Analytics in Raiser’s Edge NXT: The Best Reporting Tool 7161

Analytics in Raiser’s Edge NXT: The Best Reporting Tool

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You've got your Affluence Insight and/or ProspectPoint predictive modeling scores (e.g.: AGL, MGL, PGL, TGR) in Raiser's Edge, now it's time to report on these analytics! Learn tips and tricks from a Target Analytics consultant on how to determine the best tool--Lists, Query, and/or Export--to meet your reporting needs.

Do you ever feel like you are spending too much time trying to effectively report on Ratings in Raiser’s Edge NXT? If you answered “Yes!” or you are new to grouping and reporting on analytics, then keep reading because this post is for you! 

As an Analytics Consultant with Blackbaud’s Target Analytics team, I have the opportunity to chat with many organizations about how to group records by and report on the Raiser’s Edge NXT Analytics and custom modeling scores. I often get asked, “What the best tool is to report on analytics?” The short answer is that it depends on the configuration of your Ratings and your goal or purpose. 

I would like to share the best tips and tricks to help you act on your analytics using the List, Query, and Export tools.

Step 1: Know Your Analytics
First, review the ratings available in the Ratings tile or tab in Raiser’s Edge NXT. Reach out to your database administrator if you are still unsure which analytics your organization purchased.

You may have access to:  If you are not familiar with these analytics, I would recommend the Blackbaud University eLearning trainings referenced at the end of the article.

Step 2: Understand Your Ratings Configuration
Next, you will need to understand how your Ratings are configured. Some of the challenges in grouping and reporting on the analytics relate to how the fields are configured in your Raiser’s Edge NXT database, which will vary by organization. 

Make sure you or your database administrator check the Ratings table in Configuration > Tables to confirm if your Ratings are text, number, and/or currency fields. This may play a role when deciding which tool is best for your particular goal. 
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I commonly see challenges in grouping and reporting on analytics arise when Ratings are setup as text data type fields, thereby limiting the available operators for the filters in Lists. This will be the case if you use the ResearchPoint integration to sync model scores to Raiser’s Edge because the Ratings will be automatically configured as text fields. If you do not have the operator you need for the List, remember you can always use Query to group your records. We will talk more about these options next.

Step 3: Determine Your Goal and the Best Tool(s) to Use
You always need to know your “end game” before you start building a List, Query, or Export. Ask yourself the following questions:
  • What are you trying to accomplish? What is your goal? 
  • How will the information be used? Is this for an email, direct mailing, prospect identification or qualification, prospect analysis, portfolio review, etc.? 
  • What information and data (i.e. which columns) do you need to view?
  • Who needs to view this data and how do they need to view it?
The answers to these questions will help you determine which Raiser’s Edge NXT tool(s) will best meet your needs. Every tool has its benefits and challenges. You will need to choose between:
  • Lists: best for basic list-building and analysis
  • Query + Lists: best for more complex list-building and analysis by starting with static query to group records with complex Ratings criteria then create a new List based on the query
  • Query: best for complex criteria and more column options to display
  • Query + Export: best for advanced data analysis and extraction with one-to-many fields
Tool(s) Benefits Challenges
Lists
  • User-friendly and visually appealing results
  • Ratings appear in unique columns
  • Download as a spreadsheet
  • Limited columns to display 
  • Limited filters, especially when Ratings are configured as text data type fields
  • Possible spreadsheet cleanup in Ratings columns
Query + Lists
  • Include complex criteria with user-friendly and visually appealing results
  • Ratings appear in unique columns
  • Download as a spreadsheet
  • Limited columns to display 
  • Possible spreadsheet cleanup 
Query
  • Robust criteria
  • Ratings appear in unique columns without cleanup
  • Download as a spreadsheet 
  • Columns limited to one-to-one fields
  • Not as visually appealing results as Lists
Query + Export
  • Robust criteria
  • Include one-to-many fields in output
  • Download as a spreadsheet    
  • Less control over Ratings columns than Lists and Query
  • Significant spreadsheet cleanup needed for Ratings to display in unique columns

If you don’t know where to start, I would recommend beginning in Raiser’s Edge NXT Lists. If the filters and column options meet your needs, then you are all set! If they do not, remember you can use a Query to start a new List or just use the Query and/or Export tool(s). 

To help you visualize the results of each of these options, here are some examples of how Ratings data displays in Lists, Query, and Export.
Example of Lists: 
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Note: Notice how the Ratings appear in unique columns, but it includes the Ratings Description (or score) as well as the Ratings Date and Category in parentheses. You may need some additional cleanup in Excel depending on your purpose.

Example of Query:
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Note: Notice how the Ratings appear in unique columns without any additional cleanup in Excel.

Example of Export:
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Note: Notice how the columns need additional cleanup in Excel to have separate columns for each of the different Ratings. 

Step 4: Take Action
Create your Lists, Queries, and/or Exports to meet your goals!  Check back for additional blog posts in this series on how to use these tools to group and report on your analytics results.


As you can see, the answer to the question about the best tool to use to group or report on Ratings can be a complex one. Now that you understand the benefits and challenges inherit with each of these tools, you have the knowledge to make your own decisions on the best tool for your grouping and reporting needs! 

Check out my 2020 bbcon session “Where’s the Data?: Implementing Analytics in Blackbaud Raiser’s Edge NXT” for more on comparing and contrasting Lists, Query, and Export with Ratings at 1:45 pm ET on October 6, 2020. I hope to see you there!

Please share your examples of when you use each of these tools for grouping and reporting on Ratings in Raiser’s Edge NXT in the comments below! 

Additional Resources:
Want to learn more? Check out the following resources:

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