Funds, Campaigns, and Approaches in Blackbaud eTapestry
Funds, campaigns, and approaches are the foundation of donation tracking and reporting in Blackbaud® eTapestry®. In my opinion, they also happen to be one of the most valuable features in your entire eTapestry database. Let’s explore what they are and why they are important.
The fund, campaign, and approach fields each have a specific purpose in your eTapestry database. The definitions for each field determine how you structure them in your eTapestry database.
Funds are used to flag transactions for specific purposes within your organization (i.e. unrestricted, restricted, endowment, program fund, etc.). Use this field to ensure that every transaction between a donor and your organization is used for the purpose the donor intended. This field is generally used to sync your fundraising efforts with your accounting and bookkeeping functions.
Campaigns are used to associate donations to large-scale efforts for a specific purpose (i.e. annual campaign, capital campaign, etc.). Campaigns have start and end dates, a specific strategy, and set of tactics. Campaigns may include multiple targeted solicitations, appeals, and fundraising efforts. Campaigns have an associated goal (total dollars) and a quantity (number of transactions) in eTapestry.
Approaches are used to associate transactions to their source. An approach is the method your organization employed to solicit the transaction from a constituent (i.e. special events, mailings, phone, email newsletter, unsolicited, etc.). An approach is the catalyst for a transaction between a donor and your organization. Approaches have an associated goal (total dollars) and a quantity (number of transactions) in eTapestry.
Why funds, campaigns, and approaches are important
1. Plan and forecast
Your organization can use these fields to segment fundraising forecasts into distinct and specific efforts and activities. These fields become the basis for fundraising planning, budgeting, and forecasting.
For example, during an annual campaign you will use a variety of appeals, solicitations, activities, and marketing efforts. Each of these efforts is an approach. Prior to the start of the annual campaign your organization might forecast each fundraising approach, which combine for the goal of the annual campaign. By segmenting the annual campaign into smaller segments, your organization can forecast fundraising results on both the macro and micro level.
2. Manage in real time
Appropriately defining the fund, campaign, and approach fields and their associated values allows your organization the ability to use standard eTapestry reports and dashboards. Specifically, you can use the standard eTapestry Fund Activity Summary, Campaign Activity Summary, and Approach Activity Summary reports as well as the Campaign and Approach Performance dashboard tiles (described later in this post).
These standard reports and dashboards require no effort to set up and are ready to go with eTapestry out-of-the-box. They can each be used to manage the performance of your funds, campaigns, and approaches in real time.
3. Analyze and improve
Funds, campaigns, and approaches will help your organization analyze fundraising performance versus your forecasts. You can analyze your fundraising efforts and determine which efforts were effective, which weren’t, and identify areas where you can improve.
How to add values to each field
Funds, campaigns, and approaches are designed in a hierarchy. Each transaction is associated with one fund, one campaign, and one approach.
- Each transaction will have a single fund allocation.
- Each fund may be “funded” using multiple campaigns.
- Each campaign may contain numerous approaches.
For example, the unrestricted fund may be “funded” by the annual campaign that may contain an email newsletter, a direct mail, and a set of personal solicitation approaches.
The hierarchy of funds, campaigns, and approaches is purposeful. It is intended to define which appeal brought the money in (approach), what large scale effort the donation is associated with (campaign), and where the money will be applied in your organization (fund).
How to enter data into each field
Depending on your organization’s fund, campaign, and approach structure and your reporting requirements, you can make campaign and approach required fields. Fund is a required field by default.
Making these fields required will improve the consistency of data in your database, but doing so can cause friction if no value can be associated with the transaction. You cannot save a transaction record unless all required fields are complete.
How to report on performance
Dashboard tiles are a core feature for managing fundraising performance in eTapestry. You can activate them at the top of your home screen by clicking on “Select Tiles and Layout.” The “Campaign Performance” and “Approach Performance” dashboard tiles show the goal, amount raised, received, or pledged, and the number of transactions.
Dashboard tiles can show any active (non-disabled) campaign or approach. You can further customize the data in the tile to query on a date range and the type of transactions collected (either raised, received, or pledged) as a part of the goal progress calculation.
These tiles include a thermometer to show campaign and approach progress toward your stated goal. To share your organization’s progress with stakeholders, use the Facebook Share and Twitter Tweet icons on the dashboard tile.
The Fund Activity Summary, Campaign Activity Summary, and Approach Activity Summary reports are standard reports in eTapestry. These reports are pre-built in the database and they can be found in the “eTapestry Standard Reports” section of the reports area.
These reports can show both active and disabled funds, campaigns, and approaches. In addition, you can use these reports with the standard query category of “Constituent Journal Entry Date” to pull these reports for a variety of date ranges.
Be intentional with the design of your funds, campaigns, and approaches
Funds, campaigns, and approaches are the foundation of eTapestry transaction data management. Take time to carefully think through how these fields will be structured in your eTapestry database. Planning out the values for the fund, campaign, and approach fields will help you get the most from standard reports and dashboards in eTapestry.
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