The ABC's of the Raiser's Edge

…and also for DAH!

Everybody knows that the Raiser's Edge is a development database, right? Everybody knows that it was designed specifically for fund raising professionals to track all of the unique information they need about their wonderful work cultivating and stewarding donors, right? Then would someone please explain this to me? Consider this scenario:

"D" is for development database

Sandy: "Why do you only have 3 Fund records in the database? Don't you raise money for more than just 3 reasons?"

Development director:"We're only allowed to have 3 Funds because that's the way the business office needs to see it."

Sandy:"Really? Did they consult with you about how to set-up their General Ledger?????"


AARRRRGGGG!!! This is a real hot button issue for me, and I can't count the number of times I've heard it over the last 10+ years. Don't get me wrong; I certainly welcome and understand the importance of input from the folks on the financial side of the house, (I consult and train on the Financial Edge, too), but the Raiser's Edge is first and foremost a development database. It should be structured toward helping fund raisers track the effectiveness of their fund raising efforts (Campaigns, Funds and Appeals), their stalwart efforts in cultivation and stewardship, and ultimately their successes in securing gifts. It is not an accounting product.

That having been said, what can we do about this apparent conflict? No worries! The Raiser's Edge is a robust  product with powerful reporting tools. If the business office needs to see certain information related to gifts and giving, chances are very good that the system can accommodate their needs. Before you relinquish control of your database structure to the accounting department, make sure that you are fully utilizing all of the reporting tools the Raiser's Edge offers and that you've maximized the potential of your Campaign, Fund, and Appeal records. It is highly likely that we can give your development professionals the information they need AND provide accurate, clean information to the accounting side of the house, too.Often times, if I can sit down with a Director of Development and a CFO for a frank conversation about who needs what and why, we can carve out a beautiful solution that makes everybody happy. Many times, I'm able to point out unused features of the Raiser's Edge that can hep bridge the gap between the two. Occasionally, we're unable to use the standard tools in the system to generate reports for the business office, but that's why you have Crystal Reports.

Has the business office hijacked your development database?