Part 2: The Bad & Ugly - Upgrading to Salesforce NPSP 3.0 - KELL Partners
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Part 2: The Bad & Ugly – Upgrading to Salesforce NPSP 3.0

In part one of this series, we covered the good news about converting to NPSP 3.0 Household Account model and how to know if your data was conversion ready. If your data is ready, there are many excellent resources available on exactly how to convert. Just make sure you follow the instructions to the letter and always test your conversion first in either a full sandbox or one with a representative sample of your accounts, contacts, households, opportunities and activities.

However, if you’re not as lucky as those with pristine data formats (you’re not alone), this post will address a few of the more challenging situations and what to do about them. In some cases, you just need to perform a few extra steps before or after your conversion. In others, you may need to bring in some help from a partner such as KELL Partners, or even migrate to a completely new instance of Salesforce.

Here are 7 scenarios that will cause problems in your conversion if not remedied ahead of time, we’ll call these the “Bad and Ugly” scenarios. But, not to worry, they are addressable with the proper administrative skills and time to correct them.


Part Two – The Bad & Ugly

The Bad


1. You are not using Households

Situation: You weren’t using Households because you haven’t grouped contacts that way in the past. However, without a NPSP 2.0 Household, the conversion tool can’t do its job. Here’s how the tool works: it creates a new Household Account for each NPSP 2.0 Household, and then migrates each of the old Household’s contacts, opportunities and activities to the new Account.

Solution: If you’re not using Households, don’t despair. You can trigger a new Household for each contact pretty easily. Just change your Household settings to “All new and edited Contacts.” Then perform a minor edit on each contact using your favorite data manipulation tool such as Apsona. This will trigger the creation of a new Household.

Skill Level: Intermediate


2. You need to edit or create Opportunity Contact Roles

Situation: You haven’t been using Opportunity Contact Roles, or haven’t designated any as Primary. Unfortunately, the NPSP 3.0 conversion tool cannot correctly migrate your opportunities without knowing which contact each opportunity is primarily associated with. Any opportunity without a primary contact role will be left on its old account rather than the new Household Account.

Solution: Export all the opportunities that are missing a primary contact role. Create an import file with a line for each new Opportunity Contact Role. If you need to create Opportunity Contact Roles, your file should contain a contact_id, opportunity_id, contact_role (i.e. Donor, or Household Member), and whether that contact is the Primary Contact for that opportunity (True or False.) Remember each opportunity should have only one contact role marked as Primary. Import your new opportunity contact roles using your favorite data tool such as DemandTools or Apsona. If you are editing your opportunity contact roles to add a primary contact role, your file will need to include the Opportunity Contact Role ID (as shown in column #1)

Skill Level: Intermediate


3. You have custom fields on Households

Situation: Have you added some custom fields to your Household object? The NPSP 3.0 conversion tool will not move custom fields or data to the new Household Account.

Solution: You’ll have to evaluate which custom fields need to be recreated on the new Household Account and migrate your data there post-conversion. Luckily, the conversion tool will record the legacy Household ID to the new Household Account, if you designated that in the conversion utility (and you always should.) You will also need to reset any workflows, reports or templates or emails that reference Households.

Skill Level: Intermediate


4. You have custom fields on One-to-One Accounts

Situation: You are using custom fields on your one-to-one accounts, either entering data directly, or by a third-party payment processor. These are trickier to handle than custom fields on Household. First, you need to identify which custom fields relate to your One-to-One accounts rather than your organization accounts. And then you will need to figure out where to migrate the data.

Solution: Counter-intuitively, it usually doesn’t make sense to migrate this data to the Household Account. Each Household Account may hold data from more than one One-to-One account, so which one would you pick? Generally it makes sense to recreate these fields on the Contact object and migrate the data there. This can be done before conversion.

Skill Level: Advanced Intermediate


The Ugly

Then there are the ugly scenarios. These 3 scenarios are the truly challenging situations for conversion that may require some outside assistance.


5. You are not running any version of Nonprofit Starter Pack 2.0

Situation: You were ahead of the pack, and adopted Salesforce early on. If you adopted Salesforce before 2010, you may be using a “template” version of the Nonprofit Starter Pack (generally called NPSP 1.0.) These templates were created by various consultants, and share many of the same features as the Nonprofit Starter Pack 2.0. While you may be able to install NPSP 3.0, your data will not be automatically mapped to NPSP 3.0 fields and you will not be able to take advantage of many of the NPSP 3.0 features. Note: You can check which Installed Packages your have to find out what you are running. Here’s how: Navigate to Setup>Installed Packages and look for the five NPSP 2.0 packages. While the most current NPSP 2.0 packages are Contacts & Organizations 2.1.4, Affiliations 1.55, Relationships 2.0.2, Recurring Donations 2.0.15, Households 2.4.7, any previous versions should upgrade fine as well.

Solution: Depending on your setup and customizations, you may need a workaround conversion or need to migrate to a new instance altogether. Consult a partner for assistance.

Skill Level: Highly advanced


6. You are running the NPSP 2.0 in a Non-standard way

Situation: NPSP is a very flexible tool, and sometimes nonprofits use it in very creative ways. Did you group multiple contacts in a single one-to-one account instead of a household? Are your opportunities tied to a different account than your contacts? Neither of these issues will prevent you from upgrading to NPSP 3.0, but you will not be able use the conversion tool to convert to the Household Account model.

Solution: Depending on how your data is formatted, you will either need to standardize your data so you can use the converter or do a workaround conversion. A workaround conversion is one where you convert your data to the Household Account model without using the conversion tool provided by

Skill Level: Advanced


7. You have an accounting package that locks data on related custom objects on account

Situation: Some accounting packages have security settings that lock down posted data and prevent users from re-parenting records. If you have employees or other individuals with reimbursements or expenses disbursements, you’ll need a plan to deal with this.

Solution: Check with your accounting package provider to find out if you can re-parent records to the new Household Account. If not, you may want to change the Account type to a standard organizational account and create a unique record type to distinguish these accounting records from other accounts.

Skill Level: Advanced (plus you may need to consult with your accountant to make sure that any changes you make comply with your organization’s accounting requirements.)


In Conclusion

Converting to the Household Account model is time-consuming and at times can be daunting. But just like painting a house, you’ll be happy with the results when it’s finally done. Keep your eyes on the prize – the new Address Management features, NPSP Data Import Object, primary affiliations, and cleaner reporting to name just a few. All the pain will be worth it in the end.