Make Your Nonprofit Data a Game Changer

nonprofit data Oct 10, 2015

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 make your Raiser’s Edge (RE) data a game changer with some small adjustments or additions to your processes. Start using these 10 exercises today – right now – and you’ll change the game in not time.

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. 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.

With a few adjustments to your data processes, you will be making a change to the game that is data driven no matter your role on the team.

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