Skip to main content
Content Starts Here
This is a publicly shared Knowledge Article from the Power of Us Hub - an online community for nonprofit and higher ed Salesforce users. Join the Hub.
Product Documentation

Create and Manage Engagement Plans


An Engagement Plan is a set of tasks (literally a “plan”) that helps you engage with your constituents. The most common example of an Engagement Plan is a plan that helps you track engagement activities for Major Gifts. Major donors (that is donors who are giving extremely large amounts of money to your organization) typically require a deeper level of engagement than your average donor. For example, an Engagement Plan with a major donor might include calling that donor to schedule a lunch, then having the lunch with the donor, then sending a follow-up email to the donor, and so on. You'd set up each of these activities as a task on the Engagement Plan, to be completed by a scheduled date.

Engagement plans can be kicked-off manually by a development officer or automatically when used in conjunction with Levels. If used with Levels, the Engagement Plan starts when a donor reaches a certain Level, such as Platinum Donor. For more information, see Create and Manage Levels.

There are many other use cases for Engagement Plans, including volunteer management, grant-making, client management, and sponsor management. This documentation will showcase a real-world scenario for Major Gifts, but the instructions are applicable for any use case.

Setup—Before You Begin

Before you can get started with Engagement Plans, make sure it's enabled in your org and ready to use.

If you're planning to use Engagement Plans with Campaigns or Recurring Donations, perform these setup tasks:

  • Add the Engagement Plans related list to the Campaigns and Recurring Donations page layouts.
  • Enable Allow Activities on Recurring Donations. In the Object Manager, click Recurring Donations, click Edit, select the Allow Activities checkbox, then Save.

If you started using NPSP at version 3.81 (September 2016) or later, you can skip this section. If you don't know which version of NPSP you're using, check out Which Version of NPSP Am I Using? to find out.

To set up Engagement Plans:

  1. Enable New Objects
  2. Enable Engagement Plan Fields for Tasks
  3. Override Buttons
  4. (Optional) Give Users Access to the EP_ManageEPTemplate Visualforce Page
  5. (Optional) Enable Engagement Plans for Custom Objects
  6. (Optional) Add the Engagement Plans Tab
  7. Add Engagement Plans to Page Layouts

Enable New Objects

The following objects are new to NPSP.

  • Engagement Plans
  • Engagement Plan Tasks
  • Engagement Plan Templates

To enable new objects:

  1. Click Setup, then click Setup.
  2. In Setup, enter Profiles in the Quick Find box, then click Profiles.
  3. Edit the profiles for all users who will work with Engagement Plans to include the following object settings for all three objects, unless otherwise noted:
    • For Engagement Plan Templates only, set Tab Settings to Default On.

    • Set object permissions to Read, Create, Edit, and Delete.

    • For the System Administrator profile, Object Permissions set to Modify All and View All.

    • In the Field Permissions section, select Read Access and Edit Access for each new field.

If you're not sure how to update the permissions and fields for these objects, see Enable New Features.

Enable Engagement Plan Fields for Tasks

The Tasks object has these Engagement Plan fields:

  • Engagement Plan

  • Engagement Plan Task

You must set field-level security for these fields and add them to the Task page layout, and make sure the Type field is visible.

  1. Click Setup, then click Setup.
  2. In Setup, enter Profiles in the Quick Find box, then click Profiles.
  3. Edit the profiles for all users who will work with Engagement Plans.

  4. In the Object Settings for Tasks under Field Permissions, make sure Read Access and Edit Access are selected for the Engagement Plan, Engagement Plan Task, and Type fields.

  5. In Setup, click the Object Manager tab. Select Task, then select Page Layouts.
  6. Click Task Layout, then add the Engagement Plan and Engagement Plan Task fields to the page layout.

Override Buttons

You can override the New, Clone, and Edit buttons to point them to the Manage Template page, where you can edit the Engagement Plan Template and Tasks all in one place.

  1. Click Setup, then click Setup.
  2. In Setup, click the Object Manager tab.
  3. In the list of objects, click Engagement Plan Template.
  4. Click Buttons, Links, and Actions.
  5. In the row for the Edit button, click Show more actions icon, then click Edit.
  6. Choose Visualforce Page, then select EP_ManageEPTemplate [npsp__EP_ManageEPTemplate].

