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  • Writer's pictureJill Collins

The Difference between Campaigns, Funds and Appeals in Raiser’s Edge

Updated: Apr 14, 2022

Do you ever wonder what the difference is between Campaigns, Funds and Appeals in Raiser’s Edge 7 or NXT? This blog offers some tips to keep in mind when setting up this hierarchy at your nonprofit organization.

The way Blackbaud envisions it, it’s almost like a mathematical equation where 1 + 1 = 2. Saying that aloud makes it seem so simple. Then why does decision-making seem so difficult in day-to-day practice? It’s likely that you’re just over-thinking it.

I’ll also explain why I don’t use the Package feature inside of Appeals anymore, so you can learn from my mistakes.


Set Annually to Align with Organization’s Goal

The highest ranking classification for a gift in Raiser’s Edge is a Campaign. It essentially is the tip of the pyramid (refer to the pyramid graphic), meaning, there should be the fewest number of Campaigns in your database, followed by more Funds, and even more Appeals.

Your Campaigns should be developed in the database annually to synch with your fiscal year. This allows you to easily set and track goals to report on them throughout the year. Believe me, your Board will love this trending data at each meeting, as it helps to keep the team on track.

As an example, say your annual fund goal next fiscal year is $750,000. Then set up your annual fund Campaign with that goal set inside the Campaign itself, and the fiscal year start and end dates. Of course, all Fund and Appeal totals roll up into the Campaign totals.

Blackbaud Definition of Campaign: The overarching fundraising goal that can include multiple funds. Examples of Campaigns: Annual funds, capital campaigns, endowment campaigns.


Answer the Question: What Is The Money For?

The Fund field, which is a required field in Raiser’s Edge, gets to the heart of how the money will be spent. Oftentimes the Fund aligns with your Finance team’s general ledger, and accounts for unrestricted funds.

A Fund should be developed for every possible restriction, and you should stay away from Funds titled “other.”

Blackbaud Definition of Fund: The specific purpose of the donation. Examples of Funds: Unrestricted, by geography, by scholarship, by condition, etc.

Answer the Question: How Did We Get This Gift?

Just like annualizing your Campaigns to each fiscal year’s goal, an Appeal ID should be set up by fiscal year to make year-over-year comparisons a snap. Since gifts trickle in over time, this process also ensures best practices in reporting.

Finally, although this field is not required, a gift Appeal should never be blank.

Blackbaud Definition of Appeal: The solicitation effort that resulted in the gift. Examples of Appeals: Direct mailings, emails, phonathons, web, events, social, text, personal asks, etc.

A Special Note on Packages

Because reporting on Packages is not yet a feature of either Raiser’s Edge 7 or NXT, I have learned the hard way to steer clear of setting them up in Raiser’s Edge. I love the concept of Packages, but if I can’t analyze back-end data to assess performance, I’m just not interested. Instead, I opt for creating multiple Appeals. The Blackbaud definition of Packages is “Different levels or versions of the Appeal.”

"I love the concept of Packages, but if I can’t analyze back-end data to assess performance, I’m just not interested."

Signing Off…

For more information on this topic, refer to Blackbaud’s Knowledgebase article 41950.

About Jill Collins

Jill Collins at j.comm marketing is a true professional who specializes in finding money in donor databases and breathing new life into brands. She is a proven and trusted partner when it comes to understanding an organization and its culture. Her talent lies in marrying a client’s wants and needs with logistics, both in marketing and with non-profit databases. Give Jill a shot. She won’t let you down.


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