Customize Salesforce for Your Nonprofit
- Describe some common customizations.
- Explain how to add a custom field, modify a page layout, and create a custom object.
- Understand how to find nonprofit-specific apps on AppExchange.
The ability to customize is a powerful tool, and with Salesforce, the possibilities are almost endless. To the Salesforce “house” you’re building you can add everything from whole “rooms” to “furniture” like chairs and tables that you use for specific purposes within the rooms.
Since you’re just getting started, you may want some ideas of what’s possible with Salesforce customizations and how to actually do a few common customizations in your trial org. To be clear, the customizations that we ask you to try in this module are purely introductory and exploratory. After all, you and your team have to fully plan your implementation before you customize anything in a real Salesforce org. We hope, though, that by getting a little taste of the potential first, you’ll be even better prepared to create a great implementation blueprint.
- Custom Fields—Add custom fields to standard objects, to track even more data. For
example, add a field to keep track of donors who prefer to keep their donations anonymous.
- Page Layouts—Customize the page layout so that fields and sections are where you want them to be. Or include a new section for those custom fields you added.
- Custom Objects—Create entirely new custom objects for your org’s unique entities.
Perhaps you run classes and want to track class registrations, attendance, and evaluations. Use
the Schema Builder drag-and-drop tool to visualize and make changes to your data model.
- Integrate Apps—On AppExchange, easily download and integrate apps that provide
prebuilt solutions for managing payments, volunteers, auctions, and other common nonprofit
activities. Many are free or low-cost to nonprofits.
- Custom Code—If you hear the terms Apex, triggers, or Lightning component, chances are someone is talking about writing custom code for Salesforce (for advanced customizations). Custom development is a specialized skill, and not every organization has the resources, or even the need for it. The beauty of the Salesforce platform is that you can get pretty far with your customizations before you even need to start thinking about writing a single line of code.
Let’s listen to what some of our nonprofit Trailblazers have to say about the power of customization in Salesforce.
We’ve touched on some of the most common customizations. But there’s no better way to see them in action than to try customizing a few things yourself. If you’re not already logged in to the trial org you set up in a previous unit, log in now. Keep in mind that since you’re working in a trial Salesforce org without your own data, we’re limited to the more basic customizations.
First, let’s add a custom text field to the standard contact object. Adding a custom text field to the contact object is like putting a chair in a room for a special purpose. For example, you might have an upcoming event, and you want to track the presenters’ bios for inclusion in the event marketing materials. Customize the contact object with a Short Bio text area field.
Click , then
Click the Object Manager tab.
Click Fields & Relationships.
- Click New.
- Choose the Text Area field type, then click Next.
Enter field details.
- Enter a label for the field. We’ll enter Short Bio.
- The Field Name is automatically populated. You can change it if needed, but let’s leave the default.
- In the Help Text field, enter text that displays when a user hovers over the info icon next to the field.
- You could check the Required box to require users to enter a value in this field before
saving a contact record. Let’s leave it unchecked because not all of your contacts
need a bio.
- Click Next.
Choose the profiles for users that should have access to this field, then select the level
- Click Next.
Choose the page layouts that should include this field, then click
Next, let’s rearrange the “furniture” on the account page layout so that you can see membership information before address information.
Back in Setup, make sure that you’re on the Object Manager tab.
- In the list of objects, click Account.
- Click Page Layouts.
- We’re going to move the membership section for households, so click Household Lightning Layout.
Click the Membership Information section and drag it up to before the Addresses
- Click Save.
Next, let’s create a custom object—an entire “room”—for the awards that you give your volunteers and other constituents to acknowledge their contributions.
Back in Setup, make sure you’re on the Home tab.
Enter Schema in the Quick Find box, then click Schema
Click the Elements tab.
- Drag the Object element into the schema. The Create New Object form appears.
Fill in the details for the Award object.
- Label: Award
- Plural Label: Awards
- Starts With: Vowel Sound
- Object Name: Award
- Description: Tracks awards given to volunteers and other constituents.
- Record Name: Award
- Data Type: Text
- In Development: Deployed (This makes the object visible in your org.)
- Click Save.
Finally, let’s say you’re interested in seeing what AppExchange offers nonprofits. Apps are much larger pieces of functionality that you can add to your Salesforce organization. They’re almost like extra wings or extensions on your house.
Say you’re looking for a dashboard that tracks user adoption, but you don’t want to create it yourself. Let’s go look for something like this on AppExchange.
- Go to https://appexchange.salesforce.com/.
In the AppExchange tab bar, click Industry Collections, then click
Nonprofits to see apps that are popular with nonprofits.
Click any app’s tile to see more details.
Now let’s find an app that comes in handy after you’ve implemented Salesforce and want to
track user activity. Type salesforce adoption dashboards in the
Search box, then select that app from the search suggestions.
Click the Salesforce Adoption Dashboards item to view its details.
Now that you’ve seen and hopefully been inspired by what’s possible with customizations, it’s time to sketch out a Salesforce implementation plan customized for your nonprofit.