“Raiser’s Edge” is a database used by many nonprofits worldwide as their “donor database of record.” So it’s not surprising that one of the most common questions asked by prospective Engaging Networks’ clients is: “How does your Engaging Networks software platform integrate with Raiser’s Edge?”
A frequent answer to this question is the tool that I built, namely the JMG Solutions “Super Importer and Exporter,” also known as the “SIE.”
Our SIE tool is a Raiser’s Edge plug-in that allows for one-click access to your Engaging Networks information via an application programming interface, or “API,” that Engaging Networks makes available. This API allows access to your data via a private key that is both secure and unique. Our SIE tool uses the API not only to download current donation information, but also to update constituent information from Raiser’s Edge to Engaging Networks. In this way, nonprofit organizations are able to set up a 2-way, automatic sync of the data that they hold in the two databases – i.e. in both Raiser’s Edge and Engaging Networks.
Importing data from Engaging Networks into Raiser’s Edge
SIE enables you to create a mapping document for the different types of data that you might want to import into Raiser’s Edge from your Engaging Networks database. These mappings are set up for you by JMG Solutions. They include details such as single gifts, recurring gifts, memberships, etc. Within each mapping, you help define how you want the information transferred into Raisers’ Edge. And unlike the standard importing process within Raisers’ Edge, which requires several imports, our SIE allows you to do all of your imports at once, all while following your current standard operating procedures.
SIE also allows data transformation of the data coming from Engaging Networks, before you add it to Raiser’s Edge. Some examples of “Data transformation” include such things as:
- Format names and addresses into proper case;
- Search and replace a value in the EN data with the correct format required by Raiser’s Edge;
- Add new values that are not in the EN Data.
Our SIE also allows you to map your Raiser’s Edge Campaign, Funds, Appeals and Packages based on the different fundraising pages that you’ve created in your Engaging Networks account.
See for yourself in the video below. It’s from a conference session that I co-presented recently with Charles Mollenhauer from Cornell University Lab of Ornithology. In our session, we described in detail the mapping and importing of data from the Cornell Lab’s Engaging Networks database into their Raiser’s Edge database.
All of this may sound tricky to you. But actually our SIE has already done all of the hard work for you. And after you’ve gone through this process once or twice, it becomes even easier each time you run it.
Exporting data from Raiser’s Edge to Engaging Networks
Not all of the supporters whom you want to target via emails are online donors. Often you will have donors who contributed to you via manual cheques / credit cards that have come to you via the mail – or other “offline sources,” as they are sometimes known. You will have stored information about these supporters, including their email addresses, in your Raiser’s Edge database, and you will want to add this information to your Engaging Networks database.
Fortunately, SIE has an Export Data function to push information from Raiser’s Edge directly into Engaging Networks. This is done by using the standard RE Export following the import layout already created in Engaging Networks. The export mapping can also apply the same data transformation that we apply during the importing. The plug-in will automatically export the data and manipulate it to line up properly. SIE has already mapped the data to accurately fit into Engaging Networks. It then imports the information into Engaging Networks for you, with one click of a button.
All the guesswork has been done for you. All you need to do is click and let it run!
Jeff Gignac is founder of JMG Solutions, which has been helping nonprofits since 1998. Jeff built JMG’s “Super Importer and Exporter” tool that enables many nonprofits to connect their Raiser’s Edge donor database with Engaging Networks and other software platforms. Jeff teaches courses on fundraising, strategic planning and other topics at Humber College in Canada. He is also a Certified Fundraising Executive and active member of the Toronto chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.