Understanding the difference between Causeview and Salesforce.Org's NPSP

This analogy makes the difference between Causeview and NPSP clearAs developers of fundraising software, we often get asked about the difference between Causeview and NPSP. At the highest level, Causeview is a polished suite of tools and features that enable nonprofits using Salesforce to steward donors, process donations of all types, and manage events and volunteers right out of the box.

Over 50% of Causeview customers left products like Blackbaud's Raiser's Edge to be able to fundraise on the Salesforce platform.  The common requirement is a suite of web-based CRM tools, with the feature set they were used to with their previous supplier, but the flexibility to tweak it to their specific requirements.

NPSP, or the Nonprofit Success Pack (formerly known as the Nonprofit Starter Pack), adjusts the standard Salesforce architecture for donor management. From there, NPSP users can leverage the Salesforce AppExchange and Salesforce developers to build out the functionality they’re seeking. Essentially, the NPSP is a kit or toolbox that enables you to build exactly what you need. It does require more effort upfront, but you end up with a fully customized solution for your organization.

If you’re confused about the difference between the two solutions, it may be easier to think of your options when buying a car. When you want to acquire a vehicle, you typically have two options. You can select a pre-built car, or you can buy a kit to build it yourself.

The difference between Causeview and NPSP: the new car analogy

Causeview is much like a new car that you would buy from a dealership. After some minor adjustments based on your preferences, it’s ready for you to drive and enjoy right off the lot. You don’t have to worry about it working as expected. If you run into any complications later, you have a warranty and other support options from the manufacturer. Plus, you can select a car that has all sorts of features already installed. With today’s cars increasingly connected to the cloud, upgrades and enhancements are available to you at no extra cost.

You can expect the same sort of benefits with Causeview. As soon as your data is loaded in and minor set-up configuration is complete, it’s ready for your organization to use. You can begin to simply manage and process single and recurring donations, manage pledges, sell event tickets, and much more right away. The Causeview Client Success team is there to support your go-live and assist you with any challenges or questions you have in the future. Our development team also continuously works to improve and expand the features in Causeview and can deliver them to your Salesforce instance without any interruption.

The difference between Causeview and NPSP: the kit car analogy

On the other hand, NPSP is much more of a kit car, with some assembly required. Its architecture makes it possible for you to build upon and create the exact functionality you need, but on day one, it won’t do much for you. A kit car is great for people with very advanced technical skills and the time available to put them to use. At the same time, building the car isn’t always as easy as you hoped to be. Kit car buyers typically still need a mechanic for aspects of the building process, and to rely on once it’s ready for the road. Because of this, kit cars very often wind up being much more expensive than the ready-to-go cars they’re intended to replace.

The Nonprofit Success Pack has a lot in common with these kit cars. For nonprofits with significant technical skills and resources, it gives them the tools to develop the donor management solution they seek. But developing the intended solution can very often end up being more difficult and complex than expected. Hiring the technical resources needed to assist with these challenges and provide long-term support gets expensive very quickly. The “Success Pack” certainly gives you the capabilities for a great fundraising solution, but building it out from there can be a much bigger job than nonprofits anticipate. Also, keep in mind that the NPSP does not process gifts, so you will need an add-on solution to do that. It's kind of like the kit car that doesn't have an engine. You'll need to buy one separately.

What solution is right for your nonprofit?

There’s no right or wrong answer about choosing Causeview or NPSP for fundraising on the Salesforce platform. If your nonprofit is faced with this decision, try thinking about the choice between a brand new car and a kit car. There are certainly some skilled mechanics and auto enthusiasts that can take a kit car and assemble it into a great vehicle. But for many others, the simplicity of a new car with tons of great features, manufacturer support, and no need for a complicated build is the right choice.

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