The ABC's of the Raiser's Edge


"B" is for Blank

When I talk about the beauty of the  Blank query operator in the Raiser's Edge, it often draws a blank stare. Why

should you care if a field is <blank>? Humm…..let's think about that for a minute.When a field is<blank> in a database, that means there's nothing in that field. In database lingo (which I try to avoid when I'm training), it means it "has no value". So, just as an example, if you wanted to identify all of your non-donors in the Raiser's Edge, couldn't you create Constituent query with criteria of Gift Date <blank>? After all, Gift Date is a required field, which means all Gift records must have a value in that field. The Gift Date field cannot be <blank>. Of course, you have a standard report in the Raiser's Edge that would identify those Constituents and create a query for you, but what if you wanted to know who had not given and had never been asked to give, based on Assigned Appeal <blank>? Maybe they've never given because you've never asked them to give! Wow, that would be good to know, wouldn't it?


So, let's add it all up:                                                                                           

A required field               


+ <blank> operator

=no records of that type exist  


     Some examples of required fields in a standard version of the Raiser's Edge

 (your database may have more) include:

  • Spouse records
    • Last name
  • Gift records
    • Gift date                                        
    • Gift type
    • Gift amount
    • Fund
  •  Action records
    • Constituent name (on a Constituent Action record)
    • Action date

So, if you queried on any of these fields with a <blank> operator in a Constituent query, you'd end up with a group of Constituents who don't have that type of information on their records (i.e. no Spouse or no Gifts or no Actions).  

This is a terrific example of using what you do  know in the Raiser's Edge (which fields are required) to figure out what you don't know (which records don't have that information on them). Tons of opportunities to apply this concept in the Raiser's Edge are out there if you think about it. Knowing what's not there can be just as meaningful as knowing what is there! What might you missing by not knowing what's not there?