Tag Archives: Blackbaud

Unlock your fundraising potential

We’ve published a new whitepaper – Unlock your fundraising potential.

Our thinking behind the paper is about our experience and how things have moved on.

“Worldwide, an estimated 13,000 non-profits use Raiser’s Edge – a database that has been around for more than 30 years.  It’s no surprise that it’s widely been seen as ‘the’ tool for fundraisers. Purple Vision has supported clients who use RE for more than a third of the entire lifespan of the product. Over that time, we’ve learned a few things.  In this paper, we share some of our thoughts and insights to help you with the next steps that you are likely to take as you consider your options with this tool. 

There will be a next step, because at the grand old age of 30, Blackbaud upgraded Raiser’s Edge to Raiser’s Edge NXT.  On the face of it, for many it will feel like a natural progression.  But we’re urging charities to look beyond an auto-pilot upgrade, and consider their options.  Of course, you may still choose to use your tried and tested favourite, but for others, this is a chance to take a fresh look at the options available”.

Get your copy of the paper

  • Unlock your potential -read as a PDF
  • Unlock your fundraising potential – read as a flipbook

    Making the right choice for your charity 

  • For the first time, as charities look at their fundraising infrastructure, there are a selection of real and viable alternatives available to what was once the only really serious option for fundraisers.We share just one of these options as a potential alternative to review and consider – Causeview. We’ve described it as RE but on the Salesforce platform.  Its an interesting comparison and we’d like to  show you what we mean.

    But of course, we’re realistic.  For some charities, Raiser’s Edge is just where they need to be.

    What’s key is to think and decide which is the right way to go for your organisation.  So our paper explains the points at which you might need to consider a change and what some of those drivers and decision points may need to be for your charity.

    See for yourself

    We’re hosting a series of breakfast briefings to showcase Causeview – join us at one of these to see the tool for yourself and see how it compares to what you have now.

    Join us at 09.00 on any of the three dates below – just click the link on the date to register.

    We’ll be holding these events in our offices – Purple Vision are based in Kennington Park, just opposite Oval tube station in London.  They’re fairly informal affairs over coffee and croissants with a chance to ask questions too.

And while we’re talking about Causeview, of course we know there are other tools on the market too. We’re happy to talk to you about these, too – we pride ourselves on being independent and on your side.  For us that means doing the right thing for you – not shoehorning your needs into a box.

Get in touch

If you have questions about this paper or would like to know more about Causeview, give us a ring on 0845 458 0250 or email [email protected]

Have you got your Raiser’s Edge coding right?

Have you got your Raiser’s Edge coding right?

Blackbaud announced RE NXT at their 2014 convention – the long awaited upgrade/update to RE7. The upgrades will be ready from 2015. So what does that mean for existing RE users? What will the updates offer? How can you maximise your investment in the tool? Over the next few months we will be looking at Blackbaud’s Raiser’s Edge in the build up to finding out more about its replacement.

Dan Lockeretz, Purple Vision’s Operations Director and long-time RE user/manager asks whether we’ve got our coding right?

We work with some great organisations trying to do some great fundraising using their supporter database, but so often we find our clients struggling with an inherited coding structure.  Sound familiar?  Or perhaps not, so let’s start with some definitions…

What on earth is a Coding Structure anyway? 

Do you classify your supporters in some way?  Do you make use of Constituent Codes and Constituent Attributes to categorise and segment your supporter records?

Raisers Edge coding structure


Well, that’s one element of your data structure.  Another element relates to the coding you apply to your gifts.  We are of course talking about the Campaign, Appeal, Packages and Fund codes.

Now that we are clear about coding structure, let’s ask: is there really such thing as the ‘right’ coding structure’?  

Yes is the most definitely the answer, but that doesn’t necessarily mean every organisation has to conform to the same structure.  The right coding structure is the one that meets your organisation’s data needs.  If you can identify and segment supporters easily and accurately, and you can report and analyse successfully on your fundraising activity, then you have landed on the data structure that is right for you!

Unfortunately you seem to be in the minority!

 Why does it matter?

There are some fundamental things all databases need to get right.  Think…

  • Communication preferences and adhering to the Data Protection Act
  • Flagging your ‘special’ supporters, e.g. celebrities, Major Donors, etc

…it all relies on clear, consistent coding.

Less risky in terms of affecting how you communicate with your supporters, but no less important in the long-term, is your ability to understand how your fundraising appeals are doing.  It goes without saying that in order to make decisions about where to spend your fundraising budget, who to target with what , when, and how, all goes back to reporting and analysis.  Trying to report on, and analyse your data without the right coding structure in place, well, where do you start!

