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A Quick Playlist For Preparing Multi-Year Advancement Charts

Hi! I’m Tasha. I work as an assistant to the executive director at Baptist News Global, an online news organization. Although I am new to eTapestry, I have benefitted greatly from all of the support resources. This blog post is my attempt to share how much fun it can be to make the most out of eTapestry.

These song titles sum up my three tips as you prepare giving histories for your organization. Hopefully these three tips will save you some time or at least let you know that you are on the right track in your own preparation.  

Recently, our executive director asked me to prepare five year histories for all of our funding streams. Originally, I attacked this project with my normal improvisational approach. Typically, I noodle around in eTap and then look for help in the Knowledgebase, ask poorly worded questions on chat support and check to see what you all have learned in Community. After lots of lessons learned from mistakes and lots of help, I get into a groove. Hopefully these three tips will save you some time or at least let you know that you are on the right track in your own preparation.  


Of course, standard reports are also helpful ways to find trends as well. But for those of you, who like me, are beginners, getting into a good rhythm with queries is essential. So these song titles sum up my three tips as you prepare giving histories for your organization.


Track #1-“All About That Bass” by Meghan Trainor


Start with the query fields-what exactly do you want to list?


That’s right. It’s all about that query Base. My Starting Query typically is the Base query category. The starting point can absolutely be some other query category I’ve created; but, usually, the starting base query is my starting point. After naming my query and sometimes adding a description, like a bass line, my starting query category sets the pace for the rest of my query.


Then I layer additional fields, like other instruments: Fund, Name Format, Individual Transaction Received, and anything else I want to include on my list of results. Campaign is always helpful for tracking particular campaigns. Mailing Status is one I use right around campaign time to omit any of our deceased, do not solicit, or bad address donors. Constituent codes is another helpful field when it comes to listing particular donors or organizations.  


Track #2-“Let’s Stay Together” by Al Green


Make query copies and change the date-when are your date sets and ranges?


So now that I have my basic query all set. I have to keep it together by using my starting point query like a template and change my date ranges. This tip came from the amazing Cynthia Lipkovitch on eTap chat support. I’m pretty much a regular on eTap chat y’all. Thank you chat support!!! :)


I was finding that every time I would triple check my data, I would discover some figures that were slightly different. That was really frustrating. In order to ensure that my results and parameters were constant, I needed to make sure that my starter query was exactly what I needed it to be. Then I could just change the date range and copy, copy, copy. I kept it all together by using consistent query names, like monthly history, quarterly history, annual history, etc.


Track #3 “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours” by Stevie Wonder


Export, sort and chart-how do you want to illustrate your trends?


One of my favorites parts of the new release of eTapestry is being able to export query data. Instead of running a report, I go ahead and export my query results by clicking on the “Export Results” button all the way on the left side of my screen. I don’t have Microsoft Excel, but thankfully I can convert .xlsx spreadsheets into Google Sheets and take it from there. Then once I have my data in a Sheet, I freeze rows, sort columns and get to charting.


I have found exporting results particularly helpful when I’m trying to triple check my work, ascertain average gift amounts, sort gift totals by amount, and calculate the sum of gifts within particular levels. I name my charts, add a header and page numbers, and off it goes to my ED, board, or sometimes saved for my future reference. It’s always nice to be prepared to respond to questions even if it is not included in a report to others.  


I hope this was helpful. What would you add to the soundtrack for your query work? What have I missed?

Grateful to be a part of the Community with you!
Posted by Tasha Gibson on Sep 6, 2016 1:22 PM America/New_York

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I love this, Tasha! Great work!
  • Posted Thu 15 Sep 2016 09:22 AM EDT
Excellent and engaging. 
  • Posted Mon 24 Jul 2017 01:14 PM EDT