Visualize the Solicitation Process with Path and Kanban

Learning Objectives

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

  • Describe the benefits of both the Path and Kanban visualizations.
  • Track a record’s stage or status in List Views.
  • Update records, use filters, and view charts in the Kanban view.

In the last unit, we dug into Engagement Plans and the management of activities related to moving donor prospects to deeper levels of engagement. A large part of moves management is about getting the prospect or donor to the point where you feel they are ready for you to ask them to make a new gift or increase their regular gift. The process for managing the actual solicitation and donation is managed in NPSP through the opportunity object. Path and Kanban are two Salesforce features that are designed to help fundraisers more effectively manage the solicitation process.

Track Your Solicitation Process with Path

Path is a simple tool that shows you at a glance where a donor or grant funder is in your solicitation process. It is a quick indicator that helps you visualize where you are and where you’re going on a single Opportunity. Please note that the process managed by Path can be customized by your organization, so your path might look different than our image below. In NPSP, select the 'Major Donor' record type when you create a new Opportunity and it will show the “major donor” process and path.

The Key Fields and Guidance for Success, Mark Stage as Complete options on an opportunity record

Key Fields (1) in the Path window show the information you need the most when you open a record, so you don’t have to switch tabs or scroll around to find critical data (though what appears is customized, of course, by your awesome admin). If you’re new to your job or your organization, Guidance for Success (2) is provided at each step on a Path to help you get up to speed quickly and make sure you don’t miss any critical activities. Again, this can be customized by your admin so it can deliver specific guidance for your fundraising team or volunteers. Path can also be used to update a record’s status directly by clicking Mark Stage as Complete (3) to move the record to the next step on the path.

It’s easy to select a different status if you need to retreat back to a previous status, or if you need to skip ahead. Click the step on the path you’re moving to, then click Mark as Current Stage.

Path detail, highlighting 'Mark as Current Stage' button

Paths are a visual representation of your Opportunity stages and process (what Salesforce calls Sales Processes). Remember, NPSP comes with several fundraising processes out-of-the-box. Path changes depend on which Opportunity record type you have selected. If you select the Grants record type when you create a new Opportunity, for instance, the stages in your Path will include Prospecting (Open), LOI Submitted (Open), Application Submitted (Open), Withdrawn (Closed, Lost), Awarded (Closed, Won). Each Path can be customized for each record type.

Opportunity detail, highlighting Path for Grant Record Type

Path is a great way to manage a single solicitation, but most fundraisers are working on multiple Opportunities at once. So how do you quickly review and prioritize your day-to-day activities? There are two key features in Salesforce and NPSP that can help you work your prospective solicitations - List Views and Kanban View.

Work Your Active Donors and Prospects with List Views

List Views are a great way to sort, segment, prioritize, and analyze the records that are most important to you. You access List Views from object home pages. They are available for most objects in Salesforce but in this unit we'll focus on the opportunity object.

Click the Opportunity Tab to land on your Opportunity List View page. Click the List View dropdown menu to access Standard and Custom List Views including views like 'Recently Viewed' or 'Closing this Month.' (Pro tip: Click the pin icon next to the drop down to make a list view the default, until you unpin it, that is.) 

List view dropdown menu and pin button

There are lots of ways to customize what you see in your list using the List View tools at the top of the page.

The List View Controls menu

List View Controls menu (1): Click to access list view actions, including creating, renaming, cloning, and sharing them. You can also choose which fields to show in a list and editing filters that you’ve applied.

Layouts icon (2): Click to toggle between displaying lists in the standard table view or the Kanban view. The icon changes to match the selected view. We'll talk about more about Kanban in a bit.

Refresh icon (3): Click to get a fresh view of a list more quickly than doing a full page reload.

Edit icon (4): Click to update fields in your list. You move to the first editable field in the list. Edited fields are highlighted in yellow to remind you to save your changes.

Charts icon (5): Click to transform list data into simple and easy-to-understand pictures that show things like percentages, trends, and other useful information.

Filter icon (6): Click to narrow or expand the records that appear in a list view by adding, modifying, or removing filters.

Create a List View

NMH's Director of Development, Aniyah, wants to view all the open (no cash in hand) capital campaign solicitations she is managing. She wants to set up a custom List View so she can quickly find and manage solicitation records (opportunities) that are tied to the NMH capital campaign. 

Let's follow Aniyah as she creates the List View:

  1. Select the Opportunities tab.
  2. From the List View controls, select New.

Opportunity List View Controls, highlighting New button

3. Name the list.

4. Select All users can see this List View. In this example, Aniyah could choose 'Only I can see this list view' if she wanted her List View to be private only to her. But she wants her Executive Director to also be able to access this List View from the List View Controls menu, so she chooses 'All users can see this List View.'

5. Click Save.

The New List View creation form

So far, the List View is showing us all Opportunities, regardless of their type. But now the filters panel is available. Let’s set up some filters to segment for just Open Capital Campaign Opportunities.

