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3 Tips for Exporting Data to Spreadsheets

Why Export Data to Other Programs??

You know, from my point of view, "why" is a question I don't always feel inclined (or capable) to answer.  Sometimes the best answer to "why" is simply "because".  Why export?  Because I want to export.  It's a valid reason, and so it behooves us at FundRaiser to make it as easy as possible to perform the task, even though it's a relatively little-used task when compared to most features of the program.  We don't need to know "why" you want to export, but YOU need to know HOW to export, and here are some tips to get the job accomplished in the best possible way for your purposes.

1.  Export or Print to File??  Choosing the right method.

Under the File menu, the "Export" option enables you to send data to various file formats that can be easily read by other programs.  The ASCII/dBase option gives you several choices, but the most common for spreadsheets is the CSV (Comma-Separated-Values) file format.  Exporting, however, has some limitations, in that you can only export fields that are available in the "Field Selection" list.  You may have noticed that only "statistical" gift data can be exported, rather than individual gift information.  So, when you need to export that type of information, the best bet is to use the "Print to Excel" option found in almost all reports (like the donation/deposit reports).  While this option will not be as "clean" as exporting to a CSV and then opening the resulting file in a spreadsheet, it WILL allow you to bring those multiple gifts into play.  So, the first step to exporting is to decide the level of detail you need, and either choose to Export (less detail) or Print to Excel, using a report (more detail, but more cleanup needed in the resulting Excel/spreadsheet file).

2.  To Group or Not to Group??  Depends on the export method

It is rare that a particular process will include your entire database, with the possible exception of Duplicate Checking, so you need to be aware of the name selection capabilities of the two export processes.  With the "File / Export" method, there is no "Advanced" section nor even a "Who" page, with which to limit the scope of your exported name records.  Instead, you can either choose the "Entire Master File", or a Grouping that you have in place.  With that in mind, you'll nearly always need to create a Grouping when doing a File/Export operation to exclude, for instance, Deceased, Anonymous, or Inactive name records, or to limit the export to a particular segment of your database.  With Reports being printed to an Excel file format, you'll have the normal "Who" page to select those Exclusions, as well as the "Advanced" section for any further limitations.  Keep in mind, however, that you may want to create a Grouping first anyway, since the Grouping can be used with either a report or a file/export process.  This will allow you to compare results, knowing that you have the same name records selected in either case.

3.  What is the desired result??  Can FundRaiser provide it?

Even though I opened this blog by saying we, at FundRaiser, don't need to know "why" you want to export, it might be a good idea for YOU to have a firm idea of why you believe you need to export.  It may be that the end result is something you can get entirely through FundRaiser, but just aren't certain how to get it.  Or maybe it's something your organization has been doing in a set manner forever, and no one has explored how to do it within FundRaiser.  Remember that we are here to help you learn the program to your benefit, and sometimes a phone call or email describing what you are trying to accomplish can give you answers that you hadn't thought possible.  Many of you may be in "one-user" situations, where no one else at your organization uses FundRaiser, and you just need another person to bounce ideas around, to see what might work.  That's when you want to call, or write, to either Tech Support or to Training, and we'll try our best to put you on a path to accomplish what you need.  Remember, too, that there are many good tips and tidbits in the Customer Portal section of the website, including the training videos, of coures, but also documentation on various aspects of the program.

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