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NPSP Levels! How To Configure And Use Them Well

NPSP Levels! How To Configure And Use Them Well

If you have a donor engagement plan, then you’ll want to know how to set up Salesforce NPSP levels and use them for your plan. Donor engagement plans are designed to increase customer loyalty and satisfaction with the organization, as well as increase revenue from donations.

An effective donor engagement plan will employ different strategies for different types of donors at various stages in their relationship with the company or nonprofit. Levels can help automate this process.

We’ll show you how to set up and use Salesforce NPSP levels, and why you want to!

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. These links, if used and purchases made, we may earn a small commission. We use these funds to help support NPCrowd.

The Levels in Salesforce NPSP 

NPSP levels correspond to donor engagement and giving capacity. The NPSP level is a measure that indicates how likely the donor will provide greater revenue in future donations or philanthropic activities. The engagement stage corresponds with the number of points received by donors on surveys and interviews.

Levels can be set based on any numeric or rollup field in Salesforce, like Total Gifts, Total Gifts Last Year, and more. This provides you a way to create rules for level assignments, have them run overnight, and then analyze and report on the current or previous level assigned to the account.

The Salesforce NPSP Levels system can be used with the pre-existing Level fields while also being used for other custom fields you create.

For example, you might create an Engagement field that measures the number of campaign memberships or a Sentiment field that averages their survey results. Any of these could leverage the Levels feature in Salesforce NPSP.

How should I define my NPSP levels?

NPSP levels are typically set by the marketing team, who will also be responsible for engaging these different donor segments. The current engagement level of a supporter is determined through donations, activities, and conversations.

It is typical to have four or five levels of engagement for donor segments, such as:

  • Engaged Supporters (NPSP Level One) – These supporters are willing and able to engage with the organization regularly. They also give a larger percentage of their income in total donations.
  • Moderate Supporter (Level Two) – These supporters are engaged enough to meet the minimum criteria for donation.
  • Prospective Supporter (Level Three) – These people may support a cause or organization, but only on an infrequent basis. They’re not yet committed in any way and will likely require different strategies to engage them more deeply with your company/non-profit.
  • Passive Supporter (Level Four) – These supporters are unlikely to engage at all with the company/non-profit. They may be supportive of one cause or organization, but not others and they likely do not donate regularly.
  • Detractor (Level Five) – This is one most people don’t think of or even want to track. These people have a negative opinion about your company/non-profit and are unlikely to give any money or support.

The levels of engagement in Salesforce NPSP correspond to donor engagement and giving capacity. The NPSP level is a measure that indicates how likely the donor will provide greater revenue in future donations or philanthropic activities.

Our list above has Level 1 being the top tier of donors and level 5 being the least likely donor. This is like the gold medal ceremony with 1st place, 2nd place, 3rd place, etc…

Some organizations will want to reverse this order so that the most likely is the largest level number. It really doesn’t matter since Levels are named whatever you want.

We recommend that you name levels consistently in all of your development work and add a description of what each level is intended to mean in the level description field.

How to Configure the Different Levels of Engagement for Your Organization’s Needs 

Configuring different levels of engagement in Salesforce NPSP is a quick process.

First, the Level and Previous Level fields are already created by the NPSP upon installation.

They are located in the Donation Information section of your Account layout in Salesforce.

So, let’s configure them.

  1. Click the App Launcher and type levels to find the Levels list.
  2. Change the Levels list view from Recently Viewed to All.
  3. Click the New button.
  4. Give your Level a name. Let’s use
  5. Select the Level Target. In our case we will target the Account, our Households.
  6. In the Source Field box, select the Total Gifts field as the nuermic field we will use to calculate the Level.
  7. In the Level Field box, select Level. This is the field that will be set to the desired level based on the source field value.
  8. In the Previous Level Field box, select Previous Level. This is the field that will be set to the previous level value when the Level field value is changed.
  9. Set the Minimum Amount and Maximum Amount fields. These field define the value range of this Level. You can leave Minimum Amount blank to cover all up to (but not including) the Maximum Amount. Set the Maximum Amount to 100 which covers amounts over (and including) the Minimum Amount and up to and including your Maximum amount.
  10. If you use Engagement Plans and want to have a series of Task Activities that are automatically generated when a Contact or Account reach a certain Level, this is where you would select that Engagement Plan.
  11. Click Save and Close to save your changes in Salesforce NPSP Levels. To configure a new level of engagement for donors who have not yet reached this stage or have reached higher, simply click on the New button again and repeat these steps with different Minimum and Maximum amounts.

Why are Salesforce NPSP Levels not working?

There are three typical reasons that your Account or Contact Levels are not being set: batch processing, incorrect source fields, improper ranges.

  1. Batch Processing – The first thing to remember is that Levels are not applied instantly. Instead, Levels will be updated as part of the nightly batch process that NPSP runs each night. This is the most common reason for users to think Levels are not working. Give it 24 hours or try the manual batch run trick below.
  2. Incorrect Source Fields – Some admins get excited and set up their levels but accidentally have chosen the incorrect source field. Double check to ensure the source field is correct for all levels and find a few test records that will meet different range criteria. Then run the manual batch process and see if those records were set correctly.
  3. Improper Ranges In A Level – Remember that the Minimum and Maximum amounts are <= or >= filters. Sometimes admins can hurry through this setup step and get the logic wrong. Other times, they forget to ensure there is a bottom Level with a blank Minimum amount and a top Level with a blank Maximum amount. The blanks indicate any value above or below depending on if it is the maximum or minimum amount that is blank. Failing to have these two extremes can mean that high and low values are missed.

How do I recalculate (update) levels for all accounts and contacts?

The NPSP team thought about this already and they’ve made it simple for you. At any time, you can update all of your records with their correct level – these changes will be applied immediately.

Here are the steps to update all your records with the correct Levels:

  1. Click the NPSP Settings tab or find it in the App Launcher
  2. Click Bulk Data Process -> Level Assignment Batch.
  3. Click Run Batch.

Now, sit back and wait. Depending on how many records need processing, it can take a while. Salesforce will update records in batches of 200 by default unless you changed the batch record count for this process.

How to Use the Levels of Engagement in Salesforce NPSP for Donor Engagement Plans

Engagement plans are used to help plan out what level of engagement would be appropriate for donors at different donor levels. These Engagement plans allow for a pre-defined series of activities to be assigned to a team member on an account.

The most common use is to initiate a specific engagement plan when a donor achieves a certain level. This is how Levels and Engagement Plans are used together.

In order to pair these two features together, you will need to create Engagement Plans. Once you have an Engagement Plan ready, you can edit the Level that should initiate the Engagement Plan.

In the Engagement Plan field, simply select the Engagement Plan from the search and save the level.

Now, when an account achieves this Level in the nightly batch process, the Engagement Plan will be initiated on the Account or Contact.

This is great for Fundraising/Development Directors to ensure that Development Representatives and Major Gift Officers execute on pre-determined paths with specific donors at specific levels.

Don’t forget to keep your contact and account addresses up to date and accurate along the way too.


Nonprofit Success Pack – How To Create and Use Levels


NPSP Levels are an essential part of donor engagement plans, as they allow for a pre-defined series of activities to be assigned to a team member on an account.

These Engagement Plans can help you execute on predetermined paths with specific donors at different levels. The most common way that NPSP Levels and Engagement Plans are used together is when initiating a plan based off the level achieved by the donor in the nightly batch process; however, there are many other ways these two features work well together.

If your nonprofit or organization has not yet considered how these features could improve communication and execution within teams, consider implementing them today!

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