How to Use General Accounting Units to Track Your Nonprofit’s Restricted and Unrestricted Funds in Salesforce NPSP

Restricted Funds in Nonprofits

Restricted funds are a vitally important part of the nonprofit industry. They’re a useful and effective way to structure fundraising efforts. They also allow donors to know that their contributions are being used for the programs they care most about. However, when a donor provides this type of donation, it comes with strings attached. Restricted funds need to be used for the specific purpose that the donor has specified.

General Accounting Units (GAUs)

Salesforce’s Nonprofit Success Package (NPSP) helps you keep track of what money was raised for what purpose. NPSP tracks all fo this with “General Accounting Units” (GAUs). A GAU represents anything for which funds are specifically earmarked:

  • A program that your organization does
  • A coordinated campaign
  • Anything else that you might need to segment your funds

How to Create a GAU in Salesforce NPSP

To create a GAU, navigate to the “General Accounting Units” tab, and press “New.” Although the page contains additional information, when you’re creating GAUs, all you need to input is the fields in the “Information” section: Name, Description, and if it’s Active. Once you’ve put in that information, ignore all the other fields and press “Save.”

Screenshot of the General Accounts Units Information

One GAU you should consider creating is a “General Fund,” which allows you to track unrestricted funds.

How to Connect Donations to Your GAUs

Once you’ve created all your GAUs, you can start tying individual Donations to your GAUs. Let’s say that Jane Donor is a huge fan of one of your organization’s Sunday Soup Kitchen program. She just sent you a check for $1,000 to support the organization. That’s great! To track this, you’ll log this Donation the way that you normally do. Once you’ve created your Donation, on the Donation detail, find the “GAU Allocation” related list. Then press the “Manage Allocations” button.

Manage Allocations button for GAU Allocations on the Donation Detail

Next, search for the GAU for which that the donation is earmarked. You can either specify the amount earmarked for the GAU or the percentage of the donation that should be allocated to the GAU.

Screenshot of the Manage Opportunity Allocations where an amount or percentage can be specified

When you’ve finished specifying, press “Save” in the top right. NPSP will create the GAU Allocation(s) and display them on the related list.

Screenshot of the GAU Allocations liist

GAU Allocations on Recurring Donations

As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, Recurring Donations can be a major time-saver for your development department. You only need to log a Recurring Donation once, and NPSP will create all the individual Donations for you!

You can also specify GAU Allocations on Recurring Donations. Let’s say you nurtured your relationship with Jane Donor, and she’s agreed to donate $500 monthly on an ongoing basis. She’d like 75% of that donation to go to your organization’s Sunday Soup Kitchen program and 25% to your organization’s Homeless Outreach Program. You’ve got to handle this restricted fund accordingly.

Navigate to the recurring donation and find the GAU Allocations related list, and press Manage Allocations, the same way you would for a single Donation.

Screenshot of the Recurring Donationo related GAU Allocations List

In this case, you’d specify the 75% for the Sunday Soup Kitchen, press “Add Row” in the bottom left. Then select the Homeless Outreach Program and specify 25% for that GAU. When you have the Allocations as they should be, press “Save” in the top right.

Now, whenever a Donation associated with the Recurring Donation is created, it will have the GAU Allocations specified in the Donation. Every month, NPSP will create a $500 Donation and allocate $375 of it to the Sunday Soup Kitchen and $125 to the Homeless Outreach Program. That saves you a ton of manual logging and helps make sure that your restricted funds and Recurring Donations get allocated to the right program.

Screenshot of the locaton specified for the Donation

Encouraging Gifts of Restricted Funds

Making it clear to donors what their funds support is a great way to encourage gifts. NPSP allows you to track this by tracking GAU Allocations on your Campaigns.

Let’s say you send out a mailer to bring attention to your Homeless Outreach Program. You’ll track that mailer as a Campaign. To associate your Campaign with the Homeless Outreach Program, find your GAU Allocations related list on the Campaign, and press Manage Allocations. Indicate the GAU Allocations on your Campaign the way you do for Donations, and press Save. In this case, 100% will go to the Homeless Outreach Program.

Screenshot of tracking GAU Allocations for a campaign

This way, when Jane Donor sees your mailing, is moved, and sends over a check for $100, and you associate her Donation with the mailer Campaign, NPSP will automatically create a GAU Allocation that matches the GAU Allocation you specified for that Campaign. This saves you time and effort, as you no longer will need to remember what Campaigns are associated with what programs, while ensuring that restricted funds are accurately tracked in Salesforce.

Screenshot showing the GAU Allocation automatically created when a donor's donation is associated with a campaign

Recurring Restricted Fund Donations Associated with Campaigns

Here’s the part where it gets really cool: If you get a Recurring Donation associated with the Campaign, NPSP will pass the GAU Allocations from the Campaign to each individual Donation created off of the Recurring Donation.

Tracking GAUs and Restricted Funds

If you want to track how much you have allocated to a GAU, NPSP makes it easy to track this. You can see information about the GAU, such as totals, averages, largest and smallest allocation numbers. Each night, NPSP recalculates these totals.

If you need up-to-date information right away, you can press the “Recalculate Rollups” button to force those numbers to update for the GAU immediately.

Screenshot showing the Recalculate Rollups button in upper right of the GAU Detail

On the GAU Related List, you can view all the GAU Allocations associated with that GAU, including GAU Allocations associated with Campaigns and Recurring Donations.

Screenshot of the GAU Related List to view associated GAU Allocations with the GAU

Setting a Default GAU for Donations

If you want NPSP to specify a default GAU for donations, Salesforce lets you do this. Go to the NPSP Settings tab, expand the Donations menu, and press on GAU Allocations. Check “Default Allocations Enabled,” and specify the GAU you wish to be the default.

Screenshot of the NPSP Settings tab with "Donations - GAU Allocations" menu expanded

Do More with Salesforce NPSP

Salesforce NPSP is a powerful tool. With additional customization, it can greatly reduce manual data logging, reduce input error, and ensure your organization has accurate data. On the platform, your nonprofit gets full insight into your donors, constituents, and other stakeholders. You can automate repetitive tasks and processes so that your staff can spend their time focusing on what matters most to your organization.

If you’d like to get the most out of your Salesforce NPSP implementation, we can help. Our team partners with many nonprofits for custom development on the platform. To talk with a consultant, contact us today.

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