10 eTapestry Features for the Blackbaud Ideas Forum

Category: Best Practices

Blackbaud® eTapestry® is a solid donor management software system, but like any software, there are some areas where it could improve. Let’s explore ten eTapestry features that are at the top of our wish list at Sidekick Solutions.

Before we get started, a couple of notes:

  1. This list tries to be realistic. Some wish list features, like redesigning how queries and reports work, aren’t necessarily practical.
  2. This list includes some ideas that are already in eTapestry’s Idea Forum because we agree with suggestions made by eTapestry users.

Our number one goal with this post is to suggest features that would make eTapestry’s already strong feature set, even stronger!

  • 1. Multi-tab navigation

    Multi-tab navigation would save time for all eTapestry users.

    Multi-tab navigation would allow a user to view an account in one tab while entering a gift for that same account in another tab. The user could also view multiple accounts or even build multiple queries at the same time with multi-tab navigation.

    Multi-tab navigation is possible by holding CTRL (on a PC) or CMD (on a Mac) and clicking any navigational element in eTapestry. This action should open a new browser tab for the target location, but eTapestry currently navigates the user back to the home screen. Unfortunately, the current eTapestry setup doesn’t allow for multi-tab navigation.

  • 2. Apply a gift to an existing pledge

    This appears to be a non-starter in the Blackbaud eTapestry Ideas forum, but we want to bring it up anyways.

    It would be great if a user could apply a gift to an existing pledge after the gift is entered in the database. This would be particularly useful when donors make gifts online with the intent of applying that gift to an existing pledge. A user could then login to the system and manually apply the gift to an existing pledge.

    The current workarounds are to either delete the gift and enter the transaction as a pledge payment or leave the gift as is and write off part of the pledge.

  • 3. Email workflows

    DIY forms send automated acknowledgement letters after processing a gift. This is a fantastic feature! These emails are automated, hands-off, and provide a quick response to online donors.

    Most communications through eTapestry, other than automated acknowledgements from DIY forms, are manual. A user must manually trigger letters and emails to run through the communications feature.

    We would like to see automated email workflow technology in eTapestry.

    Email workflows would enroll accounts in a list and send a series of emails based on a timeline. A new donor welcome series is a great example. Any donor who shows up in a new donor query would receive automated emails over a period of time. Workflows would run automatically.

    There are some technical considerations for this setup, but the goal would be to automate internal processes and increase engagement with constituents.

  • 4. Multi-level compound queries

    Currently, a compound query combines two queries. It would be great if compound queries could combine more than two queries, especially when queries become ultra-complex.

    If this feature were implemented, a user could string multiple queries together as criteria in a logic statement.

  • 5. Send email to journal

    It would be great if there were a simple way to log one-on-one emails in eTapestry from any email client or email software.

    Some business CRM (customer relationship management) platforms use a BCC email address to route emails as records into the CRM. A user simply adds the BCC email address, which is specific to their database, to any email. The email is sent to the normal recipients and a copy is sent to the database.

    This feature could even match the email address in the TO line to an account in the database. If the account matches, the email would be added to the journal. If the account doesn’t match, it would remain in a queue until a user manually associates it to an account.

  • 6. Custom styling for DIY forms

    The embed eTapestry DIY forms have come a long way since the old templates, but there are limitations to DIY form styling. The eTapestry API is available for custom web form integrations, but the API is out of reach for many organizations. We would like to see a solution in the middle.

    Custom styling would allow a user to modify the custom CSS and Javascript (or whatever language runs the DIY forms) of a DIY form to match both the function and the look and feel of an organization’s website. Blackbaud would still host the form through the eTapestry system, but a user could modify the code to customize the form’s styling.

  • 7. Mass delete records

    We wish front-end users had the ability to control every facet of their database. This includes the creation, modification, and deletion of records in the database. Users can create and modify records in batch using the import and mass update features respectively, but they cannot mass delete records.

    Blackbaud eTapestry is priced based on the number of accounts in the database, but a user cannot delete accounts in bulk (Blackbaud can delete records for a fee). Since accounts are constantly added, users are somewhat trapped into purchasing larger and larger eTapestry packages over time. This is true even if large segments of the database are no longer active or valuable. It would be better if users could archive and delete records from the database on-demand.

  • 8. Multiple dashboards of same type

    The Goal Performance, Campaign Performance, and Approach Performance are highly valuable dashboard tiles in eTapestry. But a user can only add one Goal Performance, one Campaign Performance, and one Approach Performance tile to the dashboard. The dashboards must be reset to see other goals, campaigns, and approaches.

    It would be great if a user could add multiple Goal, Campaign, or Approach Performance tiles to the dashboard. A user could then compare goals, campaigns, or approaches side by side without resetting the tiles.

  • 9. Fund performance dashboard tile

    We would like to see a Fund Performance dashboard tile exactly like the Campaign and Approach Performance dashboard tiles that currently exist in eTapestry.

    This tile would allow a user to track fund performance to a specific goal.

    Most organizations measure fundraising performance based on their funds, so benchmarking fund performance in a dashboard would be a valuable feature (as an alternative to running the Fund Activity Summary standard report).

  • 10. Import undo

    Currently, if you make a mistake during an import, you must manually cleanup any records that were incorrectly imported. Manually cleaning up records takes time and can be tedious when importing large import files.

    Since imports cannot be undone, it is important to complete multiple checks before every import process. Each check should validate an import’s accuracy so there is no need to undo the import.  But completing import checks can be redundant and they take time as well.

    We would love to see an import undo feature. This feature would allow an administrator user to undo a recent import, effectively restoring the database to a point before the import.  All records that were affected during the import would be undone. This feature would be a fallback in case an error is made during the import process.

Turn ideas into real features!

Ready to make these features a reality? Start voting these up and let’s see if we can make some of them a reality! Contribute new feature requests or vote for existing feature requests in the Blackbaud eTapestry Ideas forum.

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