Improving Gift Processing for Raiser’s Edge Users - Heller Consulting

Improving Gift Processing for Raiser’s Edge Users

If you’re like many fundraisers, processing gifts can be a big challenge. You receive donations from multiple channels – from paper checks to online donations. It takes time to gather gift data from multiple sources and enter them into your donor database properly.

However, there are things you can start doing today to save time and improve the accuracy of your organization’s gift processing.

Let’s explore some key ideas and tips for improving gift processing using the widely-used fundraising platform, Blackbaud Raiser’s Edge NXT.

Key considerations when processing gifts using Raiser’s Edge

Gift processing starts with receiving gift information from multiple data sources and entering them uniformly into your Raiser’s Edge system. Gifts must be entered accurately and attributed to the channel in which they were received, with the correct campaign, fund, appeal, and package codes, so that you can measure the success of your fundraising campaigns and reconcile with your Finance department.

Organizations use various approaches to speed up gift data entry. For example, some configure certain default information so that they can save some time when they are using batch gift entry functionality to enter a stack of paper checks from a campaign. Some hire a third-party vendor to complete check processing and speed data entry on their behalf,  sending a data file back to the organization to upload into Raiser’s Edge.

No matter what your organization’s approach might be, the challenge is still about sorting through the volumes of gifts you receive from various channels and entering them into Raiser’s Edge as quickly and accurately as possible. And there’s almost always room for improvement.

The good news is that even small improvements can add up over time!

Five tips for improving gift processing using Raiser’s Edge

Here are five effective ways to save time and improve the accuracy of your gift processing using Raiser’s Edge:

1. Clean up the data in your system.

No matter how efficient your gift entry processes might be, your gift processing will ultimately suffer if you have messy data already in your system. Cleaning the data you already have will help to speed up the gift entry process by reducing the need to reconcile duplicate constituent records. It will also help to ensure that campaigns, appeals, packages, funds, and other data points are used consistently.Start by deduplicating as many records as possible. Then, review your data coding structure (dropdowns/picklists) to make sure it aligns with how your development and accounting teams currently track donations. Another helpful approach is to review your data entry standards to make sure you are tracking data consistently in Raiser’s Edge for things like Attributes and Constituent Codes.

2. Ask your vendor to reformat your data files.

If you work with a third-party vendor, you might find that you must often reformat the gift data files they provide to you before you can upload them into your Raiser’s Edge system. If so, then ask the vendor to work with you to align their data files with your data standards and conventions. Investing time in this now can save your staff much more time in the coming months and years.

3. Reconfigure your donation forms.

Review your online donation forms to ensure that data is captured and mapped accurately to better align with the data standards and conventions in your Raiser’s Edge database. This approach can reduce the amount of manual intervention needed to enter gift data properly.

4. Use data integration software to automate manual data processes.

Use data integration software, such as Omatic, to make your work easier. This kind of software can help you to reduce manual tasks, such as record matching. It can help you merge your data, enhance data quality, and simplify processes. For Raiser’s Edge users, you can link data from any source and create a single point of entry for all data going into Raiser’s Edge NXT.

5. Analyze your entire gift processing approach.

When you started using Raiser’s Edge, you might have had well-defined data entry processes and standards. But over time, employees and volunteers come and go, and your organization might have begun to track and manage data inconsistently. The longer you’ve been using your system, the more likely this is the case.Taking a step back to analyze your entire gift processing approach – from the processes you use to the way your Raiser’s Edge database is structured – can help you uncover opportunities to improve data accuracy, reduce manual work, and save time that is better spent on other activities. For example, the Heller Consulting team worked with Greater Chicago Food Depository to help them assess their gift processing approaches and find specific ways for them to increase the percentage of gifts processed without manual intervention and ultimately allow staff members to shift their time to more strategic activities.

Learn more about improving gift processing with Raiser’s Edge

Our team here at Heller Consulting is ready to help you improve your organization’s gift processing. We can help you assess challenges associated with your gift processing in Raiser’s Edge and identify specific tools and approaches to help you save time and improve accuracy of gift data entry and more. Contact us to learn more and get started.

About the Author

Jett Winders
Jett works collaboratively with nonprofits to map their business needs to CRM tools and functionality so that organizations can deliver their missions more effectively and raise money more efficiently.  With more than 15 years of fundraising experience, Jett has had... Read More