CLT Workflow Management System

Community Land Trust Template for

(We apologize about the quality of the images but they are just to give you an idea of what the database looks like.)

Beginning in 2007, OPAL CLT along with other CLTs in the northwest, began discussions with NPower Seattle about creating an online database using Salesforce is a robust internet-based Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system used by all types of organizations, ranging from small nonprofits to Fortune 500 companies. The Salesforce Foundation generously donates licenses to this product to nonprofits (up to 10 users per 501c3), which has made it very popular and given rise to a community of nonprofit users and consultants.

Over the next two years, NPower consultants worked with the NW CLT Coalition, OPAL, Homestead and Kulshan CLTs to define the requirements for a management system to support their work. In 2009, the Northwest CLT Coalition received funding and contracted with NPower to create a template for Salesforce that would be flexible enough to work for any CLT. The template will be completed mid 2010, and has already been installed into the Salesforce accounts of OPAL CLT, KulshanCLT and Homestead CLT.

This document describes the Community Land Trust template and answers common questions.

What does the template consist of?

At the foundation of this database tool is Enterprise Edition. offers excellent web-based tools for contact management, email communication, outreach campaigns, and reporting. In addition to tools available in Salesforce itself, there is a large community of third-party vendors who offer applications that work with Salesforce. (One such tool is Vertical Response, a mass-email tool which we have pre-installed into the CLT accounts.) is highly customizable. On top of Salesforce itself is a complete donor management system created by NPower Seattle. The NPower donor management template includes many custom fields, objects, and record types for tracking nonprofit communications, grants, donations. The template includes common reports and dashboards to meet nonprofit needs, and is itself easy to customize further.

The CLT template builds further on this base, adding many more custom objects and program code. These customizations include:

    • Properties object

This custom tab stores information about homes, rentals, and CLT-owned land. Custom fields store valuation, tax, and characteristics of the property, with picklists to help ensure consistent data entry.

The following sub-objects are shown as lists related to properties:
     o CLT Service Files, showing current and past owners and renters of the property
     o History of Status changes, appraisals, and tax assessments
     o Repairs
     o Improvements or adjustments to value
     o Grant funding applied to property
     o Notes and attached files

• CLT Service File object

The CLT Services tab stores information about services provided by the CLT to its clients. For a homeownership file, for example, all the financial data about the applicant, their purchase, and their eventual resale of the home are stored in the same record.
Service files are created when clients first apply to the CLT, either for homeownership or another service. A picklist field called Status keeps track of the application as it is reviewed and completed, and the service file record provides a place to track all information about the services provided.

There are three separate “record types” – Homeownership, Rental, and Assistance (“assistance” includes homeowner education and counseling). For CLTs that offer only homeownership services, the other two record types can be made unavailable.

The following sub-objects are shown as lists related to CLT Service Files:
     o Income sources, the sum of which is automatically maintained on the file
     o Assets, such as investments or bank accounts
     o Debt
     o Loans provided to the homeowner, which link to lender Accounts
     o Assistance payments
     o Education/Counseling, an object that allows you to track services for reporting purposes via         a HUD 9902 form.
     o Allocations from housing grants
     o History of Status and other key fields

The service file layout includes special fields that "roll up" values from those lists, displaying the sum of all child objects – for example, the total income reported by each client.

• Application website

Each CLT has a publicly available website, hosted by, that emulates the CLT’s own website in appearance (i.e. has the same top banner, fonts, and colors). The website can display available properties, and allows new clients to submit a complete multipage application for homeownership or other services.

The application website is created using the Sites feature of, and pages are implemented using Visualforce and the Apex programming language.

• Workflow and custom code

The template includes custom code, written in the Apex programming language, that supports CLT workflow and connects objects in various ways. For example, when you change a homeowner’s service file status from application to current owner, a trigger automatically updates the associated property, setting the Owner, last purchase price, property status, and so on.

Because measuring client income levels is important, the template includes custom code that automatically records the percentage of Adjusted Median Income (AMI) for each client’s family size at the time of purchase and resale. CLT staff simply needs to enter the annual AMI number for the counties they serve as a custom setting, and then this data is entered automatically whenever service files are created or updated.

• Custom Reports

The CLT template includes over 40 reports, organized in the following folders:
     o CLT Property Reports
     o CLT Homeownership Reports
     o CLT General Program Reports (includes education and counseling)
     o CLT Rental Reports

CLT staff can use these reports as is, or customize and save their own versions with different fields or filters. Reports provide an easy way to link to records, and you can export them to Excel or text files with a single click.

• Dashboards

The following dashboards provide charts for data analysis:
     o CLT Services
     o CLT Service History
     o Donation History
     o Revenue and Forecasting

Dashboards can be customized to include tables and charts for many types of data analysis.

• Email and mail merge templates

The template includes sample email templates for communicating with clients and supporters.

• Connection to coalition account

NPower has configured each of the CLT accounts to connect automatically to the Salesforce account of the Northwest CLT Coalition. The connection copies selected data about service files, properties, and loans from each CLT account to the coalition account – without providing access to any confidential information about clients.

The coalition account has its own set of reports and dashboards. These are specially designed to analyze and compare current and past CLT activities across the entire region.
The automatic connection uses a feature called Salesforce to Salesforce. These connections customarily require manual maintenance; for the CLT template, NPower wrote custom code that shares records automatically as appropriate.

How do new CLT organizations get the template?

Because the CLT template is made up of various parts, there are several steps involved in getting it. The cost and timeline of installation, rollout, migration, and training may vary greatly depending on your existing data and other factors.
Here are the high-level steps:

     • Talk to NPower Seattle about installing with their base nonprofit template
     • Work with a consultant to get the CLT template installed and set up your custom application           website for clients
     • Export any existing data from your current systems to spreadsheets and provide them to                 your consultant
     • Get training for staff on and the template

Where can I learn more?

For information about CLTs and this project, contact Erika Malone at the Northwest CLT Coalition. 

For information about the Salesforce and the CLT template, contact Kevin Bromer at NPower Seattle (