Raiser’s Edge Explained

Running a nonprofit can present a number of obstacles. From staffing, managing donations, and community outreach, anything can and will go wrong at some point.

To lighten the loads of those managing or working for nonprofits, there are a number of useful tools, programs, and methods to utilize. One of the most helpful software programs for any nonprofit is Raiser’s Edge. But, is it right for your nonprofit?

What is Raiser’s Edge?

In short, Raiser’s Edge is a cloud-based software program for fundraising and relationship management, specifically designed for nonprofits. It is offered by Blackbaud, who have been a leading seller for nonprofit software. With Raiser’s Edge, Blackbaud’s stellar reputation has remained; the customizable software provides a variety of benefits to assist any nonprofit and improve their performance.

The Features of Raiser’s Edge:

  1. Donor Management: This software allows users to build constituent profiles and track relevant data, such as contact info, donation history, relationships, and more. Constituents can also be sorted into groups or lists. From there, a user can add notes or tasks to different profiles in order to optimize results. With all this information, the software provides detailed donor retention analytics.
  2. General Nonprofit Operations: Overall, the software was designed to improve productivity. By being cloud-based, the program is available on nearly any device, such as smartphones, tablets, and computers. This gives users access no matter where they are or what role they play in a nonprofit. Raiser’s Edge can assign different role-based views and dashboards, which are all user-friendly.
  3. Fundraising Campaign Management: Raiser’s Edge also allows a nonprofit to launch multiplefundraising campaigns, plan events, and process online donations in addition to managing recurring gifts, pledges, tributes, and crowdfunding.
  4. Reporting and Analytics: As information is inputted and gathered by the program, it creates a variety of pre-built reports; however, users can also generate custom reports and analytics, if desired. These reports are comprehensive and can pull data with almost any metric.
  5. Marketing Tools: With Raiser’s Edge, a nonprofit can design marketing campaigns and track their success across social media, email marketing, and direct mail – all within one system. Custom online donations can also be generated to be easily shared through almost any marketing channel like Twitter, Facebook, and more.

Is Raiser’s Edge Right for Your Nonprofit?

Although Raiser’s Edge can be a wonderful tool, there are three considerations a nonprofit should make before purchasing, installing, and implementing the program:

  1. Fundraising Needs: Raiser’s Edge provides complex and customizable options to improve fundraising efficiency. However, if your nonprofit does not currently require these options, this may not be the tool you need. Generally, the comprehensive software better serves those with medium to large levels of constituents who engage in multiple types of giving. For smaller bases, there are other, simpler solutions that may be better suited.
  2. Budgeting: In being so intricate, Raiser’s Edge is more expensive than other fundraising solutions. While the benefits of the complexity speak for themselves, there are significant costs that come with it, such as consultants, support, training, and upgrades. Looking into the cost of the program is a must to ensure it can help properly.
  3. An Implementation Timeline/Strategy: Again, due to the complexity and customizable nature of Raiser’s Edge, it can take some time to setup and implement effectively. One must consider their data set, developing a strategy for fundraising, implementing and testing the software, and training staff to use it. While it may be worth it eventually for a growing nonprofit, this is not a quick fundraising solution.

Success Comes from Strategizing:

Often, creating a strategy is easier in theory than in practice, especially for a nonprofit. From managing multiple departments, employees, and fundraising campaigns, finding the time to strategize can be difficult; however, with Raiser’s Edge, strategizing is a must. The best way to strategize with this software is to ask a few questions:

  1. What are your nonprofit’s fundraising goals? To accurately measure success, a nonprofit should set a yearly fundraising goal as well as setting goals for events, projects, and campaigns. Another important factor worth considering is setting a donor retention goal. Once goals like these are in place a strategy can be formed.
  2. What integration will be combined with Raiser’s Edge? Blackbaud offers a number of software programs designed to help nonprofits, including those that can be integrated with Raiser’s Edge. To make the most of it, a nonprofit must consider what they might use Raiser’s Edge alongside with, whether from Blackbaud or not.
  3. What should be accomplished before implementing Raiser’s Edge? Despite being an intricate program, there is still work to be done to setup Raiser’s Edge. With new software coming in, a nonprofit should assess or reassess their current setups, strategies, and practices. New software can force a nonprofit to reorganize, which can be extremely beneficial.

Use Raiser’s Edge if You Can:

Although implementing new technology can be daunting, Raiser’s Edge is a program worth being courageous for. Its integrative and customizable software make it adaptable to any nonprofit and any strategy. However, with all the amazing features comes a significant cost. Raiser’s Edge takes strategizing and commitment – along with a substantial constituent base – in order to be used to its full potential. If you feel as though your nonprofit can afford the costs and take the time to properly prepare for its implementation, Raiser’s Edge may be the best tool for you to improve fundraising and managing constituents.


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