Setting Up Campaigns, Appeals, and Funds in Raiser’s Edge

Every nonprofit organization needs a stellar CRM or constituent relationship management software for their fundraising strategy. A good CRM will help with donor management, donor retention, tracking critical data, and running custom reports as part of a strong fundraising plan.

CRMs, also called donor databases, can help with setting up constituent profiles and with email marketing. A robust database will help build relationships with donors and keep correct data on existing donors.

Raiser’s Edge® or Raiser’s Edge NXT® is one of the most used CRMs on the market. This CRM, created by Blackbaud®, helps with donor management, email marketing, online donations, and more. It can also assist in setting up role-based user profiles to help keep data secure.

This CRM can interact with Power Automate from Microsoft and various apps, assisting with fundraising strategies. One such app is AskGenius, which helps fundraisers customize ask strings for every donor.

Nonprofits who need help implementing Raiser’s Edge ® often turn to the Knowledgebase articles on Check out this Knowledgebase article for help learning about the campaigns, funds, and appeals in this database.


Understanding Campaigns, Appeals, and Funds in Constituent Relationship Management Software

Per Blackbaud®, “campaigns are your overall objectives for raising money.” For example, if your nonprofit was building a chapel, you might have a Chapel Campaign. The campaign is the “umbrella that can have any number of funds and appeals under it.”

Think of campaigns as evergreen; they do not change each year. This is also true of funds, but you may have a new appeal each year.

Funds designate the purpose of the gift, link to the gift, and identify the financial account where they should be recorded. You must enter the fund when tracking a gift in the CRM.

The organization tracks how it secured a gift through appeals, such as a direct mail appeal or an event.

Once a nonprofit organization has identified the campaigns, funds, and appeals, it is essential to create policies and procedures to track donations and donor information in the database consistently.


What about Package Codes?

Some organizations choose to use package codes to track fundraising efforts further. For example, Creighton University might have a campaign called Creighton University Annual Appeal. The Fund may be the Creighton University Operating Fund. Both the campaign and fund stay consistent year after year.

The appeal, however, changes with each new year, such as the Annual Appeal 2024. Then, the package codes come into effect and identify the specific personalized appeal for different groups of donors.

There might be a grandparents’ appeal, parents’ appeal, and alums’ appeal for different donor segments. Another way to use package codes would be to have advanced mailing, general mailing, and in-person fundraising events.

Using package codes does have its downside. Lauren Ballew, Senior Database Consultant at Prenger Solutions Group, shared on a recent webinar that she doesn’t like package codes because you can’t select them; you must remember them and type them in. She also stated, “They don’t exist for online gifts in RENXT.”

To learn more about what Lauren meant, check out the recent webinar here.

Lauren recommends using appeals to identify the different groups of mailings. For her, you would keep the campaign and fund the same as the first example, but instead of Annual Appeal 2024. You would have several appeals nested under the fund, such as the 2024 Grandparents Appeal, the 2024 Parents Appeal, and so on.

The appeals in this example would be based on target audiences or specific donor segments.

This method can allow for a better ability to build queries and create reports. It can assist with tracking donation forms in Raiser’s Edge NXT ®. No matter which method your nonprofit chooses, work with your staff to ensure consistency.

There is not a one-size-fits-all answer to how to track campaigns, funds, and appeals in a CRM. Starting with understanding what reporting your organization will need is important.

Use the database to help ensure accurate information to help build stronger donor relationships with everyone, from first-time donors to board members and long-time donors.

For more insights into using CRMs, how to manage donor data, and tools to make fundraising more effective for your nonprofit, sign up for the AskGenius newsletter today. This email newsletter will deliver valuable information straight to your inbox every month.

For additional help with donor management, email marketing, online donation forms, and more, check out the AskGenius webinar library.

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