    Select EP_ManageEPTemplate [npsp__EP_ManageEPTemplate]

  7. Click Save.
  8. Repeat these steps for the New and Clone buttons.

These button overrides replace the Manage Template button, so we recommend removing it from the page layout. To remove the Manage Template button from the Engagement Plan Template page layout:

  1. Back on the Engagement Plan Template object in the Object Manager, click Page Layouts.
  2. Click Engagement Plan Template Layout.
  3. Drag the Manage Template button from the Custom Buttons area back to the panel at the top of the page.
  4. Click Save.

(Optional) Give Users Access to the EP_ManageEPTemplate Visualforce Page

System Administrators have access to the EP_ManageEPTemplate Visualforce page by default, but other profiles don't. If you want users with other profiles to manage Engagement Plans, you must give them access to the Visualforce page.

  1. In Setup, click the Home tab.
  2. Enter Visualforce in the Quick Find box, then click Visualforce Pages.
  3. Click the Security link next to the EP_ManageEPTemplate Visualforce page.
  4. Move the profiles you want to have access over to the Enabled Profiles list.
  5. Click Save.

(Optional) Enable Engagement Plans for Custom Objects

By default, you can associate Engagement Plans with Contact, Account, Opportunity, Campaign, and Recurring Donation records. But, you can add an Engagement Plan to any object. Simply add a Lookup field to the Engagement Plan object.

  1. To add a new field, go to Setup, and click the Object Manager tab.
  2. In the list of objects, click Engagement Plan.
  3. Click Fields & Relationships.
  4. Click New.
  5. Select the Lookup Relationship radio button and click Next.
  6. Choose the object you want to associate Engagement Plans with and click Next.
  7. Fill in the required fields and click Save when you're done.

For detailed information on adding fields, see Create Custom Fields.

If you're associating an Engagement Plan with a custom object, the object must have the Allow Activities option selected or you will get an error.

Under Optional Features, select Allow Activities

Track Activities field

(Optional) Add the Engagement Plans Tab to an App

We suggest adding the Engagement Plan Templates tab to an app that is accessible by users who will be setting up Engagement Plans. This ensures that users can easily find the tab. For example, you could add the tab to the Nonprofit Success Pack app. For more information on tab settings, see View and Edit Tab Settings in Permission Sets or Profiles.

Adding the Engagement Plan Templates tab to the Nonprofit Success Pack app 

Add Engagement Plans to Page Layouts

On Contacts, Accounts, and any other object associated with Engagement Plans, update the relevant page layouts to include the Engagement Plans related list. We also recommend that you add that the following fields as columns in the related list:

  • Engagement Plan Number
  • Engagement Plan Template
  • Status
  • Total EP Tasks
  • Completed Tasks
  • Created Date

The New button should be enabled by default, but it doesn't hurt to double check.

Plan Ahead

Engagement Plans work best when the organization has a well-defined process with buy-in from individuals who will participate in the execution of the plan. Depending on the plan, this could be an extensive series of actions involving individuals from across the organization.

We recommend creating a plan that answers the following questions before you start creating Engagement Plans.

  • What is the result being sought?
  • What is the series of actions that will produce the result?

Once you have a plan with a defined set of tasks and the team involved has given the thumbs up, you're ready to get started. But before you do, we wanted to give you an idea of what a plan might look like. We'll use a Major Donor Stewardship Plan as an example.

  • Desired Result: Donor renews gift the following year at the same level.
  • Series of Actions:
    1. Acknowledgements:
      • Day 1: Send Personal Email Acknowledgement
      • 7 days later: Phone Call Acknowledgement from Development Director
    2. Day 1: Add Donor to Honor Wall
    3. Day 10: Handwritten Acknowledgement from the Executive Director
    4. Day 60: Invitation from the Program manager to learn more or see the program in action
    5. Day 180: Meeting Invitation extended from the Executive Director
    6. Day 270: Development Director begins solicitation
    7. Day 300: E.D. and Dev. Director make an Ask

There might be further interactions happening outside this plan, such as invitations to exclusive events and spontaneous conversations, but we wanted to illustrate a thoughtful process that was determined to create the best chance of keeping that donor engaged year-to-year.

Create an Engagement Plan Template

The Engagement Plan Template simply defines the set of tasks for the process. To apply the process to a particular record, you must assign the Engagement Plan template to the record.

