Practical Advice for Modern Fundraisers

THOUGHT·FUL

adjective\ˈtht-fəl\

: serious and quiet because you are thinking: done or made after careful thinking   : done or made after careful thinking: showing concern for the needs or : showing concern for the needs of feelings of other people

Thoughtful Low Tech Project

I may be a self-confessed tech geek, but I still believe in backing up information to good old paper.  Once all the end of year gifts are entered and the thank you letters are mailed I usually try to do a quick check of my data for duplicates and oddities that can happen in the height of YEAR-END. Then I run a “donor profile report” on all donors over, say $250.00. I use three-hole paper and print it on both sides to save space and store the whole thing in a binder.

So what is this report?  You can find a pre-designed version in some CRM /Database programs. The problem with these reports is they are usually one donor per page reports, and that can use a lot of paper with even a medium sized donor list.

Try creating one in Word and merging it with an Excel spreadsheet of your donors. Promise me you will delete that spreadsheet once the merge is done. Spreadsheets are bad juju – in most cases. You could also use a program like Crystal Reports to create a more permanent solution. Crystal Reports is included with some CRM/Database programs. It can also be purchased separately I got mine from TechSoup.  It is well worth the cost and the time needed to learn it, which isn't long.  I use it all the time, and we will discuss one of my favorite custom reports an APPEAL VARIABLE REPORT in a future blog.

Your report only needs the following info -

Full Name Last Gift Amount
All Salutations Last Gift Date
Complete Address Last Gift Appeal
Phone First Gift Amount
Email First Gift Amount
Company Name First Gift Date
Spouse Info First Gift Appeal
Constituency Code Attributes
Total Giving Notes

It might look something like this-

The reason I picked these fields is that they are the basics you would need to rebuild your database if something happened. It also serves as a handy reference.  Click here to get a full-page example.

This report has saved me may times when I just need a piece of archived information, or my server is down. Just remember it is only a snapshot of your donors at a particular moment not a document to work from on an on going basis.

Later this month we will look at a couple of APPs that a will help you manage your data. Be sure to sign up to get updates if you are not presently receiving e-alerts.

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