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Blackbaud™ CRM Marketing Efforts Tips & Tricks

Blackbaud CRM™ Marketing Efforts and other marketing & communications tools are often viewed as complex, challenging and extremely time-consuming. But, are you really using this powerful functionality to its fullest extent or are you just bogged down in the minutiae?

Tips to make Marketing Efforts easier:

  • Ensure that your Source Code meets the needs for ALL of your marketing efforts.

  • Build frequently-used Creatives, Packages, Email Templates, Ask Ladders, Segments and Seeds up front so that you can reuse them across mailings.

  • Build a Standard Mail and Email Export Definition. You can always edit/add the fields as needed within the the mailings.

  • Identify selections (or groups) of Constituents you frequently mail, email or call and build the most basic queries possible, i.e. “All Alumni”, “All Parents”, “Grateful Patients”, “All Donors”,“Recency”, “Frequency”, Monetary”.

  • Always use the same Query Source View for your Selections and Export Definitions. We recommend the Constituent Marketing Source View because it allows you to use the “Segment Builder”.

  • Build selections as broadly as possible. The functionality was designed to create broad groups.

  • Avoid using “Exists In” criteria in your Selections. This will bog down the system and cause your Marketing Effort calculations, and the entire system, to run slower.

  • Utilize the Exclusion Selections and Universe in the Marketing Effort to limit your pool rather than building exclusion/inclusion criteria into the Selection.

Now it’s time to create the Segments:

  • After building your Selections, use the “Segment Builder” to create multiple segments. This is a powerful feature and will cut your time dramatically. NOTE: Back in the early days of Blackbaud CRM ™, this functionality was called the Segment Builder. Now you can find it in Segments>Create Multiple Segments on the Taskbar.

  • Create a Selection and Segment worksheet to give your users standardization around the Segment Code values. Make sure your Segment Code length matches the Segment length in your Source Code.

  • Use the “Alias” field to shorten the name of your selections. There is a character limit in the Segment Builder.

  • Remember that the order of the Selections within the Segment Builder tool is hierarchical, so build your sets with than in mind.

  • Use Segment Groups. This will allow you to pull all the Segments into a Marketing Effort at once rather than adding Segments one at a time.

  • If you don’t need complex Segments in a Marketing Effort, there is nothing wrong with building a Segment with only one Selection.

Marketing Effort Selection and Segments Fun Fact:

Do you only use Marketing Efforts for solicitations? Why not use them to dedupe non-solicitations as well?

To dramatically cut down on your effort-building time (and the related headaches) here are 3 key points to remember:

  1. Build as much standardization into your process as possible.

  2. Identify frequently used Selections and Segments and build them early in the process - in advance of Go Live, if possible. They can be copied between environments using the Blackbaud Configuration Manager Utility. If you don’t have the tool, ask your engagement manager or find it on the BB website under the downloads section.

  3. Marketing Efforts can be copied. The “Copy” feature tends to be under-utilized and it is a powerful tool. If you send multiple mailings year to year with similar criteria to the same audience, copy one of your previous efforts rather than starting a new one from scratch.

Still getting that migraine? Direct marketing efforts or communications efforts don't have to be a pain! The proper design and configuration can take the ache away. A company that specializes in managed services for nonprofits can help your organization become highly organized, increase production and response time, and ensure you meet deadlines.

Managed services vendors can administer many aspects of your marketing and communications programs. From creating segmentation to exporting the data, to serving as the liaison between client and vendors, a managed services group can ensure that timelines and objectives are being met.

“We hired Brightvine in 2014 to help us assess and rebuild the work processes around data management We found Brightvine to be incredibly knowledgeable, easy to work with and flexible. We were so pleased with their work that we placed them on retainer to provide ongoing support and had them takeover our DMS services and BBDM management. They are consummate professionals, flexible, knowledgeable and are more concerned with getting the job done right than they are about billable hours."

BrightVine can help you find significant efficiencies, giving your staff the freedom to fundraise and strategize on appropriate stewardship plans, prepare for future marketing & communications efforts and focus on the donors. Leveraging years of industry expertise and deep knowledge of best practices, we can ensure your program runs much more efficiently – allowing you to focus on your mission, not the software.

If you’d like to learn more about how Brightvine can help you, or you’d like to discuss your direct marketing/marketing communications efforts, please feel free to connect with us.

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