Segment Constituents by Account Type in Blackbaud eTapestry

Category: Custom Fields

The defined fields page of a constituent account in eTapestry® by Blackbaud® contains custom information used to identify and segment constituents. The defined fields page on a constituent account is the place where you can add fields to segment your constituents based on preferences, likes, dislikes, characteristics, and demographics.

The “Account Type” field is located on the defined fields page in eTapestry. Because it is on the defined fields page, it can be easy to forget. However, it is an extremely useful field. This post will explore why this field is useful, how to use it, and show you how to run a basic giving report grouped by account type.

The “Account Type” Field

What is it?

The account type field identifies the entity classification for a constituent account. “Out-of-the-box” eTapestry comes with five account type field values: individual, business, foundation, organization, and religious. Account type is located on the defined fields page of a constituent account under the “Base” category.

Note: If you don’t have this field in your database, check to see if it has been disabled. If it isn’t disabled, then it may be missing from your database. You can add this field to your database by adding a new user-defined field (UDF). Name the field “Account Type” and then add field values for different entity types. This post will offer a number of field values to get you started.

Why use it?

The “Account Type” field is the only way to differentiate accounts by entity type in eTapestry. There is no difference between individual and non-individual accounts in eTapestry. Every constituent account is the same. As a result, the “Account Type” field is the only way to know the difference between individual and non-individual accounts in eTapestry, and the difference between classes of non-individual accounts.

Here is a list of reasons you should consider using this field as a best practice…

  • You can segment constituents by account type for different types of solicitations, appeals, approaches, and fundraising efforts.
  • You can run giving reports based on “Account Type” to see total giving by entity type. This type of report is helpful for both strategic planning, forecasting, and performance management.
  • You can use “Account Type” as query criteria for a variety of time-based, constituent segmentation-based, and transaction-based queries, which in turn can populate a variety of standard and custom reports.

How to use it?

The “Account Type” field is very easy to use. It is a single-select field. This means you can only select one value from a list of options. When entering data for a constituent, make sure this field is complete and accurate. You may also consider running data quality reports on a consistent basis to make sure all accounts are flagged with the appropriate field values.

The “Account Type” field has standard field values of individual, business, foundation, organization, and religious. These are fairly self-explanatory. An individual is an individual. A business could be any form of business including corporations, limited liability companies, partnerships, sole proprietorships, or any other business entity type. Organizations are non-business constituents like other nonprofits. Religious accounts have a religious purpose or mission.

Account types are broad categories that identify the general classification of an account. However, there may be instances where you want to be more specific. The specificity of the values in this field should be based on your organization’s reporting and data tracking needs. In addition, it is important to maintain consistency. If your data entry is consistent, your reports will also be consistent. If you want to be more specific, additional values you may consider could include government, hospital, and school.

Giving by “Account Type” Report

The “Account Type” field classifies constituents in your database. However, this field is only relevant if you are are segmenting, exporting, and analyzing data groups related to this field.

I think this field is most valuable as a strategic planning and performance measurement tool. We can leverage this field by doing three things.

  1. Create a fundraising strategic plan that sets goals for total giving by “Account Type.”
  2. Run monthly giving reports by “Account Type” to see total contributions by the different entity classes.
  3. Track monthly giving by “Account Type” and total giving by fiscal or calendar year to date by “Account Type.” Then measure actual performance against your goals.

In order to accomplish the three things listed above, we need to create a query and a report to export this data. Since “Account Type” is a UDF, we must create a custom query and report. There are a variety of reports and queries we can build for this scenario, but the most practical is a transactions by date range query and a report with transactions as line items grouped by “Account Type.” Follow these steps to complete this query and report building project.

Building your query

Step one is to build the query. The query described here is flexible and can be used for any date range.

  • Select “Queries.”
  • Select the category where you want to put the query.
  • Select “New Query.”
  • Name and describe your query.
  • Add “Starting Criteria” of “Constituent Journal Entry Date – _____.” The blank indicates any date range query you want to use. In this case let’s use “Constituent Journal Entry Date – This Year.”
  • Set “Date Return Type” to “Journal Entries” because we want to return information about the transactions themselves.
  • Set “Match” to “All of My Criteria.”
  • Add the criteria “Individual Transaction Received Greater Than $0.01.” For this query let’s find received contributions only.

In total, this query returns journal entry data for all gifts received greater than a penny this year.

Building your report

Step two is to build the report. The report described here has two formats. We are going to build the report to show all transactions by line item. Then we will modify the report by collapsing “Account Type” and show only totals by “Account Type.”

  • Select “Reports”
  • Select the category where you want to put the report.
  • Select “New Report.”
  • Name and describe your report.
  • Select the columns you want to see in your report. Account Type and Received are required for the output we want, but you may also consider adding Name, Transaction Type, Date, Fund, Campaign, Approach.
  • Select “Group Report By” and “Account Type.”
  • Select “Show Group Totals.”
  • Select “Save and Run.”
  • Select your query.
  • “Display the Results on Screen” and click “Submit.”

This report will show all results in your query grouped by “Account Type” with totals shown for each “Account Type” group. However, let’s say we don’t want to see all the data beneath each “Account Type” group. Let’s say we just want to see the total by “Account Type.”

  • Go back to the report you built.
  • Select “Group Report By” and “Account Type.”
  • Select “Collapse Groups.” This will show each “Account Type” as a single line with the total “Received” for each “Account Type.”
  • Remove all of the column fields except for “Account Type” and “Received.”
  • Select “Save and Run.”
  • Select your query.
  • “Display the Results on Screen” and click “Submit.”

This report shows total received amounts for each “Account Type” based on your query results. This is a perfect report to compare actual results to your goals and strategic forecasts by “Account Type.”

Make “Account Type” Required

Because “Account Type” is important to fundraising strategic planning, performance measurement, and performance management, I recommend making this field required. Making the field required forces your users to select a value for “Account Type” when creating a new constituent account or modifying an existing constituent account. This guarantees that every constituent account in your database will be flagged with this field value. However, if you make this field required, train your users on how to enter this value and where to find it. Because the field is located in the defined fields area, it can be difficult to find. As a result, users can become frustrated if they don’t understand why eTapestry won’t let them save the record when it seems like all fields are complete (except for “Account Type”).

Follow these steps to make “Account Type” required in your database…

  • Select the “Management” drop-down.
  • Select “User Defined Fields”
  • Select “Base” and select “Account Type.”
  • Select “Field Attributes” (#3) and then check the box labeled “Would you like this field to be required?”
  • Select “Save and Finish.”
  • Go to a constituent account in your database and verify that account type has a red dot next to it (this indicates the field is required).

The account type field is important for strategic planning, forecasting, performance measurement, and performance management. It is also important for constituent segmentation in eTapestry. Completing this field for every record, making it a required field, and running consistent reports based on this field can help you “get the most” out of your eTapestry database.

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