Tag Archives: Training and Support

The truth about NPSP free licenses

Salesforce is free! Yippee!

Let’s talk about free licenses. NPSP – that’s Non Profit Success Pack to you and I.  NPSP is having a bit of a bask in the sunlight at the moment as it’s been relaunched by Salesforce.org the non profit arm of Salesforce.com.

The distinction between the two companies is important and is key to how you get to the free (technically, donated) licenses bit.

Every year, Salesforce.com – the big commercial organisation that services millions of users and the biggest corporations in the world – donates 1% of its time, product and profit to good causes.  This is called pledge 1%. Salesforce is very vocal about it and the role it plays in their culture.  1% of a billion dollar corporation is not something to sniff at and, let’s be honest, creates quite a lot of admin to manage all that lovely 1%-ness.

Administering the pledge

Enter Salesforce.org, the good folks to administer the pledge (this does sound a bit like you’re signing up for the temperance movement or something you do to your sideboard but do bear with the language!).

There are four key things they do:

  1. Administer the time aspect of Salesforce.com’s pledge – finding and setting up the opportunities around the donated time (with things like pro bono week, and regular staff volunteering).
  2. Make grants to deserving organisations of the 1% of profits pledged.  The grant process is pretty transparent and any organisation that qualifies can apply.  The team keep track of the projects and report on their success and help where it’s necessary
  3. Distribute the 1% of product licenses that are available as part of the pledge
  4. Manage the sales of Salesforce.com products to charities and non profits so that they get a good deal and great support

Lets wind back to point 3

NPSP is the focus of the key free product distribution.  The package is  built with the needs of non profits in mind, on a structured framework, that uses the best knowledge and experience from Salesforce.com’s R&D team (but in an open source structure).  It is a great product for charities to use for their CRM, donation management and volunteer/programme management. It’s simple, but effective. Covers the basics.

And the first ten licenses of this product are free.  The Power of Us license offer donates  10 user licenses to any organisation that has the required charitable status. You log on and download.

So, are you looking for the catch?  On the face of it there is no catch.  This is a genuinely free offer.  A really and truly free lunch, so to speak. And a posh lunch at that – that’s about £10,000 worth of license costs.

Purple Vision take on this is that this presents a challenge to an organisation, but also a massive opportunity, too.


Salesforce is quite a system.  So, someone in your organisation has to know how it hangs together to make sure it works for you. You can take NPSP ‘out of the box’ so to speak, and can make it work  – if you have the time and that kind of mind.  But we know that not many organisations necessarily do.   When you’re faced with something new it can feel like a beast to get something set up like you want it to.  So yes, the truth is that these licenses are free for 10 users.

The challenge comes in using them.  The reality is that you will likely need the support from a Salesforce partner to help you get up and running unless you can invest the time and cash into a staff member taking the Salesforce certifications you’ll need.  For some organisations who need or want a huge amount of customisation or have specific functionality requirements, this will carry some costs – though there are options that build on the NPSP framework and offer managed packages of functionality that may prove more cost effective.  For example Causeview for fundraising, or SageLive for accounting. These are typically great for medium sized, more established charities.

For smaller charities or new starters to CRM, cost is a major factor.  Limited time and budgets often place a limit on ambition.  This is why we offer our NPSP QuickStart package, to get charities up and running with the basics (no frills, no fuss and all that) for a fixed fee.  As budget is freed up you can add other features if you want to.

In all honesty though any other system – CRM or otherwise – that you might consider for your non profit would typically also come with similar kind of challenge.  In that circumstance, you typically wouldn’t be getting the license for free, and set up and management more complex.  All systems carry some kind of cost, it’s one of the facts of life.

The Opportunity

The Salesforce.org offer brings you access to more than just 10 free licenses.  It lays open all the other tools and options that Salesforce has to offer, too.  Beyond more licenses – which, yes, you do have to pay for (at a discount of around 76% on ‘big company’ fees) – there is a whole world of Salesforce.  There are specialist tools that integrate with Salesforce that cover every aspect of non profit management and cover everything from marketing (email, social, mobile and web in one integrated package), through to service delivery, business intelligence and analytics with more added all the time as Salesforce.com grows and grows.

All of these are available to non profits at a discount rate too.  Not free, but at significantly lower rates than the ‘big companies’ pay.  No two ways about it, making the world a better place becomes easier with the right technology. And with the same technology that major corporations have, your challenge instead becomes ability to deploy these tools to accelerate your mission.  Which is a much nicer problem to have than the one about stagnating performance and doing the same thing over and over again because it’s all you have the tools, time and resource for.

