High end product, poor customer service
Great product, but the lack of customer service for the price point leaves a bit of a sour taste in my mouth.
This is definitely a nice product that does everything that it promises, and helps us keep track of all of our donors.
The price point is high for what you are getting, and customer support for this product is extremely poor at best.
Overall, we like and dislike this product. We are learning to live with some of the quirks of it because the organizational tools for fundraising seem to be quite good for us.
What I like most about this product is that as a fundraiser, I have many tools that keep me organized and remind me to thank our donors.
My co-worker who uses this software for only adding donations has a very difficult time with it. She says it takes way too many steps to add donations. It is also frustrating that you have to create a new record for someone who has been memorialized by a gift. It seems odd to add someone into your record base that is deceased and there is a cap on the number of constituents you can have in the database without having to pay more. The reporting pages are confusing and difficult to understand how to set up a goal and see our progress toward it. There are many things like this that we come across that are frustrating to us.
Good and robust software!
Raiser's Edge Lifer Rant
My biggest likes for the Raiser's Edge are the various modules: Events, Membership and Online Express. I can organize the information and pull it back out in queries so easily. The canned reporting is not bad either. They pretty much have every kind of basic report you could need. You can pull some pretty decent reports that track actions, solicitors, giving and profiles. The key is making sure your data is clean and organized.
Speaking of which, Raiser's Edge has done a great job of improving it's data clean up functions. They have improved duplicate removals. They have added e-mail and phone clean ups. And they are always on top of making sure their clients are heard (even if it takes them a little while to deliver).
The reports have aged out at this point in the desktop version (non-cloud). Development departments are looking for different ways to report their money and we are now depending on Crystal Reports to constantly fill that void. I wished the reports were more malleable and you could really build out the layouts to accommodate what staff wants to see. The biggest thing I hear in terms of complaints from my staff are the number of clicks to get a process done, whether entering an event on a record to recording a membership. Sure we can set up default settings for many of the procedures, but there is still that need sometimes to have to go through and enter manually.
Great CRM with good features
Before using NXT, make sure your team has a clear strategy on how to consistently use the "consent" module to record communications opt-ins and opt-outs. You need to make sure you are using it consistently across all records and it will serve you well.
Outlook plugin (quickly add emails to a constituent record)
JustGiving integration is an exciting prospect
Reporting features - including the option to send out an automatically generated custom report to yourself or a colleague, for example every month or week
Webinars and video demos of new features
Doesn't have all the functions of Raisers Edge 7 so we still needed to use RE7 in parallel
New features take a long time to arrive
Terminology doesn't always match Raider's Edge (for example "canvassers" in RE7 are fundraisers in NXT, "Attributes" vs. "Custom tags")
Emails sent out via NXT should be automatically added to constituent's record
Difficult setting up new users on the system
No Longer the Go To Software
Horrible. I wouldn't reccomend this company to anyone. Save your money, do your research and go with another vendor.
I enjoyed the upgrades from the old school dinasaur program that was available until NXT. The features were comparable to other software on the market.
THE PRICE!! They were very proud of their product and ultimately did not try to keep our business. They offered their product to us for $30,000 a year for a database with less than 10,000 constituents. I believe they have since lowered their price, but their security breach has had a huge impact on many of our fellow nonprofits. Their customer service is some of the worst I have ever endured and you will have 5+ people contact about the same issue. You're lucky if you get a respose, so I mostly didn't even ask a question.
Great Resource for Non-Profits
Again, it's made it much easier for or satellite folks and fundraisers to coordinate with us. I look forward to using it 100% of the time when it's finally ready. I am looking forward to the mobility of being completely online.
It has made coordinating with our satellite staff and fundraisers much easier. I like that it's interface is easy enough for everyone from novice to pro.
I really would like for the gift entry in NXT to be more robust. I see how having everything in one place would be beneficial, but, there's some things that we do in the database view that we simply cannot do in NXT yet.
Our primary reason for our conversion was the RENXT to Financial Edge/RENXT coordination. That alone has been a huge improvement for our organization!
The software is great for the DO's. With a small learning curve they are able to access a lot of data in a user friendly format!
As a DBA, I still find it necessary to access the database view for maintenance and complex queries. Many functions are not available yet, but are forthcoming. New features roll out all the time.
Easy to learn and use
Database Searching Made Easy
I love web-based software that gives more freedom in filtering and report setup. I get to decide what columns I do and don't want to see. RE NXT makes searching so much easier than the desktop software, as there are fewer steps to take for searching. It's intuitive in the search box, and you don't have to enter in all information to get a list of possible answers.
