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  • Writer's pictureMichael Kolodner

Things You Don’t Need: Unlimited Edition

It’s time for a new series on Free Like a Puppy! I’m going to write a few posts about Salesforce products that I seriously doubt you should pay for. Clearly every organization is different, but I’m going to make sure to give specific reasoning. I also got help with this series from a very smart friend in the community who prefers only to be identified as a 🥷🏻. Thank you Ninja Friend!


You Don’t Need Unlimited Edition

Let me put it in black and white: nonprofits and most higher ed organizations do not need Unlimited Edition. I’ve already referenced this before, but now I’m going to get into the specifics of why I believe you do not need Unlimited Edition (UE).

freebie as a Used Car Salesman

That means YOU. 🫵


There are a small handful of the very largest nonprofits that might benefit from UE. We’re talking about the really big ones: the Red Cross, Goodwill, Habitat for Humanity—orgs with millions of records and crisis moments when thousands of donations can pour in during a short time. If that’s your employer, great! (And I’m thrilled to have you among my readers.)


But if you’re working at or with the other 49,990 (or so) nonprofits on Salesforce, I’m pretty confident in asserting that you don’t need Unlimited Edition.


Unlimited Edition Includes:

Freebie playing in a sandbox

- A full copy sandbox

- Premier Support

- Some AI features

- Additional API calls

- Ability to create over 200 custom objects (besides those installed by managed packages)

- Up to 800 custom fields per object (up from a limit of 500)


I’m going to leave aside those first two items here because I will be writing about them on their own. (Spoiler Alert: You probably don’t need either one.) But a full sandbox and Premier Support are the two headline benefits of UE. These are the things AEs push as reasons for the upgrade. I don’t think you need them. I’m going to clearly lay out why not in upcoming posts.


The other items in that list probably don’t mean much to you. If you don’t already know what they mean, then you definitely don’t need to pay for them.


But in brief:

- AI features that nonprofits won’t use. (See here.)

- If you are using more API calls than you get in Enterprise Edition you are probably doing something very specific. Look at what that is and think about all the options. See if you can reduce those API calls.

- I shudder at the thought of more than 200 custom objects or 800 fields on an object. If your architecture calls for so many objects, surely you are supporting very different functional areas. Perhaps a multi-org strategy would make more sense? Yes, there are costs to that. But if you’re that complex, consider the possibilities carefully.


The other “features” of UE are:

UE costs $864/user/year (at discounted nonprofit price).

[Remember: You can always check the Crowdsourced Pricing Guide if you want to know what you should be paying for any given license. But I'll help you out: What you should pay is $495/user/year.]

  • Yes, you read that right, UE is 1.75X the price!

  • You’re still getting almost an 80% discount from list price. (List price for UE is $3,960.)

  • It’s not quite as bad if you are on New Nonprofit Cloud (NPC). Those NPC licenses are already more expensive ($720/year on EE). Going to UE on NPC is $1,200, so “just” 40% more per user.

No free licenses at all. None.

  • Not a typo. If you go with UE, your Power of Us grant no longer includes any free licenses. (You don’t get "the P10.”)

  • You’re paying infinitely more for those first ten licenses!

  • Now it’s more than twice the price.

Can’t downgrade.

  • If you select UE, either at initial implementation or if you upgrade later, you will not be able to downgrade to Enterprise Edition (EE).

  • It might be possible to go back to EE so that all your licenses are cheaper. You’ll pay less, even on the the first ten licenses. But you can’t actually downgrade to get the free licenses back.

  • If you want to get back your P10 free licenses, you would have to do an [expensive] org migration.

Follow the Money

Have I mentioned that AEs push UE? (I think I may have.) I’ve heard multiple reports of them pushing it rather hard, in fact.

A pile of stacks of cash.

Now you can probably tell why. They’ll get a lot higher commission if they can sell you on Unlimited Edition. Too bad your organization won’t be getting any benefit. And sorry you’ll be permanently locked into higher prices.


I think someone at .Org ought to have an alert watching for a sale of UE and look skeptically at whether the buyer needs it. As I said, they almost certainly don’t. They don’t just "not need it," they actually get negative value from it.


An AE that sells UE improperly should be reprimanded.


[If you ask, I’ll tell you how I really feel.]


Bottom Line

You do not need Unlimited Edition. Save your money!

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