Complete circle

By this point, most of us have got to the point where we’re saying ‘hey, aren’t we paying Salesforce.org for our extra licenses and tools but they are a charitable organisation?’  Well, they are and yes, you are.  When you pay for your extra licenses, you pay for the infrastructure that supports non profits to be able to take advantage of this fantastic opportunity – it needs a team who know what they’re doing to make it happen, just as any other organisation does.  The advantage with the Salesforce.org model is that anything they turn over beyond overhead goes straight into the grant making pot and becomes funding for other non profits who are also trying to change the world.   Point four and two of the list above refers.


I think we can call this whole thing a bit of a win-win really.  If you’re thinking that this isn’t actually a free lunch, maybe you’re right – it might be more of a two for one deal. But the truth is, non profits deserve world-class products to help them succeed.  Salesforce is offering a genuine leg-up  here for organisations looking at CRM for the first time, as well as those looking to switch systems from messy and outdated donor databases. And the NPSP is just perfect for anyone looking to make that leap forward.


Purple Vision have been Salesforce partners since 2010 and are Salesforce.org International Impact Partner, Registered Consulting Partner, AppExchange partner and Independent Software Vendors (meaning we can create and sell our own products on Salesforce).  We’re also one of only 4 UK partners to be approved NPSP partners.

If you’ve got questions about Salesforce, how to get started or want to chat through NPSP QuickStart or our other Salesforce services, please just give us a ring on 0203 176 1249.


3 reasons to make sure you have system support

Purple Vision offers support services for both our Raiser’s Edge and Salesforce clients.

Of course, these products are as diverse as the two tools themselves but the fundamental principle is the same – we’re here to help.

Here are our three key reasons why we think support services are part of your key to success.

Protect your investment

The long and the short of any system is that you’ve paid money for it and continue to pay to keep it operating.  It is (or should be) a tool that’s central to how you work. Support services can help keep your system healthy, fit for purpose and ready to work hard for you.  Think of your system as the hard-working team member it is and set aside the time and resource needed to help it perform for you.

Efficiency gains

How long will you sit at your desk trying to figure out ‘how do I …?’ – of course, you might search online for a fix (self learning is always encouraged).  But at what point do you realise you could be doing something more valuable and call an expert who can make a fix for you?  Or help you and your team understand how to fix similar issues in the future?  Support services are here for just that.  Escalating issues so you can be more efficient.

Control your costs 

There’s nothing worse than getting an unexpected bill. Support services help you plan and anticipate spend requirements for your system.

  • Firstly, as a fixed price per hours contract, you’ll know what you’re paying for support services, know how much time you have left and be able to manage support needs in the future.
  • Secondly, sticky tape fixes and work-arounds are never a great long term solution to managing systems but we see many that are common in legacy systems.  Our expert team will be able to help you assess when more permanent fixes, updates and additional needs should be formalised.  They will help you to look at the best processes to keep you operating or even to consider making a move to a new system (if you’re still using Raiser’s Edge), or when to add a new app for the functionality needs you have (Salesforce) – so any more serious changes to your system can be carefully planned and costed rather than knee-jerk responses.

Find out more about our support services below.

Can we help? 

Whatever your question, we’re happy to help.   You can

Get your employees excited about Salesforce

Salesforce is a powerful platform and there’s no doubt about that. But research has proved that many companies struggle to leverage its true value.

  • Only 31% of companies reported user adoption of 90 percent (Accenture)
  • 47% of companies reported serious challenges with user adoption that often put projects in jeopardy (AMR Research)
  • Lack of user adoption is cited as the primary cause of 70% of failed CRM projects (Forrester Research)

So, how do you make Salesforce something your employees are excited about and not a boring set of mandatory tasks that they have to perform?

  • How do you get them to realise the potential of a powerful CRM like Salesforce and how it will help improve their performances?
  • How do you ensure highest level of Salesforce user adoption to maximize your investment?

Motivate your employees.

Incentives and rewards are a proven way of engaging and encouraging people to perform and don’t forget to bring in an element of fun.

We have been mapping together these aspects of motivation and fun and arrived at the concept of gamification. Tipster is the result of that experiment.

Here’s how Tipster will get your employees excited about Salesforce.

