This is the Blackbaud Community Best Practices blog.

How Would You Categorize Your Appeals?

Chances are, your appeals fall into one of just a few buckets. For my organization, those buckets include: Direct Mail, General Giving, Honor/Memorial, and one for each of our three big events.

You probably don't have to think too hard about what buckets exist at your organization - this stuff is second nature. But a lot of DBAs I've talked to in the Raiser's Edge world have never even considered codifying this information direct on the appeal. You can do this by creating specific appeal categories and making the appeal category field required.

But what's the benefit of this? If your org is like mine, then it sends out a lot of direct mail appeals. And donors may return appeals that are way, way out of date on a regular basis. So what do you do when someone asks you "how much did direct mail bring in last quarter?" If all of your direct mail appeals have the same category, then answering this question is as simple as having a standing gift query that just look for all gifts whose appeal category equals "direct mail" and piping that query into any one of the financial reports you like to use (my favorite is the Appeal Performance Analysis).

Of course, some of you may have a completely different gift structure. Maybe all of your direct mail appeals get put in the same campaign, or maybe they all receive a specific fund. If that's the case, then maybe you can find another creative use for this tool. Either way, I think everyone should take a look at their categories and figure out how to best utilize this easy grouping feature in Raiser's Edge. 

(Community Manager's note: This is a blog entry into our Summer School contest. It has not been vetted through the Raiser's Edge team for accuracy.)
Posted by Ryan Hyde on Jul 24, 2017 10:36 AM America/New_York

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We approach appeals as our Major Asks. We have 4 benefits each year, each in a differnet geographical region. They each have their own appeal. We send 6 direct mailings each year... they each have their own appeal.

We have recently begun using Packages within appeals to segment donations based on a number of different factors (income streams at our Benefit Events, and Mailing Segments for Direct Mail).
  • Posted Tue 17 Apr 2018 04:18 PM EDT
Good information here - we're in the midst of a migration - thanks again!
  • Posted Wed 30 May 2018 12:35 PM EDT
We just started getting into appeals, and it's been wonderful for reporting/comparing.
  • Posted Mon 04 Jun 2018 04:11 PM EDT
Appeal performance has been a bigger question now that we are utilizing RE NXT, as it is so much easier to view the specific appeal. In the past, gifts have been attached to the most recent appeal if it isn't specifically obvious where it is coming from. For direct mail appeals, we do include a code on the mailing itself so that we can see exactly which appeal it came from. That said, we only have 4 large mailed appeals per year, and a few e-blast appeals (such as around Giving Tuesday). The codes are helpful for additional places where an appeal may be added, such as a members magazine, where it is a passive ask and the envelope is included in the back for example.
  • Posted Mon 18 Jun 2018 02:38 PM EDT
Good idea. Thank you.
  • Posted Tue 24 Jul 2018 02:25 PM EDT