Follow-Up: “Navigating Changes To Your Mail Processes” Webinar 8150

Follow-Up: “Navigating Changes To Your Mail Processes” Webinar

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During the "Navigating Changes to Your Mail Processes" webinar, we noticed a lot of themes emerge in the Q&A - enough that we needed a whole blog post. Read on!

Thanks to everyone who joined us for last week's sessions with Taylor, “Navigating Changes to Your Mail Processes” for Blackbaud Raiser's Edge NXT®. Yes, all 6000+ of you over two days, we appreciated that you took an hour out of your day for our webinar and we mean it when we say we appreciated all your questions. We noticed some themes emerging in the chat, and I wanted to take this opportunity to elevate those themes here so they could get more eyeballs. We hope that, as always, our community can step in to be collaborative.

First, some resources – Taylor’s slides are attached to this post, so you can download them and access all the embedded links within. And yes, if you want to watch the webinar again, or for the first time, you can do so HERE. You can also see the landing page with the official FAQs here: Resources for Microsoft Office Integration Updates in Blackbaud Hosting Services. And, for those who want to watch a re-run, you're in luck: We are re-running this session with our trusty live chat monitors on Wednesdays in February, so bookmark the Customer Success page to register for those if you'd like the opportunity to take in the content in this way.

In this blog post I want to cover some specific questions/themes that came up in the Q&A of the sessions that were not in the agenda covered by Taylor:

"How do I prevent my donors from getting multiple acknowledgement letters if they meet multiple criteria, using the conditional merge option?"

We recommend that you consider the order that you run the acknowledgements in before you just run them – think about the order of importance, and run the most important set first, mark them Acknowledged, and then run your next set. If you continue to use the Mail module, you know it won’t pull letters that are already marked Acknowledged. Be thoughtful about this and go in order.

"Will Send to Word Merge Wizard still work after February 28th?"

Definitively no. This is one of the functionalities that will no longer work after February 28th.

"What about the envelopes, membership cards, or other things I do in the Mail module that generate PDF documents and not Word documents?"

All of those things will continue to work. As a rule of thumb, if you generate your documents by clicking Merge, this process will no longer work. If you generate your documents by clicking Export, Preview, or Print, they will still work. That means that your envelopes, membership cards, and anything else you generate in this way will remain unchanged.

"What about the other features of Mail like household processing, and segmentation?"

These will still work, no change.

"What about my letters in Actions?"

For information on how to accomplish this after February 28th, see the “write a letter” button/menu item from a record section in this Knowledgebase Article. For information on existing letters that are saved to actions and gifts, see the “Word files saved on actions,” and “Save this document as an action while Writing a Letter from a record" section of the same article. Existing saved documents will be temporarily inaccessible after February 28th, but we are working on functionality to make these documents accessible.

"When I ran conditional merged letters in Raiser’s Edge, I often ran into formatting issues where my fonts got messed up, things didn’t come out looking right. Will this change mean the end of this mess, and all my letters will come out perfectly formatted now that we’re leaving the Raiser’s Edge for letters?"

I wish I had a better answer, but the formatting challenges are an aspect of Microsoft Word, not of Raiser’s Edge. We’ve definitely had our fair share of feedback on this issue over the years, where you set up a conditional merge with some bolding or a different font and it just doesn’t carry through to your finished merged letters. We used to have a Knowledgebase solution on it, which is now moot because of the new Mail processes, but even with the help we could provide, the process was very finicky! Lots of folks have come up with workarounds over the years. We’d love to hear some of the ways you have successfully navigated this issue at your organization, and in the meantime, Microsoft’s own user forums are full of entries that seek to illuminate and solve this dilemma, which I definitely encourage you to check out.

"I have a Mac, will this work on my Mac?"

We have extensively tested our solutions today on MS Word which we know works in multiple operating systems including Mac OS. The visuals might look a little different but functionality is the same. The tip that Taylor shared about being able to use your template immediately doesn’t apply to Macs, though. You will have to reinsert your fields if you’re using MS Word for Mac.

"What about all my Word docs in Media?"

Yes, I know, we didn’t cover that in Taylor’s webinar. We were focused on Mail. But if you came here looking for an answer about Media, here’s what you need to know: (1) We really recommend using the Web View to open all your Media, as Attachments, with some caveats. (2) The tool for extracting those Media files from the database view is in development, if viewing and downloading them from the web view isn’t an option for you. Bookmark that link to check for updates. UPDATE February 2022: The tool is live, please see this KnowledgeBase solution for instructions!

"Can I still export to Excel from Raiser's Edge?"

Yes, absolutely, no change. UPDATE for clarity: Yes, you can still export with any of your file formats, including .csv, .xls, and .xlsx!

"Where can I get Taylor’s nice looking Giving Statement letter template, that she showed in the presentation?"

Taylor made it up! If you made an amazing template and want to share it, we really encourage you to upload one here in the in the RENXT Community for everyone to enjoy. You can share your template(s) by responding to this blog post and attaching a file. Everyone loves a good template!

"We can’t figure out what’s free and what’s not, when it comes to the options we’re being presented. Can you please lay it out for me?"

The recommendations Taylor presented in her webinar do not come at any additional cost to you as long as you already have MS Word installed on your local machine. If you don’t, and you’re a 501(c)3, you can probably get it for free. Licensing for Microsoft Power Automate is handled directly between your organization and Microsoft. For solutions from partners like RedArc, DonorTek, and Prenger Solutions, you’ll want to contact them directly.

"Can I get closed captions for this webinar?"

Yes, when you view the webinar on-demand on your own time, or in February at one of the times staffed by our Q&A team, you can click on "cc" button on the media player to turn on captions.

Thanks to everyone for your questions, and we'll be back to follow up on this blog post with more as we continue identifying themes to address.
News Blackbaud Raiser's Edge NXT® Blog 01/24/2022 12:00pm EST

Leave a Comment


I need to access the information in a purely visual way. Where are the instructions for everything Taylor presented?

I think it would be very helpful to your users if you highlighted that the content of Action letters can be exported through Export and then re-imported back into the Action as a Note. The KB article linked above advises that, “If it is critical that an organization have access to these documents after February 28th, we recommend downloading the files before then using the in-product functionality.” However, this implies that users must open each action and download them one at a time, copy and then paste them manually into Notes. How horrifying if you have thousands of records!

We've been getting a bunch of feedback (thanks everyone!) that in addition to Taylor's amazing webinar on Mail, folks were hoping for an demonstration of the end-to-end process for Receipting (not Acknowledgement). Happy to provide that here as supplemental assistance.

Thank you, all, for continuing to update us on things. Having these links centralized is a great help. I know with your continued communication and our great Community we will all get through this!

Thank you for putting together this article with some Q&A information. Can anyone tell me if I need to find all Word documents attached in NXT to convert to a pdf, or will the Word document be allowed to download and open up on our local computers?

During a recent “what now” session, a question about Word documents stored as media came up and I don't believe it was answered. Will Word documents stored as media be available in web view? I am assuming the answer is YES because if you click on a Word document from NXT, the document is downloaded to your computer. This might be an entirely different security risk depending on the sensitivity of the document.

This is great, but I think it would be helpful to specify that one can export to Excel using .xls and .xlsx format in addition to .csv as there has been a lot of confusion around this! Could you update this post and/or other documentation so that it is clear to all? Thanks so much!

Will do! Thanks for this call-in, I will update what I can and pass along the feedback for other documentation.

I completely agree and asked this in the Q&A. I see this question coming up A LOT, even more so than some of the things asked here.