The pages are aesthetically bland. I wish the categories inside a search result were differently colored to quickly navigate where one category ends and another begins.
Becoming a benefit to our organization
While we have had some hiccups converting our staff over, I think the product itself is wonderful and introduces features that we've wanted in the main database since we converted to Blackbaud products. For most, the features that it currently offers will suffice, and if they don't many of the missing features can be found in the main system. The development of new features has been going surprisingly quickly, and we expect that most of the problems we have had so far will go away as the product is updated.
The interface is a lot friendlier to the average user than the database view, making it easier to use for our employees that don't like working in databases as much. It also introduced certain features that were missing from the main database, which added some new tools to manage data and keep our information clean. The analytics is my favorite addition; while some dashboard tools exist in Raiser's Edge, in NXT they are fully thought out and allow for excellent reporting and visual depictions of our progress.
It's still an in-development product, so while this could be great for some organizations it's not at the point where it's great for all organizations. Despite the fact that it's user-friendly and many of our staff members prefer to use it, the lack of certain features from the main database make it hard for them to convert completely, and they feel that switching between the two views of the same system is a hassle. While it's understandable that the extra add-ons would take a back seat to the development of the main features, with our membership module missing it does make it hard for our organization to shift most of our staff over to it from the main database view. There are also some things that don't synchronize properly between the two systems yet, which sometimes makes database maintenance feel like we're checking in two different databases for information.
A Game Changer for Prospect Managers
I think the RE NXT interface is incredibly intuitive. It helps new team members get on the ground faster with learning how to search records and find the information that they need. That said, a strong background in the database view is helpful to any member of your team, whether they are on the road or not. I would strongly suggest having teams trained formally on both systems.
What I love about RE NXT is that it helps to visualize graphs, such as donor patterns and key financial data, automatically. You no longer have to have endless queries and exports and dashboards to access the data you want the most. This helps facilitate staff meeting discussions, and also keeps all team members informed on the fly. Secondly, the prospect profiles for managers. Gone are the days of exporting travel profiles in plain text. Now a PM can login from the road to see all the details they need in a useful manner -- and what's even better? They can change how the data is displayed so that it is personalized to them. It is clean, well constructed, and yet also flexible enough to be able to dig deeper with a couple of clicks. And if they need to find a new person to visit in their area, the map tools are perfect. Highly recommended for offices with lots of traveling teammates.
As with both versions of RE, you only get out what you put into it. You need to make sure you have the right policies and procedures in place, for example, to make sure that certain fields in actions are required. You'll also need to work with your team to make sure they understand the updated language from the database view to the NXT view. For example, proposals and opportunities are the same thing. This is a bit of a challenge in offices where the NXT vs. database team may not interact that much and will be speaking slightly different languages about this software. It is not a deal-breaker, just a trainable moment.
My recommendation is to get formal training if you are going to use the database and give each new staff member the opportunity to be trained by a Raiser's Edge specialist. The database is absolutely worth the time and money if you also invest in your staff's knowledge of it. If two people are doing the same task in even a slightly different way, you can end up with holes in your data. However, if you do get good training, you'll find this database to be well worth it and will assist your fundraising strategies quite well.
The Raiser's Edge is a very powerful database that can provide great insight into your organization's fundraising. It has the capability to track and report on anything you would ever need to look at for fundraising. The template reports are customizable, which is very helpful. My favorite feature is the query and export combo - I can pull out any piece of information I need to analyze and Raiser's Edge does a good job of getting rid of duplicate information for me. The dashboard feature is also good - you can create multiple dashboards to compare fiscal years, appeals, funds, recent gifts list, summaries, etc. You can also share your dashboard with other users so that everyone can be looking at the same thing.
Building custom reports from scratch (not using a template) can be challenging to create through Crystal Reports. However, you can usually find a template that you can customize to create a similar report, if not the exact report you want to write.
Duplicate records can also be challenging in Raiser's Edge. When Constituents are uploaded to the database from a list or entered manually, Raiser's Edge will not identify duplicates if the name or address is not an exact match. This can be frustrating - for example, it won't recognize a duplicate address if the only difference is between "Street" and "St." in the database. Cleaning up the duplicates is even more challenging. I have needed to export lists of constituents, identify duplicates in Excel, and then go back into Raiser's Edge to merge and delete the duplicate constituent records.
