FundRaiser Blog

The FundRaiser Software Blog is an excellent resource for nonprofit organizations looking to learn more about fundraising, donor management, membership management, and much more.

Tracking the Elusive Donor/Prospect

In a recent blog by Tony Poderis, it is suggested that a myriad of things *should* be tracked in order to cultivate donors and prospects more easily and fully.  It's further suggested that, in order to be truly successful, an organization will build strong relationships with their top 20% of donors, getting them fully involved in the organization's mission.  All of this tracking and relationship-building requires a lot of detailed information about people, and storing it in a manner that can be readily accessed may appear daunting.  Let me "undaunt" that appearance with FundRaiser.

Category Codes are the most flexible way to record non-giving aspects of peoples' lives, as I've said numerous times in my blogs over the years, yet some users are still reluctant to utilize them as fully as possible.  Maybe they feel the list of codes gets a bit unwieldy, too long, to specific, etc.  Or perhaps they don't see the immediate need of tracking so many aspects of a person's life.  Hopefully, Tony's blog will give you a better grasp of why this is so necessary.  And I've got a couple of suggestions that will make it easier to use a multiplicity of Category Codes.  

First, restrict creation of codes to just one or two people in your organization.  It will be good for them to discuss what needs to be tracked with others, of course, but it should fall to those one or two people to create the codes.  Second, when new codes are created, make sure everyone responsible for entering data about donor interactions are aware of the codes.  This can be done easily by printing out the Category Codes using the Code Listing Report found in the Print menu.  You can restrict that to *active* Category Codes, too.  This report is a good place to make notations on any particular code explaining how, and wheh, and why it is to be used.

Finally, those who create the codes need to occasionally go over the list to see if they have any duplication of codes; two codes that mean the same thing, in other words.  When that occurs, simply Merge the code you DON'T want to keep into the code the you DO want to keep.  This is done in the Codes Maintenance window (Windows | Codes), and only takes a minute.

IMPORTANT:  There is NO practical limit to the number of different codes you can create.  You will not live long enough to exhaust the number of possibilities in FundRaiser, so be free with your use of codes.  The actual limit is somewhere around 2.5 billion (2,500,000,000) category codes, and, according to Dr. Jarvis, of heart-specialist fame, the average heart doesn't beat that many times in a lifetime, so code, code, code, and code again.

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