Funds, Campaigns, and Approaches in Blackbaud eTapestry

Category: System Design

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.


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Definitions

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

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 your organization and a donor is used for purpose that the donor intended. This field is generally used to sync your fundraising efforts with your accounting and bookkeeping functions.

Campaigns

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

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 your organization and a donor. 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

    If the fields and their associated values are appropriately defined, then your organization can use them 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

    If the fund, campaign, and approach fields and their associated values are appropriately defined, then your organization can 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

    If these fields and their associated values are appropriately defined, then your organization can analyze fundraising performance versus your forecasts. You can analyze your fundraising efforts and determine which efforts were effective, which ones 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 is “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 it can cause friction if no value can be associated with the transaction (because you cannot save a transaction record unless all required fields are complete).

How to report on performance

Dashboard reports

The “Campaign Performance” and “Approach Performance” dashboard tiles show the goal, amount raised, received, or pledged, the number of transactions (i.e. quantity), and a percentage of progress. There is a thermometer as a visual to show campaign and approach progress toward your stated goal. These tiles can be shared on Facebook or Twitter using the Facebook Share and Twitter Tweet icons on the dashboard tile.

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.

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.”

Standard reports

The Fund Activity Summary, Campaign Activity Summary, and Approach Activity Summary reports are standard reports in eTapestry. They are pre-built in the database. 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. Properly formatting these fields with values that are best practice for eTapestry will elevate your fundraising data management practices to the next level.

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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