Manage Household Accounts

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Add a contact to an existing household.
  • Designate a primary contact for a household.
  • Manage household names and addresses.

Anthony, the Program Manager at No More Homelessness (NMH), has started to work with Alex Ventresca, a new applicant to the transitional housing program. The initial interview and assessment went well, and the organization is able to take her on as a client.

Anthony was able to create a new contact record and household account for Alex during their conversation, which was great. With Alex right there with him, Anthony could confirm her personal information as he entered it into Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP) while addressing her questions and concerns.

Of course Alex has a ton of questions, but her primary concern is for her son, Daniel. Their tenuous housing situation has made it difficult for him to keep up at school, and Alex is worried he’ll fall behind. Lucky for them, there’s still room in the after school tutoring program and Anthony can enroll him right away. 

Add a New Contact to an Existing Household

But first, Anthony needs to create a contact record for Daniel and make sure it’s associated with his mother’s household account, the Ventresca household. Daniel is her dependent but doesn’t share Alex’s last name, and NMH wants to make sure that’s reflected accurately in NPSP. 

Here’s how Anthony adds Daniel as a new contact to an existing household:

1. Log in to Salesforce and use the App Launcher ( The app launcher icon) to navigate to NPSP or another app you want to use.

2. Use global search to find a household by name. Anthony searches for Ventresca and is careful to select the Account and not the Contact record. 

Global search and results for the Ventresca household account.

3. Click Manage Household.

4. Type a name in the search box. If there are no results, great. That means you’re not going to create a duplicate record. 

5. Click +New Contact. Alternatively, if the person you need to add to the household already has a contact record and appears in the results, click the + next to their name and add them. 

The Manage Household button on an Account Record.

6. Complete the new contact form and click New Contact.

7. On the Manage Household page, click Save.

Now Daniel has his own contact record, so Anthony can enroll and help manage his progress in the NMH tutoring program. 

Exclude a Household Member from Greetings

Before they wrap up and say goodbye, Anthony takes a moment to assure Alex that he’ll customize their household account so that her son Daniel, who’s a minor, will be excluded from the account name and any external communications to the Ventresca household. 

To manage this, Anthony can select (or deselect) the options under Daniel’s record as it appears on the Manage Households page: 

Options to exclude a household member from message greetings.

And (very importantly) Anthony remembers to click Save at the top of the page after making these changes.

Every household member can be managed independently with these options. One person might be excluded just from the household name while included in the greeting on communications, while another person, like Daniel, is excluded from all options. And if you want to get really fancy, talk to the incredible Salesforce admin at your organization to see if they can add automation to manage some of this for you. They can, for example, automatically exclude contacts from a household greeting based on age. 

Change a Household Address

After setting up their next appointment and saying goodbye, Anthony takes a well-deserved break. Which, for Anthony, means seeing what Sophia on the development team is up to. 

Sophia and Anthony have worked closely together for a long time and often help each other out when they can. Any chance he has a free moment today? She’s working on an upcoming direct mail campaign and would like someone to help update household addresses. Lucky for her, Anthony just finished his last appointment for today and has also been managing household accounts, so it’s all fresh in his mind.

At the top of Sophia’s address change list are Candace Evans and Calvin Wong. Let’s see how Anthony makes the update. 

1. In NPSP, find the household account you need to work with. Anthony uses global search to find the Evans and Wong household, just like he did to find the Ventresca household earlier.  

2. Click Manage Household. 

3. Find the Household Address and click Change Address.

The Change Address button on the Manage Household page.

4. Enter a new address and click Set Address.

5. Click Save on the Manage Household page.

Not only did this update the Evans and Wong household address, it also updated the address for the individual contact records associated with the household. NPSP magic at its finest. 

Designate a Primary Contact on a Household 

Great. Now that Sophia can be sure that all the addresses are accurate, she’d like Anthony to designate a primary contact for each household account. Having a primary contact on an account helps prevent the team from sending multiple donation solicitations to a single household, Sophia says, anticipating Anthony’s question. It creates implications for entering donations. The primary contact on an account gets hard credit for any donation made from the household, but that’s not something we need to worry about now, she adds. (Though if you need to worry about it now, refer to the Resources section for links to for more information.)

