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Manage Engagement Plans

Learning Objectives

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

  • Understand NPSP Engagement Plans.
  • Create, Edit and Delete an Engagement Plan.

Now that we've identified target prospects, we need to plan for and track the activities that we hope will steward them to deeper engagement. Out-of-the-box, Salesforce tracks activities including tasks, emails, calls, notes, and events.

Understand Engagement Plans

In NPSP, there is a special tool called an Engagement Plan that is a collection of tasks designed to help your teams engage in consistent and personalized ways with your constituents.

Engagement Plans work best when your organization has defined a process with buy-in from the individuals who will participate in the execution of the plan. Depending on the plan, this could be an extensive series of actions involving individuals from across the organization.

We recommend drafting a plan that answers the following questions before you start creating Engagement Plans in NPSP:

  • What are you trying to achieve? What is the ultimate goal of the plan?
  • What is the series of actions that will produce the result?

Once you have a plan with a defined set of tasks and the team involved has given the thumbs up, your admin is ready to get started setting up Engagement Plans. 

Engagement Plans can be started manually by a staff member or automatically when used in conjunction with Levels or another automated process built by your admin. If used with Levels, an Engagement Plan starts when a donor reaches a certain Level, such as 'Repeat Donor.' Engagement Plans can be tied to contacts, accounts, or campaigns. Your nonprofit should determine the best practice for associating Engagement Plans with donors either as contacts or household accounts. Just be consistent!

Let's follow along as an Engagement Plan gets kicked off for two different contacts in the No More Homelessness org.

The first contact, an annual donor, makes a sizable gift of $1,000 to NMH. The size of the gift automatically moves his household into the 'Major Donor' level and kicks off a series of tasks tied to the household account that are assigned to different members of the development and program teams.

Open Activities view listing donor follow-up Tasks

With the tasks assigned, the NMH Programs team is now ready to take the actions as defined in the Engagement Plan. Tasks show up on their team members' Home page task lists, their Tasks tab, and in reports. As they complete tasks, NMH staff can update the Task to a status of Completed.

Engagement Plan Templates are just that - a template of foundational activities related to the current relationship you have with this household. You can (and will) add tasks and activities specific to a donor in addition to the Engagement Plan tasks that have been created for you. Here, Aniyah adds a 'Thank You Lunch' to this donor's activities:

The Next Steps include a list of Engagement Plan tasks with a new unique task.

As soon as you complete a single Task, the Status on the Engagement Plan updates from Not Started to In Progress. When the last Task is completed, the Status on the Engagement Plan is updated to Complete.

Engagement Plan Related list on the Contact Record, showing the Status as In Progress

Engagement Plans can also be used for processes like welcoming and processing a new volunteer. In fact, a second contact just signed up to volunteer to do street outreach with NMH via their website. A third-party app from the AppExchange processes the web form and creates the contact in NMH's Salesforce org. 

Apply an Engagement Plan

Let's follow a program staffer from NMH as they open the contact record and add the Volunteer Prospect Engagement Plan:

  1. Open the contact record for the volunteer.
  2. Click the Related Tab, scroll down to the Engagement Plans Related List and click New.

Detail of the Engagement Plans related list with the New Button highlighted

3. Select the New Volunteer plan from the Engagement Plan Template (1).

Detail of New Engagement Plan form, including lookup field and list of suggested Engagement Plan Templates

4. Check to ensure the plan is connected to the correct Contact (2). In this case, the NMH Program staffer chooses to connect this Engagement Plan to a Contact rather than a Household because it is related to volunteering, typically an individual, not household, activity.

5. Click Save (3).

Voilà! We now have a plan for on-boarding this new NMH volunteer.

Open Activities view with Tasks list

Delete an Engagement Plan

Occasionally, you may need to delete an Engagement Plan. When you delete an Engagement Plan, the underlying tasks still exist, but task automation is not enforced for dependent tasks (dependent tasks won't be updated or assigned based on parent task completion). 

  1. Navigate to the record that the Engagement Plan is assigned to.
  2. Scroll to the Engagement Plan related list.
  3. In the row for the Engagement Plan, click Delete.

You can then manually delete the tasks if you don't need them or if the Engagement Plan was assigned by mistake.

An Engagement Plan does not include any automation of the tasks listed. That is, the Engagement Plan will remind you to send an email, but it won't actually send the email for you (we know, wouldn't that be awesome?). There are lots of ways to build automation into your processes in NPSP, but it requires additional configuration or development by your admin or consulting partner.

Now that we understand how Engagement Plans get created, let's dig into managing the actual tasks and activities in the plan.

Resources