Maximizing Fundraising Efficiency with Raiser’s Edge™ Solicit Codes

Mar 31, 2023

When your Raiser’s Edge™ solicit codes are tidy and logical, you can build better relationships with your donors. Solicit codes help you honor the communication preferences that your donors request.  When a donor takes the time to tell you how, when and if they'd prefer to receive communications from your organization, these preferences should be recorded in Raiser’s Edge™ as solicit codes. But, it's more than just recording them, it is about honoring your stakeholders. 

Imagine this love giving to your favorite nonprofit but you want to save them postage and printing costs and have requested to only receive email. But they keep sending you mail. And, you keep requesting. And, they keep sending you mail. If I were in this situation, I'd stop giving because the organization can't manage to keep my communication preferences right, let alone manage gifts. 

When we listen and implement what our donors' requests, we are subtly communicating that we have solid processes and procedures in place. They'll remember that when they make a gift, and they'll know that your organization is sophisticated in its processes. By following through (the first time they ask!), you are showing that you care about the donor's request. When you don't or can't follow through on their request, it shows that your systems are not good and that you might have some database issues.

The Most Common Donor Requests

Donors can be quite articulate about when and how they want to receive or not receive communications. Here are the most common requests that we hear:

  • "Please remove me from your mailing list."
  • "I only want to receive your newsletter."
  • "Only send me one solicitation each year."
  • "I do not want to receive phone calls."
  • "I do not wish to receive emails."
  • "I only want to receive emails."

There are many others but you can see from the list that most are opting out of the method of contact. Your solicit codes should echo the requests you receive, but don't create a new solicit code for every request you get. Build a system that works for your communications and use a series of codes to make sure that communication preferences are honored. 

Standards for Assigning Raiser’s Edge™ Solicit Codes

If you're familiar with this blog or my YouTube channel, you know that I love standards. Standards are an easy way to document how to handle situations in your fundraising database. Your solicit codes need to be very clear so that everyone understand them. Here are a few standards to get you started on documenting how you will assign solicit codes:

  1. All communications preferences will be initiated by the donor and not {Organization}. Staff will not make these choices on the constituent’s behalf.
  2. A note will be added to the database detailing any change in a donor’s preference(s). If the communication with the donor is in writing, the exchange will be pasted into the note (or an uploaded scan).
  3. When a constituent requests no solicitations and/or zero contact, an email will be sent to the Chief Development Officer and the constituent’s relationship manager (if the donor has one) before the change is made in the database. This email will include:
    • The constituent’s name
    • Their reason for requesting no solicitations and/or zero contact
    • The date they reached out to inform {Organization} of their preference(s)
  4. The Development team will review all constituents with communications codes assigned twice per year to prevent competitive, contradictory, and/or inaccurate codes.

Now that we've discussed how to assign solicit codes, let's dig into how to code for those preferences and communicate internally.

Solicit Codes, Definitions, and Internal Communications

Below are some of my favorite solicit codes. You'll see in the grid that you have the name of the code, then the definition of that code, and who should be informed when a donor gets that code on their record. You'll also notice that most of them are the negative connotation -- Do Not Mail, Do Not Call, etc.

For example, if a donor calls and requests zero contact, that phone call should trigger several things. First, the donor's record in the database should receive the code (or several codes based on your coding architecture). Secondly, the solicitor (if the donor is assigned) and chief development officer should be immediately notified. This allows the fundraiser and the chief development officer to strategize on what any next steps might need to be. 

Once you have figured out how your organization will manage solicit codes, it is important to put together a policy and procedure around it. That way, everyone knows how to handle donors' requests quickly and efficiently as soon as it's made. 


It's Okay When People Opt Out

We're so connected to our missions that we often take it personally when people opt out of our emails and mailings. Believe me, it can be heart-breaking when someone opts out of my list, but we have to remember that quality on our mailing lists is better than quantity. When someone opts out, specifically with mailings, you don't have to spend any more printing and postage on that person any longer. They are actually doing you and your mission a favor by opting out. This is a mindset that might take time to get your head around (it def took me a while!), but it's a healthy place to be. 

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? 

>>> Click here to schedule a 30-minute chat!

Learn more at

Listen to the Hey Fundraiser! podcast