Satisfied Raiser's Edge 7 user Ready to Make the Jump to RE NXT
I previously worked with many other database interface software in the for-profit world, where I worked for the first 15+ years of my career. So when I started using Raiser's Edge, it came relatively easily to me as it reminded me of other previously used interfaces. We have a large database of over 350K donors, and Raiser's Edge has no problem handling our volume. The Raiser's Edge 7 is now showing some age in how it's structured and functions, but mostly in look and feel. We have been using Raiser's Edge with our database on premise. With the seismic shift into cloud computing, we are planning to move to a Blackbaud hosted environment, which will, in and of itself, bring us closer to feeling like it's not the 90's anymore. But the good news is that Blackbaud knows that the look and feel, usability, functionality and ability to play well with others need to catch up with the rest of technology, and so they introduced Raiser's Edge NXT a couple of years ago. RE NXT looks modern and fills many checkboxes of what fundraisers need to do their jobs in today's environment. (See Pros to find out more of what I like about RE NXT.)
Raiser's Edge 7 gives you the tools (and/or gives you optional add-on tools) to manage your donor relationships and data in just about any way you can think of. It's a great all-purpose fundraising tool for non-profit organizations. Raiser's Edge NXT (RE NXT) is the next generation, and we are most likely moving to that within the next year. The awesome things about RE NXT are 1. User access to your donor data from anywhere on any device, 2. Unintimidating ease of use for non-techie and techie alike, 3. Open API which means lots of more fantastic compatible tools are being built by Blackbaud partners, 4. Unlimited users - which means now our Board members and many other stakeholders will be able to login and get their reports on the dashboard instead of waiting for emailed or, even worse, hard-copy reports to be run and delivered to them by our staff.
My experience with the Customer Support has been less than stellar. Sometimes it seems like the Customer Support's go-to answer is, "No" or "No, you can't do that." Unless the answer is, "Well, if you buy this other tool we have, then you can do that." But since we have no plans to move off of Blackbaud products, thank heavens they have an amazing Blackbaud Community network where you can ask any question and get tons of advice from folks just like you working in this software daily. Blackbaud Community is now the first place I go when I need support. Many times the question I have has already been asked and answered in the past, and so just searching through the discussions will get me my answer or point me in the right direction, instead of wasting time trying to re-invent the wheel. My fairly high rating in this review on Customer Support is mostly because of Blackbaud Community and our fairly newly assigned account manager.
Raisers Edge - IF you are good to it, it will give you GOLD
Raiser's Edge is great for development departments of medium to large nonprofits, schools, etc, especially those with sophisticated fundraising programs. It may not be the best fit for small nonprofits with limited resources in the budget. The Raiser's Edge is an excellent software for cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship and allows for easy tracking of each constituent's relationship with your organization.
Raisers Edge is being used by the development department to track donations and our constituents relationship to us as an organization. Our database is not large but the relationships are long and often complicated. A database like this allows us to see the constituent and all of the interactions we have had with them over the years. The Raisers Edge in combination with some of the add on's like online express have been helpful for seamless tracking of newsletter readership and conversions from our website and online publications.
Queries are what we use to create lists of constituents with particular behaviors or similarities that we can use for creating mailings, invitations or actions. An amazing tool with endless possibilities.
Raisers Edge is a beast of a program. It can do just about anything you could want for a donor database and Blackbaud offers several supplemental solutions that seamlessly integrate.
Donor stewardship, from first contact, to donation, to acknowledgement letter, is a process that is handled particularly well with Raisers Edge
The program is quite complicated and if data is not entered correctly than the program just won't work well. "bad in, bad out'. But that is not unique to this program.
That some of the features that I like to use like global changes for adding appeals is pretty buried and the way of finding it convoluted.
Attributes could be more flexible: like I would prefer to have all events under one table (which it can do now) but then there is no step further where I can then say whether they RSVP and then also whether they attended and their name for easy export for nametags.
Raiser's Finally Got an Update
I use Raiser's Edge as our donor database and the data entry, reporting features are really updated. However, when they came out with NXT, it was a game changer. NXT is amazing! It has a very attractive interface and super user friendly. As soon as you search for a record, consecutive years and all information on the donor is clear to see and it lets you know which donors you should be reaching out to. You could assign donors to others to initiate contact. You could easily access information on your mobile device. It takes the Raiser's Edge data entry interface and completely gives it a makeover. You are easily able to review giving history and all donor information on one page and very clearly. The only thing I don't like about NXT is that the consecutive years aren't always the same as in the donor records in the database version.
