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Product Documentation

Address Management Overview

Thank You

This article was written at the March 2017 Baltimore NPSP Sprint by these amazing Community members: Michael Kolodner, Donna Austin, Donna Whitig, Trish Perkins, Francis Scudellari, Melanie Bricker, Marisa Taylor, Corey Snow, Beth Saunders, Steve Backman, Lynda En, Brad Grochowki, Jessica Ingrassellino, Chris Pifer, Tim Weeks. A special thank you to Michael Kolodner for leading the group effort.


If you're like most nonprofits, your development team puts a great deal of care, time and effort into crafting solicitation letters, so that your donors truly understand the impact of their generosity on your mission-critical programs. After working so hard on your mailings, you want to be sure your donors are actually receiving them.

But how do you make sure your addresses are accurate and up to date? And how do you keep track of addresses for those donors who reside in different homes during different seasons? For example, what if you have both a winter and summer fundraising appeal, but some of your donors go to Florida or Palm Springs for the winter?

Fortunately, the Nonprofit Success Pack comes out-of-the-box with robust address management functionality that allows you to track—and know when to use—multiple addresses for a household, including seasonal addresses. NPSP Address Management functionality also supports address verification services, so you know right away if an address isn't good.

While Address Management functionality is powerful, it can also be confusingly complex. Without trial and error, many new and even experienced admins are not sure how addresses are handled within Salesforce. This article will help you understand:

  • How address fields on the Account, Contact, and Address objects interact with each other.
  • How NPSP Address settings impact Address Management behavior
  • The purpose of various address fields on the Contact record
  • Some of the downsides to Address Management
  • Where to find additional address resources

Address Management Features

NPSP Address Management functionality has many powerful features. Here's a snapshot of what this functionality supports:

  • Multiple addresses for a Household, such as seasonal addresses
  • Automatic update of addresses on all Contact records in a Household when the Household address changes
  • Address override for a single Contact in a Household (for example, if that Contact wants to receive mailings at a different address than the Household)
  • Support of address verification services
  • Address history related list

NPSP Address Management Settings

It's important to understand how the NPSP Address settings ( NPSP Settings | People | Addresses) affect Address Management behavior.

For Household Accounts, Address Management functionality is enabled by default. This means that Households are automatically set up to track multiple addresses, and sync the current Household address across all Contacts in the Household.

For Organization Accounts, Address Management is disabled by default. If you want to track multiple Addresses for Organization Accounts, select the Organizational Account Addresses Enabled setting.

NPSP Address Management Settings
  • Household Account Addresses Disabled: Disables Address Management for Household Accounts. By default, this is not selected, which means Household Accounts come out-of-the-box with Address Management functionality. (1)
  • Organizational Account Addresses Enabled: Turns on Address Management for Organization Accounts. By default this is not selected, so you need to change this setting if you want Address Management on Organization Accounts. (2)
  • Simple Address Change Treated as Update: When this setting is not selected (which is the default), any change to an Address is treated as a brand new Address rather than an update to the existing Address. See Add or Update Addresses for a Household or Organization. (3)

Address Fields on the Contact

Let's take a look at the various address fields on the Contact:

Address fields on Contact

  • The Primary Address Type picklist allows you to specify what type of address is in the Mailing Address field. In this example, the Mailing Address is this Contact's home address. (1)
  • The Secondary Address Type picklist indicates what type of address is in the Other Address field. In this example, the Other Address is this Contact's work address. (2)
  • Work Address, Home Address, and Other Address are formula fields that are not usually on the Contact page layout. These fields are primarily used in reports and mail merges. (3)
  • Sometimes a Contact wants to receive mailings at an address other than their Household address. In this case, select the Address Override field to prevent the Household Address from being copied to the Contact's Mailing Address. (4)
  • The Household Mailing Address is a formula field that holds the value of the Household's address. Typically, this will be the same as the Contact's Mailing Address, unless Address Override is selected for the Contact. (5)

How Address Management Works—Typical Scenarios with Household Accounts

On Household Accounts, Address Management keeps the address on the Account in sync with all of the Contacts in that Household. In addition, changing a Household address results in a new Address record. You can switch back and forth between Address records for seasonal moves, or use them as a way to see where a donor has lived in the past.

Let's look at some typical scenarios with Household Accounts to see how different address fields interact with each other, and how the NPSP tracks which address to use when.

The following examples explain what happens with Addresses when you:

Create a New Contact Record

When you add a new Contact record (one that's not part of a Household Account that's already in Salesforce) and leave the Account field blank, NPSP creates a Household Account record for you. Then Address Management functionality kicks in and creates a separate Address record attached to the new Household Account, and syncs up addresses on all three records (the Contact, the Household Account, and the Address records).

New contact details

  • NPSP automatically creates a Household Account for the Contact. (1)
  • If you leave Address Override (2) on the Contact not selected, Address Management will keep this Contact's address synced with the Household address.
  • Address Management functionality creates an Address record attached to the Household Account. (3)
  • Address Management copies the Mailing Address you entered for the Contact to the Household Account's Billing Address, and to the Address record's Mailing Address. (4)
  • The Primary Address Type selected on the new Contact is copied to the Address Type on the Address record.
    If you leave the Primary Address Type blank, it will default to Home. (5)
  • The new Address record is automatically set as the Default Address. (6)

Add a New Contact to an Existing Household

When you add a new family member (Contact) to an existing Household, their address is typically the same as the Household's. Address Management functionality automatically takes care of this for you by setting the new Contact's Mailing Address to be the same as the Household address.

