Salesforce Person Accounts Overview

By - April 20, 2023

If you’ve been following the Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud news (Nonprofit Cloud), you know one of the significant changes between Nonprofit Cloud and NPSP is the move to person accounts. Other industries have long used this model, but organizations using NPSP have opted against that in favor of the account/contact model. Below we’ll outline the changes to help you understand what’s coming.


What are Person Accounts, exactly?

Person Accounts are a type of Account record that creates a 1:1 relationship between the Contact and the Account to represent an individual. In other words, Person Accounts will always behave like a traditional Account record and sometimes act like a traditional Contact record.

How are Person Accounts used?

In the corporate world, a few account models are used. B2B companies utilize Organization Accounts with directly related Contacts. B2C companies use Person Accounts to track individuals rather than companies. Finally, hybrid companies use organization Accounts and Person Accounts to follow the companies and individuals they work with.

In the nonprofit space, we will draw from the B2C model and use Person Accounts to represent our legacy Contacts or the individuals we engage with through our programs or fundraising efforts. In addition, we will use a new object, the Party Relationship Group, to create a household grouping.

Wasn’t I told never to use Person Accounts as a nonprofit? What’s changed?

You were told that – mainly because Person Accounts didn’t play well with NPSP. With the move to Nonprofit Cloud, however, things have changed. The industry solutions built using Person Accounts, such as those for healthcare, financial services, or public sector companies, provide hugely effective solutions for massive amounts of data. Utilizing Person Accounts with Nonprofit Cloud allows us to use the powerful industry-common components in other sectors.

As industry solutions have changed, the ecosystem has changed as well. Person Accounts have much more support than they have in the past. They work better with marketing tools like Marketing Cloud, and most third-party apps now support Person Accounts. There is support for admins and developers in working with Person Accounts, too.

What does this mean for me?

You should not convert to Person Accounts if you are an existing Salesforce customer using NPSP. However, if you decide to move to Nonprofit Cloud, you must utilize Person Accounts and migrate your data appropriately.

If you are considering implementing a new instance of Nonprofit Cloud, you must utilize Person Accounts.

There are many considerations during this process, and we’re here to help, as always. Please reach out to our team here for more information.

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