I use Raiser's Edge as our donor database and the data entry, reporting features are really updated. However, when they came out with NXT, it was a game changer. NXT is amazing! It has a very attractive interface and super user friendly. As soon as you search for a record, consecutive years and all information on the donor is clear to see and it lets you know which donors you should be reaching out to. You could assign donors to others to initiate contact. You could easily access information on your mobile device. It takes the Raiser's Edge data entry interface and completely gives it a makeover. You are easily able to review giving history and all donor information on one page and very clearly.
The only thing I don't like about NXT is that the consecutive years aren't always the same as in the donor records in the database version.
Valuable and versatile database
I'm speaking to RE7, i.e. the database view specifically, which many nonprofits use exclusively but those who purchase the NXT bundle also have access to the full database view as well. I've been using RE7 for 12 years and overall I love it, especially in combination with the NXT web view.
There is so much you can do with Raiser's Edge, it's a robust and powerful tool. It works "out of the box" without need for programming or customization per se (other than settings and configuration etc.) so you don't need to be a coder to set up and use. I particularly love queries to pull together lists of donors who meet certain criteria, which can then be used for mailing lists, reports, exports, etc. The acknowledgement letters are incredibly valuable, allowing variable data and personalized language, e.g. when a gift is designated to a particular program we pull in a paragraph about that program without our gift entry staff having to do any manual or extra work.
Can be a bit clunky, and not always intuitive (NXT web view is a huge improvement in those areas). The reports aren't pretty (again NXT is astronomically better there) and sometimes there isn't a report that will work for our needs so I have to set up with queries and exports. There is almost always a way to do what I need to do, but I sometimes have to go through some complicated digital acrobatics to get there.
Great Product, but Could be Overkill for Most Nonprofits
It's doubtful to me, especially after having worked with a few smaller nonprofits which have used Raisers Edge, that even the heaviest users in this arena are using even 50% of the product's out of the box functionality. So while I love the product, and especially love it because it integrates seamlessly with Financial Edge for the accounting reporting, smaller nonprofits are probably better served with something just as user-friendly but much cheaper for donations/events/membership management, like Avectra's Net Forum.
Blackbaud's Raisers Edge is great software for donations management, including special events and memberships. It's very easy to use, and very easy to get information from, whether through any of the many canned reports, or through queries and exports. Support is extra, but well worth the cost, at least in the initial years after set-up.
The cost - upwards for just the donations management - is considerable. And things like the Special Events module and Membership and Tributes and Memorials modules are not included in the base package. Like most other software, a lot of thought needs to happen when setting Raisers Edge up. But seriously for every con that I could list, the customer support that comes extra with the annual maintenance, if purchases, offsets the con with quick answers and fixes, so that even the most complicated thing in RE is easily addressed with a quick phone call to support.
The Raiser's Edge is an industry standard for a reason. It's robust but doesn't play well with non-Blackbaud software.
If you're a small-to-medium shop looking to invest in a CRM, The Raiser's Edge will work well for you. If you need easy integration with other software solutions (email marketing, event marketing, etc.) you may want to look elsewhere, but if your main need is a robust CRM, then The Raiser's Edge a good way to go.
The Raiser's Edge is consistent and reliable as a CRM. Because it is so widely used, there are tons of good resources online if you have any questions, and you are likely to be able to easily hire staff who have experience with it. You are able to set up your data structure with a good amount of customization. The the query tool is easy to use as long as you understand how you've set up your fields. You don't need to be able to code to administer the database, which I appreciated. Permissions are fairly straightforward.
As part of the Blackbaud suite of products, The Raiser's Edge is not easy to integrate with other products. If you need easy integration with other software solutions, you'll either have to buy other Blackbaud products, which are expensive and sometimes not the best in their class, or do a lot of data transfers between the systems. For example, when I was administering a Raiser's Edge database, I had to regularly export lists for use with Constant Contact, and import transactions for our online giving page, because we didn't use Blackbaud solutions for email marketing or online giving. It wasn't very difficult to do, but it did slow us down with tasks that should be automated.
The best donor database
If you decide on Raiser's Edge, try to combine it with Financial Edge. Very similar software, integration, and user knowledge overlap. Just be prepared to pay.
Raiser's Edge is the best donor database I've seen. It has comprehensive fields and capability to track projects, funds, and appeals. When we used RE, we had about 250 different appeals categorized and about 50 different funds. When running reports or queries, you could slice and dice the data pretty much any way you wanted. Query functions were huge for me. You can dig down into anything you want - all donations by xyz appeal during 10-11 timeframe and paid by check at a certain event? That's an option, for example, with the click and choose query.