By default, NPSP designates the first contact created as the primary contact on a household. If there’s more than one person in the household account, you can edit or change the primary contact. 

The Evans and Wong household indicated that they’d like Calvin to be the primary contact for NMH. Anthony can confirm (or change) this information in the Primary Contact field that appears in the details section on the household account record. Looks like Calvin already is the primary contact, but Anthony can change that anytime by clicking the pencil icon to search for and save a different contact. 

The Primacy Contact field on a household account record.

Household Naming Conventions 

Did you expect to see a whole bunch of household names here, engaged in rigorous academic debate? We meant the other type of convention—the way in which something is usually done. 

Formal and Informal Greetings

When you say hello to someone at a fancy gala, you greet them differently than when you run into them at a baseball game (we hope). The occasion itself dictates the level of formality. To accommodate this, NPSP lets you specify formal and informal greetings for a household. 

You can see the default formal and informal greeting in the details section of a household account. Click the pencil icon on a field to make changes.

The pencil icons used to edit the Formal Greeting and Informal Greeting fields on a household account record.

NPSP automatically uses the first names for the informal greeting, and first and last names for the formal greeting. Talk to the amazing Salesforce admin at your organization if you’d like to change the default to a different format. 

Automatic Household Names 

We mentioned before that household account names are derived automatically from a contact’s name. For example, when Anthony created a new contact record for Alexandra Ventresca, a new household record for the Ventresca household was created at the same time, as well as the formal and informal greeting.

You can, however, customize the default household name format so you don’t have to manually update individual records. Here are some example formats you could use: 

  • Candace Evans and Calvin Wong Household
  • Evans Candace and Wong Calvin Household
  • Evans (Candace) and Wong (Calvin) Household
  • Evans and Wong Family
  • Candace Evans and Calvin Wong Family
  • Ms. Candace Evans and Mr. Calvin Wong Family

Talk to the Salesforce admin at your organization if your team prefers a different format than the NPSP default. 

Additional Household Management Options

In real life, every household is unique and operates entirely differently than the next. This is also true in Salesforce. In NPSP, you can customize household accounts so they’re as unique as their real-life counterparts. These customizations help ensure that your team interacts with households based on their preference, making your constituents happier and your organization more effective. Some possible customizations won’t surprise you, while others will offer unexpected ways to personalize how your organization interacts with constituents. 

Most changes you can make right on the manage household page, though some require a bit more navigating around. We won’t dig into too many details here, just know that these options are available to you and your team. Reach out to your admin with questions.

Merge or Split Household Accounts 

At some point, you might find that you have a duplicate household record that needs to be merged. Or you might need to move a contact from an existing household record into a new household record. Merging or splitting data might be necessary to clean up data input errors or make sure your data reflects real-world life changes of your contacts, but whatever the reason, you’re in luck. You can merge and split household account records without losing data in NPSP. 

Override the Default Address for a Contact

Whenever you add a contact to a household, that contact’s address is identical to the household address by default. But sometimes members of a single household have different addresses, like if someone travels regularly or when a child moves away for college (they grow up so fast, *sniff*). No problem, because NPSP lets you override the default household address and assign an individual contact a different address. 

Unlike the majority of the features we’ve introduced you to here, this one is not on the Manage Household page. You’ll find this option when you edit an individual contact record.

The edit button on a contact record.

Enter the unique address, select the Address Override options, and click save. Though beware! Once this box is checked, address updates made at the household level do not sync to any related contacts that have had the address override enabled.

The Address Override option on the Edit Contact page.

Specify a Seasonal Address

Sometimes mailing addresses change with the season, quite literally. Depending on where a constituent lives (and who they are), they might receive mail at a second address at various points in a year. In NPSP, a seasonal address on a household account, allows you to add a second address to an account and specify a start and end date. Any mail that goes out within that period of time goes to the seasonal address, rather than the household address. 

To add a seasonal address from a household account record, find the Addresses section on the Related list and click New

The Addresses section in the related lists on a household account record.

Enter the address and the start and end date information in the Seasonal Information section and click Save. 

The Seasonal Information section on the address form.

Think you’re ready to manage a household in NPSP? Take the quiz and find out! And then move on to everyone’s favorite topic: relationship advice. 


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