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Open Source, Open Hearts: Sprinting for the Nonprofit Starter Pack (NPSP)

Cloud for Good had the opportunity to send two of our team members to participate in the second ever Nonprofit Starter Pack Sprint (#NPSPsprint).

What is a sprint, you ask? Imagine a room full of people gathered from all over the USA and Canada for two days with one common purpose – to volunteer their skills and experience to make the Nonprofit Starter Pack (NPSP) more accessible and more effective for nonprofit organizations all over the world.

The Nonprofit Starter Pack is an open source managed package offered free of charge by the Salesforce Foundation to nonprofit organizations to transform the Salesforce platform into a powerful and customizable nonprofit fundraising CRM. One of the most unique aspects of the Nonprofit Starter Pack is that it is “open source”, meaning it is developed by, improved upon, and supported not by a single company, but by its community of users and contributors. With tens of thousands of nonprofit users on the Nonprofit Starter Pack, any improvement to the package has the potential to make a huge impact on the amount of dollars raised and the amount of social good these organizations can accomplish around the world.

On October 22 and 23, over 50 developers, consultants, system administrators, Salesforce Foundation staff, and other nonprofit users gathered in Seattle, WA for an intense 48-hour sprint to assess the most needed improvements to the Nonprofit Starter Pack and began to create those changes. Within the first two hours, we had collectively discerned five key areas to focus our energies, including:

  • Making the upgrade from earlier versions of the Nonprofit Starter Pack to the newest version (Version 3.0) easier for nonprofits.
  • Improving documentation to make it easier for nonprofits to use and customize the package.
  • Encouraging more involvement from community members in the HUB (the online nonprofit Salesforce user community).
  • Building new features into the package, including one page summary profile pages of Contacts, Households, and Accounts; developing a Nonprofit Starter Pack API to make it easier for partners and vendors to integrate; automating the process of creating Campaign Members when Opportunities are created, and more.
  • Dreaming about and planning what the next features of the Nonprofit Starter Pack should be.

It was inspiring to see this group of people, most of whom had never met each other in person, roll up their sleeves and collaboratively work to make the Nonprofit Starter Pack a better tool for nonprofits to achieve their missions. I sat side by side with consultants from other Salesforce implementation firms, members of the Salesforce Foundation, vendors, and system administrators from a wide range of nonprofit organizations who shared a common passion to contribute to this movement.

Who can contribute to the Nonprofit Starter Pack? This NPSP Sprint taught me that truly anyone with a desire to volunteer can contribute. There were plenty of developers with coding expertise and people with years and years of Salesforce development experience – but there were also Salesforce users who had never before written a single line of code! From documentation and screencast tutorial creation, to testing features and brainstorming what new features would add the most benefit to the Nonprofit Starter Pack, there was a place for everyone to contribute.

Want to get involved in this global community working to make world class CRM software available and usable to nonprofit organizations? No matter where you are or how advanced your level of Salesforce skills, there is a place for you to contribute. The first place to begin is on the Power of Us HUB – the online community to connect with other nonprofit Salesforce users to ask and answer questions. Are you a developer? Head over to the Nonproft Starter Pack Github pageWant to attend the next NPSP sprint? Keep your eyes on #NPSPsprint on Twitter or follow the NPSP sprint topic on the HUB here.

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