Flex Your Raiser's Edge Muscle

Do you feel like you need Raiser’s Edge boot camp? Whether you are a new or long-time user, adding these simple exercises to your routine will build some impressive data-wrangling skills to boost your fundraising might.

by: Ed Hohlbein | Founder and Principal at Generate, Inc., and Nonprofit University Faculty

Quality growth in most areas of life occurs incrementally. Regardless of the skill you are attempting to build, that skill will develop as long as you have a plan to nurture it daily. You can easily max out your Raiser’s Edge (RE) muscle with some small adjustments or additions to your routine. Start using these 10 exercises today—right now—and you’ll pump up your RE skills in no time.

Keep Names Consistent

A consistent naming system is your friend. Whether saving reports or using folders to keep Queries and Exports organized, make sure your entire team is using the same naming convention or structure.

Dashboard Your Data

Stay on top of your goals by using Dashboards.  That way, there’s no need to worry when you receive a call from a team member who needs to know – in five minutes! – about progress toward a particular goal.  By creating a simple Recent Gifts List Dashboard Panel you can easily tweak Dashboard Properties to quickly produce the data you need.

Run System Statistics

There’s a great tool in RE Administration called System Statistics which offers a quick snapshot of all the record types in your database. Run these statistics on a regular basis and you’ll be able to discuss your records in RE with confidence.

Clean Up Contacts

Build and run Queries to determine which Organization Records do not have a Primary Contact. You can then make a plan for adding additional data to records that may need tightening up.

Track 100% of Board Giving and Participation

Regardless of how your board members choose to give, a properly prepared Gift Detail and Summary Report used in conjunction with Constituent Codes and Gift Attributes will give you up-to-date data on board giving and participation.

Leave Attribute Stress at the Door

A lot of people get stressed over the number of Attributes they may see in RE. Attributes offer you the opportunity to customize RE to your organization’s specific needs and processes, so you will want to understand how they have been used historically, and how they are being used presently – but don’t stress about the total number in your system.  If you feel that some clean-up is in order, simply run an Attributes Report in Configuration to see all of your Attributes, and then build and run Queries to identify where the Attributes are being used in your database.

Banish Bad Addresses

Eliminate and/or update incomplete or bad addresses from RE by building and running Queries with the Criteria “Preferred Address Lines Equals Blank" or “Preferred Zip Equals Blank" or “Preferred State Equals Blank,” just to name a few.

Build Out and Use Your Home Page

Organize your work flow - frequently accessed Records, Functions, and Processes - on your Home Page and you should rarely have to dive any deeper into your system.

Reconcile on the Fly

Organize a Dashboard into Campaign, Fund, and Appeal panels in order to reconcile donations  within your development structure each time Gifts are entered or Batches are Committed. This will make your regularly scheduled reconciliation with the Finance Department or Business Office a breeze.

Organize Your Batches

Use the Folder structure in Batch to organize your Batches into types of giving or payment. Create separate Batch Folders for Cash/Checks, Credit Cards, and Pledges.

Want to learn more about these RE muscle building exercises? Join us on Friday, April 11, at GCN's Nonprofit University when we will be jumping into these 10 exercises in more depth and discussing how to incorporate them into your daily routine. I hope you can join us!

A proud data and RE Geek, Ed Hohlbein, bCRE is the founder of Generate, Inc. a boutique consulting firm that offers high-touch coaching and consulting on The Raiser’s Edge and other select Blackbaud products, as well as alternative donor management systems.  Connect with Ed on LinkedIn, follow him on Twitter, or like Generate on Facebook. You can also visit his little corner of the world at readysetgenerate.com.


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