  1. Learning is fun –Tipster users can view guides set up for specific tasks, layouts or processes from within Salesforce as it is fully integrated. You can make these guides as context and user sensitive as you want because you have complete control over them. After going through the guides the users can answer quizzes set for those guides. The users themselves can evaluate their knowledge and if they are unhappy about their scores they can go through the guides again and retake the quizzes.
  2. Challenge you users – So your employees say they know their way around Salesforce? Give them a way to prove it and be rewarded for it by setting up challenges. Through Tipster you can put together a set of quizzes that we call Challenges and send it to the users and the Leaders Board will get updated based on their performances.
  3. Reward them when they perform – When a user does well on a challenge he or she will get a special place on the Leaders Board along with a title. The management can use the Leaders Board as a platform to assess the level of engagement and competence of the users and reward them accordingly.
  4. Leverage peer pressure – The Leaders board is a public affair. Everyone sees who is better at what and no one wants to be outdone by their peers. This creates the motivation to go through the guides, learn and score Tipster points.

Find out more about Tipster

Salesforce User Training with Tipster

Traditionally, Salesforce user training is a bit of a headache. No one really enjoys it.

The users do not really like the idea that they either have to learn something new or are potentially up for review.

People in leadership roles do not like having to dedicate time, manpower and resources towards training.

However for any successful Salesforce deployment and long term strategy, training is vital.  If users are not trained properly, then adoption of Salesforce will be poor. Poor adoption is the most common reason a CRM deployment of any kind fails.

Introducing Tipster

So what can be done? This is one of the main focuses of Tipster, a new app for Salesforce.

The goal with Tipster was to make a product that stuck to one core value. We want to be able to turn any Salesforce user into an expert user.

So we got stuck in. The result was Tipster. So what does it do? Why is it special?


First of all, it is entirely integrated into Salesforce. No getting the manual out. No searching through shared file servers for the training pdfs written by someone no longer at the company. Just go to any page you want more information about and there are your guides.

Need help with Accounts? The guides are already there. Need help with a custom Visual Force page designed by your team? The guides are there too.

Not only that, they are guides written by your team. The guides will feature the name of the author and your logo. Your users will be able to easily access the entire library of training information ever written and know it was written for them.


Tipster’s second great feature for training is that guides can be directed to different usergroups.

Say you want a beginners guide to ‘leads’ for a brand new set of employees? That is not a problem. Simply make the guide only visible to their usergroup.

Have a really advanced custom sales guide for your best salespeople? Write a guide just for them.

Your users will never feel that the training is above or beneath them. It will always be the information they actually need when they actually need it.

When it comes to training. Why leave it stuck in the dark ages?

You need a context sensitive training program that is fully integrated into Salesforce. That’s what Tipster is.

Find out more about Tipster


Training, Gamification and Tipster

I, personally, am a big fan of gamification, though not so much the word.

I think that adding competitive elements to perhaps not very competitive things is a great way to drive people. I love a challenge. Any-time I get the impression that someone or something doubts my ability to do something, or wants to grade it; it spurs my determination.

With this in mind, Tipster was designed for user adoption on Salesforce.com with a gamification aspect.

While it may seem like a trendy gimmick, I genuinely believe it is a fantastic element. I have seen a lot of organisations who have picked up the Salesforce platform, and struggled to motivate users to use the platform and increase adoption. Gamification is a strong response – and with Tipster, it comes in the form of Challenges and Leader Boards.

Challenges and Leader Boards

A challenge is just that. You can take any guide (which is your business process in Salesforce)  or quiz (a way to test your knowledge about your business processes in Salesforce) written in Tipster and challenge users to complete them. They are given a deadline and the promise of a reward. Once completed, however well they do is reflected in their reward – bronze, silver or gold.

These rewards appear on the company wide Leader Board.

Similar to a performance dashboard in Salesforce, you can see how you perform against your colleagues. Say you take a quiz written on a guide that gives you the basics of writing reports. There are ten questions and you get nine right. You will receive a gold award. The aim here is to drive competition and help your users strive for excellence. It also has another added bonus. If you’re an administrator, you can see who is doing well in quizzes and you can know who is the best at what they do. If you have a particularly lucrative opportunity, or a complex deal to negotiate, you want to know who can deliver. Now with Tipster, you can see directly.

Compelling – fun – learning

With these tools your users will have a compelling learning experience on Salesforce.com, reinforced by a sense of competition. The extra incentives will keep users coming back. Ultimately, this means two great things for any business. You will get users who not only learn more but want to learn how they can effectively and efficiently do things on the Salesforce platform. Increased knowledge and increased adoption onto the platform you have invested in.
So consider this. Would you rather have users bored by learning and shying away from it? Or chomping at the bit and raring to get stuck into it?

