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Blackbaud CRM™ Decoding Revenue Types

If confusion is the first step to knowledge, I must be a genius. -- Larry Leissner

“Revenue type”, “transaction type”, “application type”, “other” “application type”, “other” payment method . . . these are all part of revenue transactions in Blackbaud CRM ™, and they use similar and sometimes identical terminology. New users of the system are often confused, if not bewildered, by the pieces and parts and what they mean and what they are for. So here’s a cheat list to help explain.

Revenue type

The “revenue type” tells you “what kind of transaction is this? What function in the system does it serve?” The term appears on the revenue history and recognition history tabs. It also appears in some filters and reports. Revenue type is a broad bucket that transactions get placed in depending on various characteristics about the transaction. Some of the values are “event registration”, “grant”, “gift”, “membership”, and “other”. These can be used for various types of reports and are particularly helpful in weeding out charitable from non-charitable transactions (depending on how you’ve set things up). The value assigned to a transaction is not “choose-able”; it gets assigned automatically depending on how the transaction was entered and/or the application types on it.

Some of these terms overlap or may be redundant, depending on the transaction. For some organizations, grants are also gifts. Sometimes only some grants are gifts (charitable) and others are not (sponsored programs is a common term). The same is true of membership transactions. For some organizations, no part of a membership transaction is charitable, while for some, all or part of the membership transaction is charitable. Thus the label “membership” as a revenue type may or may not be useful in some cases, particularly “charitable gift” reporting.

Transaction type

This field identifies the type of transaction at a different level than the broad “Revenue type”. It is more about the structure of the transaction, whether it is commitment or payment. Some of the values for this field are “payment”, “pledge”, “recurring gift”, and “matching gift claim”. These values are selected at the time of transaction entry and are generally self-evident in their meaning to users with fundraising or gift processing experience.

Application type

The best way to think of this field is “how is this transaction being applied?” Yes, it’s a payment, but it is being applied to a pledge, for example? In that case, the “transaction type” would be “payment” and the “application type” would be “pledge”.

This is where some people get confused, because they see a “transaction type” of “pledge”, but they also see “pledge” as a valid value for “application type” (although not on the same transaction). The reason “pledge” is a valid value for both of those fields is that “pledge” in the “transaction type” means the transaction itself is a pledge (and the “revenue type” is “gift” and the “application type” is “donation”). “Pledge” in the “application type” means the transaction is paying or being applied to a pledge. (In that case, the “revenue type” is “gift”, and the “transaction type” is “payment”.)

There is an “other” “application type” in the system. Using this “application type” will cause the “revenue type” to be “other” as well. The system’s assumption when you use “other” as an “application type” is that the transaction is non-gift, or non-charitable. If this makes sense for your organization, use it. If it doesn’t, then don’t. (Some organizations only ever enter gift transactions in their fundraising CRM. Others track non-charitable transactions associated with gifts (stadium seat fees for athletics in higher ed is an example).

Then there is the “other” payment method, which has “other method type” values (organizationally determined). These fields allow you to track payment methods that are not “canned” in the system but that you wish to report on. Common values for “other method type” are “Payroll Deduction” or “Gift of Service” (in order to record the recognition credit). “Other” as an “application type”, then, means “not a charitable gift”, and “other” as a payment method can mean any kind of payment you want, and depending on which “application type” you select, and it may or may not be a charitable gift. The point here is that “other” “application type” is not the same and does not mean the same thing as “other” for a payment method. Same terminology, but they have different functions.

This is an overview of revenue coding, if you'd like to learn more or talk about your configuration, contact us by email or fill out our contact form. We'd be more than happy to discuss your specific questions.

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