Huge added bonus if you use RE in conjunction with Financial Edge, Blackbaud's accounting system, as the two systems actually integrate (not export and import but a true integration).
The biggest obstacle we faced with RE was the pricing. Blackbaud prices you into tiers based on number of constituents, so if you keep old donor records "just in case", you end up accumulating all these records and data that you are paying for annually. If you can afford it, it's great. They are definitely shooting for the quality model not the low-cost model.
Great Product with Room for Improvement
This is such a great tool to keep track of your constituents. Everything is organized, making it easy to find the information you need with little hassle. It was also relatively to learn how to use it. I had never heard of Raiser's Edge before beginning an internship during college, and without any experience outside of that using it, I was able to find a job where I spend all day using Raiser's Edge. Not being particularly computer-savy, it's almost unbelieveable to me how comfortable I feel using this product.
There always seems to be little kinks and bugs that make little to no sense, and many times even those at Blackbaud don't seem to know why. For example, I work a lot with tributes. Recently I discovered that when you are entering a gift and you have a tribute open, if you go into one of the tribute acknowledgee's records and then back out, RE will check off all of the acknowledgees to acknowledge even if you previously did not have them all checked off. My manager asked why this was happening and how we can fix it, and the short-term suggestion we got was to exit out of the acknowledgee record instead of saving and closing. Frankly, that's a horrible suggestion. Obviously there are going to be times when we need to save and close. I understand you may not have an immediate answer, but I'd rather you not be able to give me a suggestion than to give me a bad one. In short, I think there are many kinks to be worked out and customer service can be improved.
Helpful fundraising software
The software allows you to keep more than just address and gift data for your constituents. You can customize parts of the software to meet your organization's specific needs. Additional modules can be added as your organization needs grow and budgets allow. Customer support is available through many channels and the company works to help users interact with each other, which can be very beneficial. They offer a variety of training options that are also beneficial and I would argue essential.
Their growth and expansion of products seems to be outpacing the ability in all areas to support it all. On a few occasions I have found promises made by sales staff to be unmet by the software...though it appears to be more of a lack of true understanding of my questions/needs on the part of specific people sales staff. When I ask support staff about it later, they are much clearer on what the software can & can't do.
Raiser's Edge NXT is a big improvement!
Raiser's Edge NXT has notified us when prospect donor pledges are ending and recommendations for cultivation which has increased our major giving donors.
The Raiser's Edge database was very outdated however with the addition of NXT it's now very visually appealing and user-friendly. They took the old database look and revamped it to include charts, recommendations for donor cultivation and alerts daily referencing which donors to reach out to. It's very mobile friendly and great for major giving officers so they could make notes and assign tasks to their team while on the road. You could easily look up donor records and it's all accessible from Blackbaud.com so you don't need to download an app. It's good to have when on meetings and if you have to be an exhibitor for your Foundation and quickly look up donor records.
NXT shows consecutive donor years at the top of each profile however the years are not always accurate with the years in Raiser's database. Sometimes the years are way off. Also, they should make it easier to view outstanding pledges in NXT. NXT is a bit pricey however worth the cost and your return on investment is improved as it notifies you when you have major giving prospects to reach out to.
The Raiser's Edge NXT: Moving Fundraising Forward
I love that the fundraisers I work with are more comfortable with the NXT interface, yet I still have access to RE:7 to do the heavy-lifting. And I love that Blackbaud actively solicits feedback and input from customers/users to drive development of the product. This gives us the chance to get a product that is more tailored to what we need and want.
Much too early for anything to mention here. Because it's cloud-based, NXT can get upgrades and new features rolled out regularly, with no action needed on the user's part...I do wish there was an update product development map that showed what is coming when, even if the timing is constantly in-flux.
Overall very pleased
The data is well organized, easy to pull, and easy to export. Although this is the only major database software I have used personally, I have heard multiple comments from others that Raiser's Edge is so much easier and more efficient than other software types on the market. Our organization has been using Raiser's Edge for over 15 years, and we are well pleased with its capabilities and performance.
This software manages everything fundraising related - donor profiles, biological data, giving history, mailing histories, event attendance and seating, EFT and automated credit card transactions, memberships, to-do tasks, alumni information, online giving forms and email blasts (with the optional Online Express module), etc. BlackBaud has an easy-to-access support system if you need help, as well as training, blogs, free webinars and videos so that beginners can easily learn the system.
BlackBaud is a little over-priced on some of its data cleansing services, like EmailFinder and Deceased People Finder. We often get the same service for much cheaper through our mailing house vendors.