Constituent Batch Defaults in The Raiser’s Edge 7

Using Constituent Batches is a common way to enter a group of constituents into your Raiser’s Edge database. Using Defaults in a Constituent Batch is a great way to speed up the data entry process and is a feature that sometimes gets overlooked when using Constituent Batches.

  • When would you use a Constituent Batch? Anytime you have multiple constituents to enter into the database at the same time. Using the Import feature is also a possibility for this, but if you don’t have the new constituent information already saved to a spreadsheet, it is often quicker and easier to utilize the Constituent Batch for constituent data entry. For example, your organization just held an open house and you have several new constituents to add to your database as prospects. For these prospects, you want to record their name, address, telephone number, constituent code, etc. on a new constituent record.
  • When would you use Defaults on a Constituent Batch? Anytime you have a data entry field that will have the same value for all or most of the records in the Batch. Defaults are guidelines that can be set up to simplify data entry. Some examples for a Constituent Batch can include Key Indicator or Address Type. Let’s say that all of the new prospects that you gathered from your open house were individuals, rather than organizations. You can set a default for the Key Indicator value in the Constituent Batch to “Individual” so you don’t have to manually populate this field with “Individual” on each data entry line. For Address Type, let’s say that you asked all of your new prospects for their Home address when they signed in at the open house. You can set the default value for Address Type to “Home” for all of records entered in that Constituent Batch.

Every time you add a new constituent to the batch, the program will enter the default value into the field for you. This saves you time because you do not have to select an entry for these fields for each record added to the batch. After the program enters a default value in a field, you can still change the default entry to a different value if needed. From our example, let’s say one of your prospects gave you their work address instead of home. The batch will populate the Address Type field with Home by default, but you can simply type over it to change it to Work or another value, as needed.

On the Defaults tab of the Batch Setup screen, you can select a default for many of the fields you include in your batch. If you do not want to specify a default value, you can leave any or all fields blank. I’ve included a screen shot of a sample Constituent Batch Defaults tab below.

  • How can you add a Default? The Defaults grid displays the fields you selected on the Fields tab of the Constituent Batch Setup screen. To add a default, enter the field entry in the Default Value column as you normally would on a constituent record. If one field is dependent on another, you cannot enter a default for the dependent field until you enter a default for the independent field. The order in which the fields display on this screen is the order in which they appear on the Data Entry screen. To change the order, select the field you would like to move and click the Up or Down arrow button to relocate the field. When you change the field order in the Defaults grid, the order updates in the Data Entry Fields box on the Fields tab.
  • What is the ‘?Hide’ checkbox used for? To hide a field on the Data Entry screen, mark ?Hide on the Defaults tab of the Constituent Batch Setup window. This option allows you to add information in these fields on the new constituent records, but it will hide that field from the Data Entry window so you don’t have to see it or tab through it, which will ultimately save you time on data entry. It also hides the extra fields in the event that you want fewer fields to appear on the Data Entry screen so that it appears less cluttered according to your personal preference. From the Data Entry screen, you can still choose to display the hidden columns, as needed, by going to the top menu bar and selecting View > Hide/Show Columns.

While this blog entry focuses on the Defaults tab of Constituent Batches, similar functionality exists for Gift Batches as well. For more information on Gift Batches, Batch Defaults, or the Batch module in general, I recommend reviewing The Raiser’s Edge 7 Batch User Guide.

You can also keep up with us on Twitter by following @bbsupport; we use the hashtag #bbre when we discuss The Raiser’s Edge. Take a look at our Twitter Guide for more information.

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