Skip to main content

Create and Combine Levels with Engagement Plans

Learning Objectives

  • Define what levels are within Nonprofit Success Pack.
  • Create levels for contacts.
  • Combine levels and engagement plans.

Superstar Volunteers

Some No More Homelessness (NMH) volunteer advocates have been getting creative with their meetings, hosting events at interesting venues and adding a creative twist to the materials they share with others. Michael and the team at NMH are thrilled at this level of engagement and want to find a way to acknowledge these superstar volunteers and help them do even more. 

Although everyone that went through the training workshop has been using the NMH event planning resources, their outcomes have been irregular. Some volunteers report hosting a dozen or more meetings and events, while others struggle with scheduling events regularly and experience low attendance. Variation between volunteers is expected–they’re different people in different locales–but Michael’s goal is for everyone to get at least some traction. 

There are so many variables when it comes to advocacy work that it’s hard to pinpoint what’s causing the differences, but volunteers with low numbers probably need different support from NMH than volunteers that are hosting events regularly. 

To offer relevant information and helpful resources to all of their volunteers, Michael wants to define a series of stages that describe a volunteer’s current engagement so they can get the support and encouragement they need to move to the next level.

Or should we say, move to the next levels.

Rank and Group Contacts with Levels

Using levels in Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP), you can create and assign different ranks to contacts, organize contacts into groups based on those ranks, and then automatically move and regroup contacts if the criteria you set changes. But that’s a bit abstract, right? So let’s take a look at an example of this in action (ready, set, rank!). 

Though Aniyah has been working hard, creating tasks to target and nurture prospective donors as part of her engagement plan, she’s also been focusing on managing NMH’s current donors. Let’s see how she uses levels to assign and automatically re-assign donors to groups based on their total giving history. 

Donors at NMH are grouped into three distinct categories: Bronze for those who give $1-100, Silver for those who give $101-199, and Gold for those who give $200+. Donors are automatically assigned a level based on their first donation, but will move when they make additional donations that exceed their current level. If someone in the Bronze group originally gave $75 and then later makes a donation of $100, their total donation of $175 bumps them into the Silver group. 

Mind. Blown. Aniyah and her team have been using levels to manage donors (great job development team)—levels are great for moves management. But Michael thinks of another way he can put them to good use (great job Michael—isn’t the NMH team awesome?) by creating different levels for the volunteer advocates based on the total number of events they’ve hosted. Then, he can create specific support resources based on the unique needs of volunteers at each level.

Level Setting

Gorav, the excellent admin at NMH, agrees that levels would be a great way to organize volunteer advocates to better understand their success. Because a level in NPSP must be based on a numeric value, Michael and Gorav need to agree on a data point that indicates how well a volunteer is doing. The total number of events hosted works perfectly. 

Michael gets his creative juices flowing to name the levels, and maps them to ranges for total number of events over time: 

  • Awesome Advocate: 0-3 total events
  • Amazing Advocate: 4-6
  • Ace Advocate: 7-9
  • A1 Advocate: 10+

While Michael was busy figuring out the ranges (and names) for the levels, Gorav worked his admin skills by customizing the contact object. Now, if a person is a volunteer community advocate, their contact record includes fields for Advocate Level, Total Advocate Events, and Previous Advocate Level. 

The three fields for advocate levels at No More Homelessness: Advocate Level, Total Advocate Events, and Previous Advocate Level

Gorav also added the Advocate Level field to the highlights area, so it’s really easy for Michael (and the whole team) to quickly see a person’s level:

The advocate level fields added to the contact record highlights panel in the No More Homelessness org

Poof! Magic. Your admin can add your own level fields to your page layout in a way that works for your team. 

Add Engagement Plans and Level Up

Levels can help the NMH staff understand (and better report on) volunteer advocacy work and donor support, but Michael's ultimate goal isn’t to classify people. This works for the development team, grouping and ranking donors, but, as we’ve learned, Michael wants to use levels to offer custom support and resources based on each group’s unique needs. 

Community advocates who have already hosted a lot of events might benefit from more in-depth information or resources on empowering others to become multipliers. Advocates with irregularly scheduled meetings or who have low attendance might want fresh ideas for events or more support on how to attract interest.  

People at the Amazing Advocate level, for example, have hosted at least 4 events total, but relatively small ones. Michael wants to acknowledge the hard work they’ve done so far but also inspire and motivate them to grow their reach. He’d like to send everyone at this level NMH’s Top 10 Tips for Hosting a Community Event blog post and infographic visualizing the latest data on homelessness in the community. The combination of the two resources in an email should keep this group motivated and give them practical advice on how to increase event attendance. As a thank-you, Michael wants to mail them each a hand-written card and an NMH tote bag.

Three tasks, all identical for each volunteer advocate. Instead of having this turn into a lot of repetitive clicking–adding the tasks and due dates to each contact who qualifies–Michael asks Gorav to turn the list of tasks into an engagement plan template. After confirming exactly what Michael needs, Gorav sets up and names the engagement plan the Ace Advocate Avenue, because it’s meant to inspire Amazing Advocates to become Ace Advocates.

Michael and Gorav work together to check that all the tasks appear in the Ace Advocate Avenue engagement plan template with the right due dates and assignments, and that contact records are actually moving between levels.

Once it looks like they have everything working, Gorav creates more engagement plan templates for moving advocates between other levels, too. He also reminds Michael that levels are calculated in a nightly batch, not right away. If there’s an update to someone’s record and they’re ready to move to the next level, that change won’t be reflected in NPSP until the following day, but Michael can also ask the stellar admin Gorav to manually recalculate if the team needs to see the change immediately. 

Looking at Levels

Combining levels and engagement plans to build the various plans for advancing advocates has been great for NMH. Everyone on staff loves the consistency and efficiency of automatic task assignment, and volunteers are responding positively to the incentives and steady communication. Michael is also honing his Salesforce prowess and has discovered two tricks that make managing levels and engagement plans even easier: 

List views. When he first joined the NMH team, Michael learned how to create list views, which organize records into lists based on chosen criteria. Now he’s using them to sort advocates based on their level. With a view for each advocate type in contacts, he can see everyone at a certain level all listed together on the same page (literally). 

A list view of all advocates on the contacts object in the No More Homelessness org

Reports. From the Reports tab, Michael found the standard NPSP report called Engagement Plan Tasks. With a single click to open the report, he can see all open tasks, who they’re assigned to, and the status of each one.

A report of open tasks assigned to a user and related to a specific engagement plan

With these tools in hand, Michael feels like he’s taken his volunteer advocate engagement strategy to a whole new level. And if you follow his lead, you can level up, too. 


Keep learning for
Sign up for an account to continue.
What’s in it for you?
  • Get personalized recommendations for your career goals
  • Practice your skills with hands-on challenges and quizzes
  • Track and share your progress with employers
  • Connect to mentorship and career opportunities