort-based training program for women developers.

#TDX18 featured a rockin’ Amplify Happiest Hour party, supporting women-in-tech. Amplify (formerly Girlforce) was founded by NiM's own Joni Bryan and Angela Adams!

We are honored to count Shonnah, Shakil, Angela Mahoney, Joni, and Angela Adams as members of #TeamNiM.

And the best is yet to be!

For’s FY2019, we will be expanding our service offerings to K12 organizations. As parents and mentors, #TeamNiM is committed to giving back to schools and enabling schools to leverage the power of Salesforce.  At #TDX18, Marc Benioff challenged all of us to give back to schools, saying: “It’s my obligation to walk down there and knock on the door and ask what I can do... we can all do one thing.” Mission accepted!

We’re also growing #TeamNiM -- a team committed to doing #moregoodbetter, disrupting the status quo in tech, and championing #EqualityforAll. If you would like to join us, don’t be shy!


Snowforce 2018 - By Shonnah Hughes

Snowforce 2018

Snowforce is a regional Salesforce Community conference. If you haven't been to a regional event, you are missing out! These events are put on by the community for the community. They really focus on the unique needs of the local community and highlight those needs in the content that’s presented.

This year was my first time attending Snowforce and it didn’t disappoint! I was greeted at the airport by Salesforce MVP Davina Hanchuck. Davina invited me to speak to Snowforce participants on Diversity and Inclusion. Davina sits on the Snowforce board and felt that it was important to highlight this in their community.

shonnah davina.png

About Last Night

The Snowforce fun started the night before the main event. The Snowforce team put on a Welcome Dinner. This year the dinner was at Rodizio Grill, a local favorite. Having a welcome dinner the night before the main event is genius! It allowed attendees the opportunity to warm up and get to know each other. This helped with fostering a positive experience and energy for the event.

shonnah nana.png

The Main Event

The event started with a keynote, then sessions were broken up into “tracks," including a Developer track and an Admin track. This allowed attendees to choose the track and that aligns best with their skill set and/or aspirations. My favorite session was Ayori Selassie’s! she taught us how to create a plan using V2MOM to leverage the power of Einstein. She gave us actionable steps and intelligent direction. After the event, a group of us went to a dueling piano bar. This was an exciting experience that showcased some local community culture!

Stay and Ski!

Friday is Snowforce activity day. We all went up the mountain to Solitude, where there was a private room for everyone to congregate, play games, and eat. I don’t do skiing or snowshoeing, so I was the one holding down the fort (with the food) and taking advantage of the quiet! Salesforce Appexchange was there to give away free (with survey) Appy plushes! Thank you!  

The Final Night

Davina invited everyone back to her home for games and dinner. Brad Gross, fellow Salesforce MVP and culinary enthusiast, and I were sick of fast food and wanted something fresh, so we decided to cook dinner for everyone! Our taco bar was AMAZING! Brad taught me how to make homemade tortillas and what a little bit of home feels like when you are on the road. It was so much fun cooking for and engaging in this way with our #salesforceohana.

After dinner, we played a card game called 21. I had no clue how to play this game and I am often put off by needing to do math after a long day, let alone drinks! I needed to roll back my motto “ I don’t do math in public” to play this game, though, because it was a blast and is now one of my favorites. We had my favorite Twizzlers for dessert (because why not?) and ended the night on a high note!

The Beauty of Community Events

Community events are more intimate gatherings than the large Salesforce events like Dreamforce. These gatherings set the stage for you to create unique, authentic bonds that will last a lifetime. The welcome that I received and the love that I experienced is my "why" behind the work that I put into this community. If you aren’t able to attend larger Salesforce events, I consider community events to be the answer. They are more cost effective for some organizations and have a high ROI. I recommend that everyone seize the opportunity to attend community events!

Special thanks to Eric Dreshfield, Nana Gregg, Leanna Rimel and Many others for their love and support!

leanne rimel.png

NPSP DAY Minneapolis 2018 ~ by Shonnah Hughes

What is NPSP Day?

NPSP Day is a community organized and operated event that brings together users, contributors, consultants, developers, and supporters of the open source Nonprofit Success Pack. This event is focused on helping users better understand how to use the NPSP to be successful. This is different from an NPSP Community Sprint, which is focused on community contributions to the building and enhancement of the NPSP.

