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Blackbaud CRM™ Recognition Credits Part 2: Tips & Tricks

In the last post about Blackbaud CRM™ (Inconceivable! Recognition Credits in Blackbaud CRM ™ ), we explored how giving recognition credits to both the donor and other entities and how distinguishing recognition credits by type were superior to the standard hard credit/soft credit model. In this post, we have more examples of how using different types of recognition credits can and have been used for reporting.

The first example is of an organization with a recognition program that counts only gifts that are “the donor’s money”. Included in the definition of “the donor’s money” are gifts from a donor advised fund or made through a company owned by the donor. (Remember we are talking about a recognition, not IRS recognized donations/not tax deductions, etc.) If all the recognition credits from someone-who-is-not-the-donor and not-the-donor’s-spouse were simply “Third Party” and “Spouse Third Party”, this might not be so easy to figure out. Some “Third Party” credits would count, but most wouldn’t, but they’d all read “Third Party”.

To solve this problem, we can have additional recognition credit types of “Business Owner”, “Spouse Owner”, “DAF” (Donor Advised Fund), and “Spouse DAF”. (To understand why we need “Spouse” versions of these credit types, see the previous post.)

Going back to our friends Doug and Mary, if they have been making gifts to our organization with “their own money”, through their donor advised fund, and through their company, The Clothing Emporium, their recognition history tab would look like this.

Mary Doug

$10,000 DAF $10,000 Spouse DAF

$1,000 Spouse $1,000 Self

$5,000 Owner $5,000 Spouse Owner

$500 Self $500 Spouse

All of these credits happen to count toward the giving society because they meet the rule about “the donor’s money”. “Third Party” and “Spouse Third Party” credits do not count for this giving society, and Westley and Buttercup don’t have any. But if I wanted to know how much of this money actually came from Mary and Doug directly (and not indirectly via their DAF or their business), I can tell that from the recognition credit types (“Self” and “Spouse”).

“That IS madness! That is going to kill the gift processors,” you may be thinking. Ah, but it will not! It is possible to set up a relationship between Doug and Mary and the Clothing Emporium and their donor advised fund so that a default is in place regarding the recognition credit types and the behavior when gifts are made. Every time the Emporium makes a gift, the system can automatically add the “Owner” and “Spouse Owner” recognition credits for Doug and Mary. Every time their donor advised fund makes a gift, the system can automatically add the “DAF” and “Spouse DAF” recognition credits for Westley and Buttercup. The gift processors don’t have to do anything extra when processing the gifts.

Another example of creative recognition credit use has to do with making a gift “for” another person. Let’s say that it is the policy at our organization to allow people to make gifts of gifts. Aunt Betty is making a gift “for” Niece Suzie so Niece Suzie can buy her magical football tickets and get a really good seat in the stadium. Aunt Betty also has her own football tickets and her own really good seat in the stadium, so Aunt Betty also has a gift “for” herself. In addition, our organization likes to calculate points based on total dollars given for athletics, and the gift that Aunt Betty gave “for” Niece Suzie counts for Niece Suzie, not for Aunt Betty (although it is Aunt Betty’s money). What are we to do with that?

As I am sure you know, if Aunt Betty is making the gift, we must record the gift on Aunt Betty’s record. She needs to get a tax receipt. When we calculate the points, we can do it based on recognition credits, not on the revenue history. For the gift that Aunt Betty made “for” herself and her magical football tickets and her really good seat in the stadium, she gets “Self” credit. For the gift that Aunt Betty made “for” Niece Suzie, she gets “Self-Do Not Count” credit. Niece Suzie gets a credit type of whatever we want to use that we will know means “not-her-money-but-will-pull-for-points-calculations-only”, so let’s say “Points-Third Party”.

Madness again, right? Why on earth would anyone do that? Why not just leave the credits that go to Niece Suzie off Aunt Betty’s record altogether instead of making up another recognition credit type and editing it during entry, and then having to exclude it when pulling information for points calculations? This is bonkers! No, it’s not bonkers. We are doing this because we will be using recognition credits for lots of things, including running reports for prospecting. There are many things that come into play when building prospect lists, and past giving is one of them. If we pull our giving totals based solely on what is on the revenue history tab, we will miss all those donor advised fund gifts and all those gifts through donor-owned businesses or family-run foundations. All of that lives on the recognition credit tab. Therefore, we should be pulling that information from the recognition history and filtering out the recognition credit types that are irrelevant (“Third Party”). If we have not been giving people credit for their own gifts because we “weren’t going to recognize them”, we are going to be short-changing ourselves when it comes to seeing their complete giving. And the whole beauty of the recognition credit system is we don’t have to be torturing ourselves with untangling the mess of revenue plus recognition and what is a duplicate of what and which belongs to whom (which was explained in the previous “Inconceivable!” post).

With the “Self-Do Not Count” credit, Aunt Betty’s gift “for” her niece will not get counted toward Aunt Betty’s own priority point calculations, but for anything else under the sun we may be doing (because we know that that recognition credit type only means do-not-count-for-priority-points), that gift will be included. We know she made it and can see it in her recognition history. If Aunt Betty was very generous and was paying for Niece Suzie to have a $5,000 gift for several years, and we didn’t give Aunt Betty her “Self-Do Not Count” credit, when we ran a giving total based on recognition credits (for anything other than priority points), Aunt Betty’s giving totals would be inaccurately low by thousands and thousands of dollars.

Having shared these examples, let me also say this.

  • Do not go hog-wild and create a bunch of recognition credit types for everything under the sun. (One of my big rules: Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.) They should not be used to describe why someone got recognition credit. You don’t want to end up with “Birthday”, “Spouse Birthday”, “Graduation”, “Spouse Graduation”, “Tribute”, “Spouse Tribute”, etc. The purpose of the recognition credit types is for filtering when reporting or building recognition societies. Remember that the more you have, the more your query and report writers are going to have to contend with.

  • These (simplified) examples are to demonstrate how recognition credits can be used in creative ways to filter on the recognition credit tab or include or exclude certain transactions without having to jump through a lot of hoops that you might have had to otherwise. I am not suggesting that you run out and implement any of the above complications for your giving societies or priority points policies if you don’t already have them. Not, of course, that there is anything wrong with them, but if your life is simple and carefree, be happy and keep it that way.

You may not be an organization that has to worry about magical football tickets or seats in a stadium, or complex rules for recognition societies, but just about everybody has as situation where gifts are credited and counted in unusual ways depending on the situation. Recognition credits can help you manage that.

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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