5 Standard eTapestry Features to Review Today

Category: Best Practices

Every organization that uses Blackbaud® eTapestry® wants to maximize every feature, but Blackbaud eTapestry is a robust system and some of its best features go unnoticed.  Whether you are a new or existing user, I recommend taking a look around eTapestry.  There are five standard eTapestry features that are commonly underutilized, and they are significant value-adds to your eTapestry database.

1. Home Screen Dashboard

The first page you see when you login to eTapestry is the Home Screen.  The Home Screen is a layout of dashboard tiles that display information on fundraising performance, navigation shortcuts, and help resources.  Each user’s dashboard is unique to that user’s eTapestry login, so you can setup your dashboard however you want.

The Home Screen dashboard is useful because it displays data and information without custom queries or reports.  Also, some of the Home Screen dashboard tiles display information that is difficult or time consuming to generate using custom queries and reports.

You can add new dashboard tiles to your Home Screen by selecting the “Select Tiles and Layout” link at the bottom of the page.

eTapestry Review Checklist:

  • Test different dashboard tiles.  Determine the tiles that are valuable to you.
  • Try different dashboard tile layouts and determine which layout is best for your needs.
  • Click within each dashboard tile to modify options and display report results (find out what they can do).
  • Test the Campaign Performance, Approach Performance, Goal Performance, and Top Donors dashboard tiles.

2. Account Dashboard

The account dashboard is like the Home Screen dashboard, but it is located on the home screen for each account.  The account dashboard displays data and information on the specific account you are viewing.

Access the account dashboard by searching for an account and selecting the “Home” tab within that account.  Like the Home Screen dashboard, the account dashboard is useful because it displays data and information without running custom queries or reports.  You can save time, energy, and stress by viewing actionable analytics on the dashboard as opposed to developing custom queries and reports from scratch.

Add new dashboard tiles to your account dashboard by selecting the “Select Tiles and Layout” link at the bottom of the account dashboard.  Like the Home Screen dashboard, the account dashboard is specific to your eTapestry login so you can customize it as you like.

eTapestry Review Checklist:

  • Complete the first three items from the Home Screen Dashboard “eTapestry Review Checklist,” but apply them to the account dashboard.
  • Test the Account Giving Summary, Account Five Year Summary, and Recent Journal Entries dashboard tiles.

3. Standard Queries

Queries are challenging to master and they can frustrate even the most advanced users (me included).  Custom eTapestry queries are very powerful and with the right combinations of criteria and query types, you can generate any segment of data you want from your eTapestry database.  However, there are a number of standard queries in eTapestry that can simplify your query building process.

Standard queries are flagged with an orange “e” icon in the query list.  These queries come with your eTapestry database out-of-the-box.  They cannot be edited or deleted.  These queries are useful because they capture common data sets and are already tested, proven, and validated by Blackbaud.

Queries are challenging enough as it is.  Make your query building projects easier by taking advantage of the pre-built standard queries in eTapestry.

eTapestry Review Checklist:

  • Review the standard queries in your query list.  Base, Journal Entry Date, Constituent Journal Entry Date, LYBUNT & SYBUNT, Pledges and Payments, and Processed Transactions are the primary categories for standard queries.
  • If you manage pledges in eTapestry, review the different pledges and payments queries to determine if they are useful to your reporting processes.
  • Review the LYBUNT and SYBUNT queries.  These are your donor retention and renewal queries.  They can be used to manage revenue sustainability and growth.
  • Review the Constituent Journal Entry Date queries.  This category contains queries for the past, present, and future timelines and can be used as starting criteria for most date-based queries or as the primary query for eTapestry Standard Reports.

4. Standard Reports

Like standard queries, standard reports are pre-built, tested, and proven report templates that come with eTapestry out-of-the-box.  eTapestry Standard Reports can be accessed by selecting Reports and then selecting eTapestry Standard Reports.

eTapestry Standard Reports are primarily used in situations when the data and metrics required for a report cannot be created using custom queries or reports, or it is time prohibitive to conduct the analysis in Excel.  The reports in the standard reports list contain custom formulas, displays, and visualizations of data.

eTapestry Review Checklist:

  • Click the icon next to each report to learn how the report works (e.g. what types of queries can be run with that report).
  • Do you run recurring gifts through your eTapestry payment processor?  Run the “Almost Expired Auto Process Credit/Debit Cards” report at least once per month to keep track of expiring credit cards.
  • Run a test of the Top Donor Report.  Lean how it operates and how it can be used for prospecting high value donors for future campaigns.  You can also generate an eTapestry custom account query from the Top Donor Report.
  • Run a pledge report with any of the Pledges and Payments queries from the standard queries list.  The pledge report is a base report for pledge data.
  • If you are managing pledges in eTapestry, run a Donor Cash Projection and Cash Projection report.  Determine how these might fit in your cash management processes.
  • Run a test Giving Dynamics Report.  Scroll to the bottom of the Giving Dynamics report and learn the definitions for each constituent segment profiled in the report.  This report is commonly used to compare fundraising performance over two consecutive years.

5. Communications Templates

In order to generate communications in eTapestry, you must select from a list of available communications templates.  The eTapestry system is pre-loaded with various templates for electronic and physical communications.  In addition, you can generate envelopes and mailing labels in eTapestry.

Any user that generates communications in eTapestry is aware of the list of templates, but there are some templates that go unnoticed.  For example, the pledge reminder letter template offers a pre-built “invoice” style reminder that can be merged with data from standard pledge queries.  Receipt templates are another example that offer pre-built merge fields for a functioning gift receipt.  These templates are available out-of-the-box and can reduce the time, energy, and stress of building letters from scratch.

eTapestry Review Checklist:

  • Review the available document templates including the Lapsed Donor, Letter with Gift List, Pledge Reminder, Receipt with Stub, Segmented Transaction, and eCommerce Confirmation templates.
  • Review the electronic communication templates in the newsletters category.  Specifically look at the Simplicity template, which can be customized for various email communications.  The Simplicity template is a minimalist email template for email campaigns.
  • If you print envelopes or mailing labels, review the envelope and mailing label templates in eTapestry.  The process of merging labels and envelopes in eTapestry is faster than generating them in Word (most of the time).

The goal of this post is to expose you to some of eTapestry’s standard features that commonly go unnoticed and underutilized.  Standard features are available in your eTapestry system and can save you time, energy, and stress.

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