Find out more about Tipster

Salesforce User Adoption with Tipster

Imagine … 

So let’s say you are a company that has freshly migrated to Salesforce.

You are excited about the prospect of a brand new, powerful CRM platform and you are optimistic about what this means.  The next step on the roadmap to success is Salesforce user adoption.

All aboard

To get all you users on board with the new system, you have to train them and familiarise them with everything you want them to do. So what options do you have?

You could hire a person specifically to train people. You could get an external trainer in. You could develop a set of physical printed manuals for users to refer to. You could even write some digital PDFs and powerpoint files to refer to. These current methods present a lot of problems.

  • What facility do they have to take care of users who are struggling to adopt Salesforce?
  • What can they do for any grumpy user, stuck in their ways and reluctant to change?
  • More importantly how do you measure the success of any of those training approaches you can deploy?

All of those user adoption techniques lack any sort of personal touch. They force users to step away from Salesforce to receive training.

What if? 

What if training was integrated into Salesforce?

Even in your own custom made areas.

Introducing Tipster

This is why we created Tipster. Tipster will appear on the same page as your custom Salesforce interface.

When you need help, guides are right there on screen. You don’t need to find a link to a PDF or go and ask a special user or an administrator to come help you. Everything is right where you need it, when you need it most.

Not only that but Tipster makes social connections between those that write guides and those that read them. You can even write guides for specific individuals. Every user’s guides section can be unique to their own training requirements. Tipster allows your company to feel more like a strong social unit than throwing users an obstacle they need to overcome to remain effective.

Tipster contains a feedback system with ratings and comments for guides. This means that you have a way to actively monitor how well guides are received.

You can write quizzes for your guides too which, when completed, give awards.

The right strategy for user adoption

All of this contributes to you knowing how well your users are adopting to Salesforce.

You don’t have to guess or employ a strategy to monitor user adoption.

It is contained within Tipster, allowing you to be more informed.

Find out more about Tipster

The first rule of data club …

Last week on Monday afternoon I was very happy.

I was happy because I was in a room with 80 people who wanted to learn more about how to maximise their fundraising return using data. I was happy because I was leading a session at the Institute of Fundraising’s National Convention with a fellow data lover, Steve Thomas.

And I was happy because I knew we had great gifts to give. Not just nuggets of powerful information, but badges too, and ‘I *heart* data’ badges at that! At the end of the session, Steve and I had successfully initiated 80 new folks into Data Club, the first rule of which is you have to talk about Data Club. We had 80 new believers, each with their own badge. We had to stop some folks taking more than one.

The day got even better when the Institute of Fundraising National Awards that evening included an award for ‘Best Use of Insight’ for the first time and, in doing so, brought data into the main Awards arena.

Hats off to the IoF Insight SIG for gaining recognition for data analysis and implementation. And, after just two years of their own awards, for placing an insight award front and centre of fundraising. Well done too, of course, to CRUK who used data insight to turn an expected 5,000 ‘Dryatheletes’ into 35,000, and raising £4m in its first year of the campaign. Impressive.

So, what’s my obsession with data? Well, of our ‘Top Ten Tips’, a key starting point is that we’re all data. Yes – you are, I am, and our supporters are. So don’t think data as such, think people. And then you have more respect and take more care.

One tip is to keep things ‘clean and respectful’. What’s that all about? Well, unless you cleanse your data on a regular basis and employ good data protection practices by respecting when people do and don’t want contacting, then you’re wasting money and, likely, annoying people. Not good for the ROI. If you know what people want and who they are, and are recording how they behave, then you can start to segment. And segmentation can be a beautiful thing for growing relationships, which is what it’s all about (as any good fundraiser will tell you!). We moved away from transactional relationships a good while back and now it’s all about the journey. We had lots more top tips and, if you want to see the slides, follow the link or flip through them below.

If you want to know more about our love of data and what it can do to maximise your fundraising, come for a coffee, croissant, and a chat at the Purple Vision Data Breakfast on July 30th. It’s all about big data – what does it mean, what are the key challenges and how to start addressing them.

First rule of Data Club? Talk about Data Club.

Second rule? Wear your badge with pride.

Like these good folks from Battersea Dogs and Cats Home – out and proud about their love of data and demanding more badges! We’ll have more up for grabs at the Data Breakfast, so sign up now to secure your place.


See you there.