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.

Challenge

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.

Win-win

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.

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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.