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Discover NPSP Data Importer

Learning Objectives

In this project, you’ll:

  • Use NPSP Data Importer template to format data for import.
  • Create NPSP Data Import object records from an import.
  • Conduct an import dry run and correct errors.
  • Process NPSP Data Import object records to create contacts, accounts, and donation opportunities.

Salesforce for Nonprofits includes both integrated platform solutions and managed packages. This badge covers Nonprofit Success Pack, a managed package. To learn about other Salesforce for Nonprofits solutions, see Salesforce for Nonprofits Basics.

Before You Start

Before you complete any steps in this module, make sure you complete the hands-on challenges in Set Up a Nonprofit Success Pack Trial for Trailhead using the same Trailhead Playground. The work you do in the hands-on challenges here builds on the work you complete in that badge. 

Bringing Data Home to Salesforce

Welcome to this introduction to NPSP Data Importer. You follow the example of the nonprofit No More Homelessness (NMH) to illustrate how to use NPSP Data Importer and how it can benefit you and your organization.

NMH has integrated most of its systems into its Salesforce org. But for a few systems, the staff needs to import donor and donation data manually.

That task falls to Gorav Patel, the spectacular Salesforce Admin at NMH. NMH uses Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP), a package of custom objects and fields designed for nonprofits, so he uses NPSP Data Importer and a special data template to bring the data into NMH’s Salesforce org. (Check out NPSP Data Management Best Practices, linked in Resources, for details about this and other options for data import.)

Gorav Patel, Salesforce admin at NMH, smiles and waves from his desk as he works on a data import.

In this project you’ll follow the same steps Gorav takes to import records to your Trailhead Playground using NPSP Data Importer.

Get to Know NPSP Data Importer

Importing data isn’t an uncommon task, but it also isn’t usually easy. If you’ve ever imported information into a database (Salesforce or otherwise), you know that it can be an arduous exercise. You often need to import records in a particular sequence—first you create accounts, then contacts, then opportunities, and so on—and there’s heavy spreadsheet work and formulas to connect related objects.

Sometimes you need to use other data import tools (and you can learn about them in the Trailhead link in the Resources section at the end of this step) but NPSP Data Importer is different.

To limit your manual work, NPSP Data Importer works behind the scenes to process and connect the records that nonprofits use most. NPSP Data Importer can create household or organization accounts, contact records, opportunities, and the related payments, soft credits, general accounting unit allocations, and campaigns and campaign members all in a single pass. Worried about duplicate records? Built-in matching rules help prevent those.

It does all of this by first creating NPSP Data Import records that stage the information you’ll import. NPSP Data Import records allow you to check and revise data before records are created in their target standard and custom objects.

NPSP Data Import records ready to be imported

Putting NPSP Data Importer to Work

You can use NPSP Data Importer in any situation where you have structured data from a third party, such as:

  • During an initial implementation to load historical data.
  • On an ongoing basis for data coming from another system, such as payment processors, direct-mail houses, or other vendors.
  • To enter campaign members from an event.

NPSP Data Importer doesn’t make sense for all data entry, though. For donations from a small event where you have a stack of checks or handwritten notes, you’ll probably want to use Gift Entry instead (check out the details in the Resources section below). It runs on the same engine as NPSP Data Importer, but allows you to enter the data directly into Salesforce manually instead of having to enter it into a spreadsheet and then import it into Salesforce.


If you have questions about NPSP Data Importer after you complete this project, you can always turn to the community for help. Check out the Data Quality & Management group in the Trailblazer Community to ask questions and share advice. It's linked in the Resources section.

Sign Up for a Developer Edition Org with NPSP

To complete this module, you need a special Developer Edition org that contains Nonprofit Success Pack and our sample data. Get the free Developer Edition and connect it to Trailhead now so you can complete the challenges in this module. Always check that you’re using the Trailhead Playground or special Developer Edition org that we recommend.

To make sure you have your NPSP trial set up correctly, select the Playground in which you completed the prerequisite module and click the Verify button.


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