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Gift Batch Preview And Coming Attractions

In the coming weeks, we’re excited to begin introducing the first version of Gift Batch in Raiser’s Edge NXT. Gift management in web view is a long-awaited capability, and I want to take a moment to set expectations for what Batch is, what it isn’t (yet), and what to expect in future releases.
   
812b62bbf80711a0da7193314524aabb-huge-1_For most of us, gift batch implies manual data entry. Entering gifts one-by-one can be tedious and time-consuming, and batch entry has been a big time-saver in past versions of Raiser’s Edge.

Gift Batch, however, can provide much more value than just manual data entry, including:
  • A grouping mechanism for gifts, enabling you to track gifts with shared batch IDs.
  • A review workflow for organizations with volunteer data entry staff or lockbox/caging services.
  • A centralized “hub” used for approving gifts entered into your database.
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As the list of goals and purposes of Gift Batch grow, so does the need for additional capabilities in web view. In a blog post last summer I compared building out gift entry in web view to eating an elephant. While I didn’t win any animal rights awards for my prose, I hope this comparison helped communicate just how large and complex the task really is.

This is why we’re releasing Gift Management capabilities in an incremental manner, instead of waiting until the full functionality is ready. Releasing Batch incrementally allows some of you to begin to take advantage of core functionality, with more users seeing the benefits as we add enhancements over time. It also gives us a chance to make incremental changes based on feedback from users like you. We’ve previously referenced this same approach in blogs for features such as Workflow Designer and Events, and the upcoming release of Gift Batch is no different.

Why Start with Gift Batch?
In deciding how to approach transforming Gift Management in RENXT, we had a lot to consider. We wanted to improve the manual data entry process, and we knew many upcoming features would either rely on, or benefit greatly from, gift batch functionality. Features such as Donation Forms and Automatic Recurring Giving (both coming soon!) will generate gifts in a more automatic way; they also introduce the immediate need for a “hub” for these gifts. To establish this hub as soon as possible, we broke down Gift Batch into two distinct concepts: gift entry and gift review and approval.

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This distinction let us focus on the key aspects of batch these upcoming features depend on. Take Automated Recurring Gifts as an example. Using gift batches, we can group all recurring gift payments that process successfully in a given day and let you review them before they’re entered into your database. Automated Recurring Gifts became another “spoke” in our emerging diagram, a scenario where an optimized data entry experience may not even be relevant (since these gifts “auto-process” by definition).

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Many more upcoming capabilities will benefit greatly from a centralized “hub” for grouping, reviewing, and approving gifts. In no particular order, the features currently in development that will also make use of Gift Batch include:
  • Automated Recurring Gifts
  • Online donation forms
  • Event registration forms
  • JustGiving integration
  • Gift Import
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Note that each of these are in various stages of development, so you may not see them for some time. The intent of this post is simply to provide you with some context around why we chose to focus on certain aspects of gift batches in this first iteration.

What Features Will I See First in Gift Batch for Web View?
Our goal with the initial release of Gift Batch is primarily to meet the needs to group, review, and approve gifts for the variety of upcoming features we’ll be releasing soon.
 
For those of you who love Batch for manual gift entry, know that we did not focus on optimizing manual data entry this time around. Be assured that we know its value and importance to you. While manual gift entry is certainly possible with this first iteration, there are a few known “gaps”, including the following:
  • Batch templates
  • Default field values
  • Required field support
  • Recurring batches
Don’t worry! Throughout the year, we plan to add support for these features and you’ll see many of the gaps filled. Our iterative development approach allows you to take advantage of core functionality that grows over time, rather than wait for a robust feature set or solution. The Gift Batch you see today will not be the same Gift Batch of tomorrow—we have much more to come!

As you start to work with the features, be sure to discuss your thoughts and share your ideas in the Community to help guide their development. We look forward to hearing your feedback as we continue to evolve our Gift Management features!

 
Posted by Jarod Bonino on Jul 2, 2019 2:24 PM America/New_York

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Well written and VERY helpful post, Jarod, thanks!!  Keep these kinds of posts coming, so helpful to have this perspective.  Well done again!
  • Posted Tue 02 Jul 2019 03:10 PM EDT
Thanks for all your hard work on this! I gave batch a try and will not be using for our bank deposits it as it is yet. I will share my thoughts/ideas in the community.
  • Posted Wed 03 Jul 2019 11:52 AM EDT
Thanks Jarod, such an exciting time to be able to bring more of my staff over the the RENXT Web view experience! Keep up the great work. 
  • Posted Tue 09 Jul 2019 07:18 PM EDT
Great post Jarod, thank you. Question: how will gift receipting connect to this centralized “hub” for gifts? Specifically interested in learning how electronic receipts for NXT online donation forms will work. We currently deploy instant electronic receipts using NetCommunity donation forms and I'm wondering if the upcoming NXT online donation forms will also support instant electronic receipts? Or will there be some sort of centralized receipt manager requiring manual intervention?
  • Posted Wed 10 Jul 2019 01:27 PM EDT
I really appreciate the comments from everyone!

@Bill - Thanks so much.
@Sunshine - Looking forward to hearing your feedback! 
@Karen - Great to hear!
@Greg - Great questions on receipting! Our new donation form builder will include "auto-responder" capabilities that will, in most cases, suffice as a thank you or a receipt. In addition, we'll be releasing a centralized Receipt Manager that will allow you to manually trigger the generation of PDFs or emails to receipt gifts (entered via back office or online). Eventually we plan to allow users to schedule automated receipts for gifts under a certain amount, to a certain fund, etc. We have a webinar tomorrow where Ken Cantu and I will be deep diving in to Automated recurring gifts, Donations forms, and Receipt manager. Please do register and attend live to learn more, or check out the recording after tomorrow's event!
  • Posted Wed 10 Jul 2019 02:41 PM EDT
This is awesome! I'm really looking forward to the full functionality of entering gifts by batch in NXT. Thank you for sharing this post explaining the stages before the full roll out. 
  • Posted Thu 11 Jul 2019 01:35 PM EDT
This is helpful information, thank you.  I probably won't be using batch in NXT anytime soon since we don't have any recurring gifts at this point, but I am looking forward to the rollout and testing the functionality of it.
  • Posted Thu 11 Jul 2019 04:12 PM EDT
Exciting and cool. We only have a few recurring gifts that go through batch monthly and without templates or default fields I'm not going to be doing a lot of manual entry through NXT. However, we have multiple online forms and Event Registrations, so once those roll out I'll be sure to look into this more. We're trying to move everyone more into NXT but it's tough for us "old timers" who love our DB view.  
  • Posted Wed 17 Jul 2019 02:43 PM EDT
We have just started testing the new batch feature on NXT and very excited to see the next features to come! We dont have access to the Receipt Manaement though, when will this feature be more widly available?
  • Posted Mon 05 Aug 2019 11:23 PM EDT