Ok, so it’s not right according to that definition, so can it be fixed it?

Fortunately Blackbaud have put a lot of thought in to the way the Raiser’s Edge Campaigns, Funds, Appeals and Packages work together.  Whilst we say that not all RE users need to structure their gift coding in the same way, there are some advantages to working within the broad approach Blackbaud have designed into RE. (link to Blackbaud resource)

We have worked on a number of projects recently where we have helped organisations switch to a structure that fits in with the RE coding model, for example by ensuring the Campaigns reflect core strategic fundraising areas, Appeals reflect specific fundraising activities, and that Funds reflect the financial goal/project.


preferred Raiser's Edge campaign structure

Likewise on the Constituent record side, we have helped organisations organise their supporter base into logical multi-level audiences, with clear coding structures using Constituent Codes and Attributes.

Sounds like a lot of work!

It can be hard going, working through all the various changes, but there’s a lot that can be done to make it less arduous.  Inactivating codes and tables, using Table Cleanups, Global Changes, renaming, and using well structured and consistent code IDs and Descriptions, all go a long way to make the change process possible.

You may also decide in certain cases, that you don’t need to change everything historically, and just start from a clean slate (beware of reducing your ability to report successfully over time on that one).

 The number one tip however, is to start with a plan. 

Give your coding structure some serious thought; work with all the relevant stakeholders to agree it in the first place, and set out a plan of change to get you there!

The benefits are sure to outweigh the effort in the long run!


Other offers and info

  • Next blog:  in about 3-4 weeks!
  • Event: We’re hosting a breakfast briefing about Raiser’s Edge on March 27 2015 – at the end of this series of blogs and features. Registration is already open via our events page – (note our polite request – this is for charity employees, trustees or volunteers, thanks).

What’s NXT for raiser’s edge?

Is there finally news on our much-used and favoured fundraising tool?

We have been lamenting the lack of news from Blackbaud about what’s happening with Raiser’s Edge for quite some time.  First there was hope with Convio  which we blogged about.  We even went to BBCon in 2012 and interviewed the Senior VP for Marketing & Products about the vision for Raiser’s Edge.

And then it all went quiet.

So started talking about Life After Raiser’s Edge and addressed tools like  App-o-matic  to pump some more life into the tool and help people wring maximum value out of their investment in Raiser’s Edge.

We’ve been quietly getting on with helping charities with fixes, work-around solutions, health-checks and clever ideas about how to move things forward with RE ever since.

But it looks like finally, there may be some new news!

What’s coming next is already billed as Raiser’s Edge NXT. 

The detail will emerge from BBCon, Blackbaud’s Annual Convention, this year to be held in the rather fun sounding Gaylord Opry in Nashville, Tennessee  from 6th – 8th October.  But it is already being billed as reaffirming “the company’s commitment to its fundraising and relationship management, and financial management platforms, follows a consistent wave of investments and innovation during the last two quarters … “

There’s more:

“Raiser’s Edge NXT and Financial Edge NXT will offer customers a suite of powerful, capability-rich solutions that enable nonprofits to expand their donor base, boost productivity, effectively manage transactions and eliminate IT burden—all within a brand new, intuitive interface that is designed to support the way nonprofits work. These solutions will also offer full integration capabilities, allowing seamless communication between the two systems.

In addition to developing its cloud-based NXT line, Blackbaud will continue to support its flagship fundraising and relationship management solution, The Raiser’s Edge, as well as its financial management solution, The Financial Edge, and has committed a set of enhancements for both solutions to customers in the fall timeframe”

There are promises too – Blackbaud President and CEO Mike Gianoni – who only joined Blackbaud in January – believes “…not only will nonprofits experience all the benefits of the cloud—such as a lower total cost of ownership and reduced administrative overhead—they will also benefit from an unparalleled user experience, and powerful built-in tools that help them expand the reach of their missions while improving organizational efficacy.”

So it finally seems there may be something new for RE users after all.

Watch this space for more news.

  • We will evaluate RE NXT and share what we feel are the features, benefits and opportunities against other market options for you shortly.
  • If you are an RE user and need some help and extra support in your team, find out about our Database Management on Demand service.  We are making an offer available exclusively to IoF Members (watch out for your newsletters, landing 17th & 23rd October for more news), of some free extra time on new 10 hour contracts taken out by 19th December this year.  Details also here


Source: Blackbaud PR via Business Wire, published in Charleston, South Carolina 9 September 01.09pm EDT.