  1. Click the Engagement Plan Templates tab. If you don't see the tab, see Add the Engagement Plans Tab.
  2. Click New to create a new Engagement Plan Template.
  3. Give the Template a meaningful name, such as "Major Gift Follow Up".
  4. You can configure additional options as shown:
    Manage Engagement Plan Template screen
    Automatically Update Child Task Due Date (1)
    If checked, dependent tasks will start based on their parent task completion. In our example, we want this checked because we don't want the follow-up call (dependent task) to happen until after the email (parent task) has been sent. If the major gift officer is delayed in sending the email, the follow up call will happen seven days later (not seven days after the task is created).
    Default Assignee (2)
    If a Task doesn't have a named Assignee, this determines who is assigned the Task by default (Salesforce Tasks must be assigned to a user). You can select either the User Creating Engagement Plan or the Owner of the Record that the Engagement Plan is associated with.
    Skip Weekends (3)
    If checked, due dates are automatically adjusted for weekends. For example, a Task completed on a Friday has a follow up Task two days later. Instead of having a due date on a Sunday, that Task would be due the following Tuesday.
    Reschedule To (3)
    This is used only in conjunction with Skip Weekends. This would be typically be set to Monday, but if your organization is closed on Mondays, you could select Tuesday.
    Description (4)
    A meaningful description of the Template's use case.
  5. Click Add Task (5) to fill in the detail for your first task. In doing so, you are defining the field values for Tasks that will be scheduled when an Engagement Plan is deployed by your users. Some important details to remember:
    Days After
    For Task 1 in the process and other tasks that are not dependent, this field value pushes the due date out from the day of creation. For dependent tasks, it pushes the due date out from the due date on the parent task. For both types of tasks, the Days After setting respects the Skip Weekends setting (as described above).
    Send Email
    Enables the standard task notification email that is sent the moment the task is created.
    Enables the standard task reminder setting, which shows a pop-up reminder to the assigned user on the due date of the task

    Manage Engagement Plan Tasks screen

  6. Click Add Task to add another top-level task. Click Add Dependent Task to add a task that is dependent on the previously added task.
  7. When finished, click Save at the top of the page.

    Save button

Edit Tasks on an Engagement Plan Template

If you need to make any adjustments to the Engagement Plan Template, simply visit the Template record and click Edit (in the upper-right corner).

Edit button
Changes to the Template are not reflected in Engagement Plans created from the Template that are already assigned to records.

Assign an Engagement Plan to a Record

  1. Navigate to the record where you'd like to create an Engagement Plan. For our example, it's a $50,000 donation that came in that should follow the Major Donor plan.
  2. Click New Engagement Plan on the Engagement Plan related list.
  3. The associated record (for our example, the Opportunity) should automatically be populated.

    Create Engagement Plan screen with an automatically populated Opportunity record

    You can only associate an Engagement Plan to a single record. If you try to connect an Engagement Plan to multiple records at the same time, such as Opportunity and Contact, you'll get an error message.
  4. Click Save. Notice the Tasks from the Template now appear on the Engagement Plan record with the appropriate due dates and assignments. All of which are attached to the associated Opportunity record, so that your team can begin the stewardship plan.

    The tasks from the template appear on the Engagement Plan record with the appropriate information

    Tasks related list

    You also see the Engagement Plan listed on the associated record's Engagement Plan related list.

Execute the Engagement Plan

With the tasks assigned, your team is ready to execute the carefully crafted process this Engagement Plan supports. Tasks will show up on your team members' Home Page task lists and in reports. As they complete tasks, users should update the Task to a status of Completed. To learn more about how Activity and Task records work, see Activities in Salesforce Help & Training.

Dependent Tasks: When you complete a Task with a dependent Task, the dependent Task's status is automatically updated from Waiting on Dependent Task to Not Started.

Engagement Plan: As soon as you complete a single Task, the Status on the Engagement Plan updates from Not Started to In Progress. When the last Task is completed, the Status on the Engagement Plan is updated to Complete.

Delete an Engagement Plan

When you delete an Engagement Plan, the underlying tasks still exist, but task automation is not enforced for dependent tasks (dependent tasks won't be updated or assigned based on parent task completion). You can restore the Engagement Plan from the Recycle Bin, and task automation will resume.

  1. Navigate to the record that the Engagement Plan is assigned to.
  2. Scroll to the Engagement Plan related list.
  3. In the row for the Engagement Plan, click Show more actions icon, then click Delete.

The Engagement Plan is sent to the Recycle Bin. You can manually delete the tasks if you don't need them or if the Engagement Plan was assigned by mistake.

Thank You

Special thanks to Melissa Barber, who also contributed to this documentation.