Today’s focus is on fundraising reports.
Is it the 5th day of our blog series already?! We hope that the last four posts have helped you utilize extra time you have during this extraordinary time. We’d love to hear from you, so let us know if you have questions or would like to talk to one of us about your challenges. Without further ado, below is our final post for this series – go forth and tighten up your fundraising operations!
We all have them. Those reports that require just a little bit of manipulation outside the database. We dump data into Excel and fiddle with the data every time the report needs to be run. We tell ourselves, “One day, I am going to fix this report.” That day has arrived! The goal of this exercise is either automating the report in Excel or fixing the report so it pulls correctly.
Make an inventory of all reports that need to be pulled weekly/monthly/annually, including board and committee reports.
Let’s peek at everything you generate for all parties. Is there duplication? Could some reports feed two birds with one seed? As you peruse your list, 1) mark which ones need manipulation outside the database; 2) mark which ones can be fixed within the database; 3) highlight those that might be combined; and 4) star the reports that don’t need to be fixed (celebrate those!).
Fix those that can be fixed within the database.
This is an exercise in powering through! There is a reason why you haven’t fixed the report and continue to have workarounds. Maybe you didn’t have the time or maybe it took some research that you haven’t gotten around to. Now is the time to fix that report. It might be that you need to use a different report to get exactly what you need. Just power through and remember that this is about being kind to your future self!
Automate in Excel.
Sometimes the reports in your database can’t handle complex formulas or pull all the data you want into one beautiful report. So, we go to our favorite tool: Excel. If you find yourself exporting data to excel and then manipulating it every time, we have good news for you.
Once you export your data, put it into Excel. Name the tab “data goes here.” Open the next tab in the worksheet and name it “report.” On this tab build the report you want to see, including the formulas and all the formatting. All the data you need should be in the “data goes here” tab so you can reference it in your formulas. Once all the formulas are built, all you need to do is export the data from your database and copy and paste it into the “data goes here” tab. The “report” tab will automatically update. Make sure not to change any columns in your export as you’ll break your formulas.
Bonus Tip: Be a proactive report producer! We find that many database administrators produce exactly what is requested of them, nothing more/nothing less. You are fulfilling your duties, but as the database administrator, you live in that database every day and see trends and opportunities that others might not. Be proactive and build reports that will help your gift officers and director of development. They will be delighted that you took the initiative.
We hope this blog series was helpful to you! Let us know if you have questions – we’d love to help you. You can schedule a free consultation with someone on the Ravela team or you can request a blog topic.