Each NPSP Day is locally managed by a local community host organization, completely separate and independent from The 2018 Minneapolis NPSP Day was hosted by the Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia) with their Chief Technology Officer, Douglas Hegley, and Now IT Matters' own Shonnah Hughes, the former technical lead at Mia. This event was organized and facilitated by Soapbox Engage’s Ryan Ozimek in conjunction with the Minneapolis Salesforce Nonprofit User Group (Nick Lindberg).

NPSP Day Attendees

NPSP Day Attendees

Why attend?

Besides the fact that you get to hang out with “your” people, nonprofit people from all the different types of nonprofit verticals you can think of, for a day full of learning. You will get on-the-spot training from nonprofit experts and you will get the opportunity to network with nonprofit industry professionals at different levels of their career. However, the best part of this event is connecting with the community!

What do you do at NPSP Day? 

Opening Circle

Opening Circle

Opening Circle

The day starts off with the opening circle. This circle can only be described as a hilarious kumbaya melting pot. This is an amazing way to get everyone comfortable and introduce us all to one another.

Weather Report

Next comes the “Weather Report.” This is my favorite part! We first start out with sticky notes and NPSP specific topics of discussion regarding:

  • What's Working
  • What We Don't Know
  • What's Not Working
not working.png

Everyone participates by writing things that affect them according to a topic. For example I wrote “Negative GAU Amounts” and I placed that under the "not working" topic.

We get a few minutes to write down all of our ideas, suggestions, and overall thoughts. Then we need to categorize them, using my above example I would create a category under “What's Not Working” called “GAU’s” and place all the sticky’s that speak to GAU’s under that category.

We are given a few minutes to do this, but we are always trying to beat the last city's time. I think we actually did this year!

Once all the notes are categorized, someone is selected to give the “Weather Report.” Now, I have to brag that Minneapolis’s own Jamin O’Maley set the bar for how weather reports are done! This is a fun and entertaining activity and breathes life into the room and learning environment.

NPSP Overview

This is where Ryan gives a brief history of NPSP, really its origin story, and why its one of the coolest Salesforce products in their portfolio. It's fun to learn about its iterations and the “why,” then to look to the future and how we all can have an impact and contribute to the product!

speed geeking.png

Speed Geeking

Think speed dating for nonprofit geeks, but instead of listening to someone tell you about themselves or telling them about you, you are learning about a specific NPSP feature and can ask how it applies to your use case. These solutions are presented by a community member and have been implemented and used in an active org.


This is not an escape room scenario, but  breakout sessions where a topic selected by the group is discussed in more depth. The topics come from the items on the weather report, combined with a voting process to distill the topics down to a total of nine topics that will be discussed. You will have 3 breakout sessions total and within each session you will have 3 topics of discussion.


These sessions are designed to be an open-floor discussion with a facilitator. You are encouraged to ask questions and provide solutions and/or use cases. If you want to leave a discussion to hop to another topic, its okay to do so. During the session someone is assigned to take notes. Then at the end of the session, the note taker reports back to the entire group on lessons learned and any aha moments.

For example session one topics included:

  1. Brand New to NPSP
  2. Process Automation
  3. Program Management

Closing Circle

This is designed to offer time to decompress and unpack discussions as a group. This is also the time where we highlight how important the HUB and the Trailblazer community are for continued discussions and answers. Then we officially sign off until the next NPSP Day…..

Happy Hour Anyone?  

After a day of learning, collaborating and networking, you need some fun! We decided to have drinks with those who could attend at the Museum's Cafe. It was a nice way to unwind and have a few more laughs - most of us didn't want NPSP Day to end!I can't wait to do it all again next year!

Is NPSP Day worth the investment?

Absolutely. I highly recommend attending a NPSP Day if there is one in your town. I consider myself a seasoned Salesforce/NPSP professional, but I learned so much from the ideas and use cases presented at this event. I feel the difference between an NPSP Day and a NPSP Community Sprint is that the NPSP days focuses on you as an individual and answering your questions, as to where the NPSP Sprint focuses on the product itself and the community as a whole. I love them both for different reasons, and I learn and grow from both events. 

Many thanks to Ryan Ozimek and Soapbox Engage, Nick Lindberg, Tim Lockie, and the amazing Staff at the Minneapolis Institute of Art! Photo Credit: Ryan Ozimek & Tim Lockie  Flickr link: