Tips for Onboarding New Raiser’s Edge™ Users

policies & procedures Mar 22, 2023
People at a computer looking at Raiser’s Edge™

In the field of fundraising, we have lots of staff turn over, which is unfortunate. Last I read, the average time a major gift officer stays in a job is 16 months. As development operations professionals, it's important for us to help fundraisers hit the ground running as soon as they start and be successful as soon as possible That's why we're exploring tips for onboarding new Raiser’s Edge™ users.

Fundraiser turnover has a significant cost:

  • Relationships between the fundraiser and prospects/donors become broken.
  • It takes time to hire a new fundraiser so asks are not being made in the interim.
  • Donors are introduced to a new major gift officer every two years, which can diminish the trust the donor has with the organization. 
  • So many more!

Setting New Fundraisers Up for Success

Our fundraisers' success is our success. Anything that we can do to get them up to speed as soon as they start helps tremendously. The goal is to set them up for success from the get-go. Successful fundraisers tend to stay in their jobs, and anything we can do to help them realize a win is important for retaining them.

Learning the lay of the land can take 3-6 months for fundraisers, depending on the complexity of your organization. We advise that fundraising operations professionals schedule time with new fundraisers in the first two weeks of their employment. This onboarding meeting should include a packet that contains the following:

  • your organization's database standards
  • last month’s reports
  • a copy of the acknowledgment letter
  • a copy of a pledge reminder
  • last appeal that was sent
  • most recent annual report
  • policies and procedures that are relevant to their position
  • any other information that might be handy

But it’s a lot more than just providing a packet – you’ll want to sit down and go through everything with them. Allow them to ask questions and absorb the information. You might consider even having an onboarding email template that has links to resources and policies. It might take two meetings to get through everything, but the key is to get them up to speed so they can focus on fundraising. Two one-hour meetings are better than 6 weeks trying to figure out the lay of the land. 

Tips for Onboarding New Raiser’s Edge™ Users

Every new user of your Raiser’s Edge™ system should be onboarded, even if they have years of experience with the platform. Nonprofits use Raiser’s Edge™ in different ways, so it's important to onboard new users based on how your organization uses your iteration. The following items should be reviewed with new Raiser’s Edge™ users:

  • Logging in to their Blackbaud™ online account
  • The differences between NXT™ and database view and how to log in to each
  • Understanding the functionality needed to fulfil their role
  • Updating their user options
  • Looking up a constituent and/or adding a new constituent
  • Updating phone numbers, addresses, relationships, and emails
  • Understanding constituent coding (constituent codes and custom fields/attributes)
  • Accessing remote files
  • Adding actions and notes (and the differences between them)
  • Generating Lists and maps in NXT™
  • Accessing their work center in NXT™
  • Grasping the gift architecture (campaigns, funds, appeals)
  • Assigning themselves as a fundraiser/solicitor
  • Building and managing opportunities/proposals

When you’ve properly onboarded a team member, they have access to the database, understand how your database is used, know where to find policies & procedures, understand the reports that are going to be provided monthly, know how to request data, and have a grasp of all the support they have from operations. Starting a new job is stressful and it’s like drinking from the firehose. So, nothing is too small to share, even if it is as simple as this is how you submit a ticket to IT.


About Mary Hackett

Mary Hackett is a vibrant and engaging powerhouse in the world of major gift expertise, with a sparkling career steeped in the intricacies of fundraising operations. Residing in the picturesque town of Bend, Oregon, Mary's professional journey is as lively and inspiring as her scenic surroundings. Her extensive experience in fundraising is marked by a unique blend of strategic insight and a contagious enthusiasm that has consistently propelled organizations to new heights of success. With a knack for connecting with people and a deep understanding of the nuances of philanthropy, Mary has become a sought-after expert in her field. Her approach to fundraising is not just about meeting targets; it's about building relationships, weaving stories, and creating impactful experiences that resonate with donors and communities alike. In Mary's world, every fundraising campaign is an adventure, filled with opportunities to make a meaningful difference while having a whole lot of fun along the way. Want to work with Mary? 

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