Open Capital Campaign Opportunities List View, highlighting the filter icon and menu

6. Click Add Filter. From the Field dropdown menu, select your field, operator, and value to filter.

To see only open Opportunities, we select Stage from the field dropdown menu, select the 'not equal to' operator and then choose 'Closed Lost' and 'Closed,Won.' Next, we want to limit the View to just individual donors, so we filter by Opportunity Record Type and select only those Opportunities with a Record Type equal to 'Major Gift.' Finally, NMH uses a naming convention for all their Capital Campaign Opportunities which will allow us to add one final filter. We filter on 'Opportunity Name' with the operator 'contains' and the value 'Capital.'

The List View, showing the filter form with field, operator and value fields

7. Click Done and Save.

The List View, filtered to a segment Opportunities

Great! The list has been pared down to only open capital campaign asks. And the new view appears in the List View dropdown for later access. Now Aniyah and her team can quickly review where they are with their campaign prospects.

Customize a List View

Aniyah has created a custom List View and added filters, but there’s even more she can do. Aniyah, for instance, wants to move the Close Date to the far left and she wants to remove some columns and add others. 

Let's follow along as she customizes what fields she sees where in her List View.

  1. From the List View Controls, select Select Fields to Display.

The List View Controls Menu, highlighting Select Fields to Display

2. Move the fields you don't want out of the Visible Fields area, and add the fields you do want. To change the position of the fields, just use the up and down arrows next to the Visible Fields list. In this example, Aniyah moves Account Name out and adds Primary Contact and Probability to the Visible Fields list. Then she moves Close Date to the top of her list so she'll see that first.

The List View customization form, Select Fields to Display

3. Click Save.

See the little arrow in the Amount column header? That arrow indicates which direction the contents of that column are sorted. Click the header to sort that column. The arrow indicates how the list is sorted: from the column’s first record (alphanumerically) or its last.

Sometimes Aniyah wants to view her list by largest potential gift. She can do that by just clicking the column that she wants to sort. If only asking people for donations were that easy!

 The List View, sorted from largest to smallest by the Amount column

Mass In-Line Editing via List Views

All right, so our Director of Development Aniyah has a nifty list of her upcoming solicitations (one of the many List Views she uses to quickly find and track her work). Sometimes, she finds that she needs to make quick updates to multiple records. Last week, for instance, she spent most of the week talking with prospects and she needs to update the close dates and stages of her asks before she has her weekly check-in with her Executive Director. The good news for Aniyah is that you can mass edit records via List Views! Let's take a look at how Aniyah might update the probability on her upcoming asks.

Aniyah just clicks in the field she wants to change and then makes the update. The fields she has changed are highlighted in yellow until she saves her changes. When she is done with all her changes, she clicks Save to save all her changes at once. Seems simple, right? It is. AND incredibly useful when you need it.

Just one note about mass inline editing in List Views: you can only use this feature if your List View has been filtered by a single record type. Just keep that in mind if you find you can't mass edit within a particular List View, it likely includes multiple record types.

 In-line editing of Opportunity Stage, in a List View

Manage Records in the Kanban View

In Japanese, kanban is a billboard or sign. In Salesforce, it’s a board where a List View’s records are organized as cards in columns, making it easier to visually track and update work. It gives you a big picture view of all your work and lets you easily sort, summarize, filter, and move opportunities along stages. The records in the Kanban View are based on List Views. You can switch any List View to Kanban View (except the Recently Viewed landing page) with a single toggle.

Aniyah uses the Kanban View as a workspace for all her open solicitations. She also finds that it comes in handy when she meets with her team, her Executive Director or her Board Committees. Everyone can take a glance at the Kanban view and quickly understand how things are going. 

Let’s check out the Kanban View for our Open Capital Campaign Opportunities.

  1. Select the Opportunities tab.
  2. Select the custom List View. Aniyah selects the Open Capital Campaign Opportunities.
  3. From the Display As menu, select Kanban.

The Kanban option, highlighted on the Display As menu within Opportunities

Move an Opportunity to the Next Stage

By default, the Kanban View for Opportunities is organized by Stage. Each column represents one Stage. Let’s move an opportunity to the next Stage in this View:

  1. Click any record in the Identification column.
  2. While holding down the mouse, drag the Opportunity card into a different column.

Kanban View, highlighting a Record moving from one column to another

3. Release the mouse button. And your totals in each stage automatically update.

Magic! We genuinely hope that your nonprofit gets lots of use out of this particular feature. Move those donors!

Take Action on Your Records

Kanban View, highlighting Edit Menu item and No Open Activities warning icon

If you need to make deeper edits on your opportunity records, you can do that in the Kanban View, too. Just click the down arrow on a Kanban card, and select (1) Edit. Make whatever change you need in the record right within the Kanban View.

You can also delete a record or change the opportunity’s owner. Depending on your sharing settings, the owner of an opportunity might be the only person who can view or edit that opportunity. If you need to “pass off” an opportunity to another colleague you could do so by changing the owner here in the Kanban View.

If an opportunity doesn’t have any upcoming Tasks or events, the Kanban card shows a warning symbol (2) to let you know that you might need to set an activity so your solicitation doesn't lose momentum. Oops, Aniyah might have some work to do!

There is even more you can do with Kanban view including filtering and displaying charts. To dig deeper into the features of Kanban view, check out the resources below.