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.

Bringing Data Home to Salesforce

Welcome to this introduction to NPSP Data Importer. We’ll be using the example of No More Homelessness (NMH), a fictional nonprofit, 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.

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. But, first, you need to have NPSP installed.

Before You Start

Before you take the challenges in this project, make sure you complete the Install Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP) into a Trailhead Playground project. The work you do here builds on the concepts and activities you did in that project and will use the same Trailhead Playground. 

Ready to try out the steps in this module? Open your Trailhead Playground now by scrolling down to the hands-on challenge and clicking Launch. You will also use the Playground when it's time to complete the hands-on challenges in other steps of this project.

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. If you work at a nonprofit or educational institution, check out the Data Import discussion topic in the Power of Us Hub. If you're a volunteer or looking to work more with nonprofits and educational institutions, check out the Nonprofits Using Salesforce group in the Trailblazer Community. Both are linked in the Resources section.

Ready to Get Hands-on with NPSP Data Importer?

Let’s dive in and get started on your import. First, we need to check that you have NPSP installed in your Trailhead Playground.

Reminder: If you haven’t already done so, STOP NOW to complete the Install Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP) into a Trailhead Playground module before you attempt this challenge, or you will not pass. No wasted effort here—you will use the same Playground for all of the challenges in this project.

To make sure you have NPSP installed, select the Playground in which you completed the module and click the Verify button.