Add Contact to Household

Update a Household Address When a Family Moves

When a family moves, not only does the Household address need to be updated, but also the mailing address for each Contact in the Household. Address Management automates this process for you by syncing the new address between the Household Account and each of the related Contacts.

If a Contact has Address Override selected, that Contact's mailing address will not be synced with the Household Address.

You can update a Household address in several different ways:

  • Click the Manage Household button on the Account, and use the Change Address button. (Recommended)
  • Update the Mailing Address on one of the Contact records.
  • Create a new Address record from the Addresses related list on the Account and set it as the default Address.

When you use any of the above methods to update an Address:

  • The Billing Address on the Household and the Mailing Address on the related Contact records are synced (for each Contact in the Household that does not have Address Override selected.)
  • A new Address record is created and set as the default Address.
  • Any previous Address record is marked as not Default.
    Update Household Address
  • The new address is marked as default. (1)
  • Any previous address is marked as not default. (2)
  • The new address is copied to the Household Account's Billing Address field. (3)
  • The new address is copied to each related Contact's Mailing Address field. (4)

See Add or Update Addresses for a Household or Organization for more information.

Record a Seasonal Address for a Household

Address records come with a set of Seasonal Start and End Date fields. This is especially handy for “snowbird” constituents who have both winter and summer homes.

The Seasonal Start Date and End Date fields allow you to indicate the date a Seasonal Address should take effect and replace the Default Address—and when the Seasonal Address should be decommissioned and the Default address kick back in.

Let's see how this works in practice.

Troyona and Jack Davidson live in Palm Springs from November 15 to March 15 every year. During the rest of the year, they live in Michigan. They'd like to continue getting your organization's newsletter no matter which home they're in.

This is how the Seasonal fields are set on the Address record for Palm Springs:

Seasonal Address fields

  • The Palm Springs address will become the default address on Nov 15th. (1)
  • The Palm Springs address will no longer be the default address on March 15th. (2)
    These updates happen automatically as part of the overnight batch jobs.

And here is the Address related list for the Davidson Household. The Michigan address is set as the default address, so we know the time frame is after March 15 and before November 15:

Addresses related list for the Davidson Household

See Specify a Seasonal Address for more information.

Address Management on Organization Accounts

Address Management behaves differently for Organization Accounts. It is disabled by default. To enable Address Management for Organization Accounts, select the Organizational Account Addresses Enabled field in NPSP Settings | People | Addresses.

Address Management functionality on Organization Accounts gives you a new Address record when the Account address is updated, and an Address change history in the Address related list.

When a Contact is directly associated with an Organization Account via the Contact's Account field, standard Salesforce functionality copies the Account's billing address to the Contact's mailing address when the Contact is created. However, unlike with Household Accounts, an address update on an Organization Account does not trigger an address update on related Contact records. This means that even if the business moves and you update the Account address accordingly, the Mailing Address on a related Contact will not automatically be updated.

Address Management—the Dark Side

Address Management is powerful: it lets you track multiple addresses, automate seasonal addresses, and keep addresses in sync across related records. Who wouldn't want that great functionality?

It turns out that there are a couple of downsides to Address Management.

sad face

Data Storage

Addresses are stored as separate records attached to the Account record—which means they take up additional storage space. So for example, If you have 10,000 Household Accounts, you will have a minimum of 10,000 Address records (more if you're tracking historical and seasonal Addresses.) At 2k per Address, that's 20MB worth of data storage.

Many nonprofits use only a fraction of their free data storage, so the extra storage that Address records consume is a non-issue. However, that's certainly not true of all organizations. It's important to know the data storage implications of using Address Management, and the impact the extra data storage may have on your own organization.

View data usage for Addresses

To determine what percentage of your total data storage Address records are taking, in Setup, type Storage in the Quick Find box and click on Storage Usage. You'll see the number of records, storage in KB, and percentage used for each Salesforce object..


With apologies to Spiderman, with great power comes great complexity. Tracking addresses with an Address object introduces a level of complexity that may be more than some organizations need, or want, to manage. There's something to be said for keeping things simple, especially if your organization has very simple Address tracking needs.

What If I Don't Need All This Functionality?

Some organizations that don't have complex Address Management needs may consider disabling Address Management, in order to save data storage space. For example, organizations that always send mailings to Contacts at their Household addresses, whose constituents don't have seasonal addresses, and that don't plan to use Address Verification services.

Keep in mind that even if you do have simple address tracking needs, leaving Address Management enabled will let you take advantage of the automatic syncing of address records on all Contacts in a Household when the Household address changes.

If you do decide to disable Address Management, you can do so by updating your NPSP Address settings.

If you have existing Address records that you want to delete to save storage space, we recommend first backing up your Address, Contact, and Account data, and disabling all Address triggers to avoid data loss.