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Spring Cleaning Blackbaud CRM™

It is time to clean up your database!

Springtime is a great reminder to do some cleaning. Clean out those closets, garages and yes your database. Over time, your Blackbaud CRM™ database will grow to accommodate a whole slew of data from:

  • Temporary tables generated from system processes, like Direct Marketing Effort exports, Batch imports, Ad-hoc Query exports, and Acknowledgement processes

  • Newly created Attributes, because each Attribute generates its own table in the database

  • Enabled Audit Tables, which grow in size to capture every update

  • Constituent loads from online giving, or outside systems, which add to the universe of Constituents in the system. Keep in mind that when a Constituent is deceased, the record remains in the database

Understanding normal database growth, and establishing a regular purging regimen, will help keep the growth in-check.

Query Clean Up

One place to start your cleaning is with your queries. Get rid of any queries that were created but never used. If there are some queries you don’t use often but don’t want to delete them then create a folder for these queries and store them there.

Deleting Ad-hoc queries can be a challenge - often, the query or it’s resulting Selection may be used elsewhere within the system. There is no way to easily retrace your steps to remove the association so that you can delete the query. We recommend creating an “Archive” folder in the Information Library, and moving queries into that folder when they are no longer used. A script can be run from the back-end of CRM on a regular basis to remove them.

Code tables

This is a great time to look at your code tables and clean up ones that are not used. Did you know that you can make a code table value inactive if it has been in use but is no longer needed? That will retain the existing data as-is, but remove the value from drop-down menus going forward.

Data clean up

Run a few quality control queries to catch duplicates, missing titles, missing genders and blank address lines. If you find duplicates, consider merging the records because both records have a wealth of knowledge of that donor, and you don’t want to lose that information. We recommend setting up a Data Integrity functional area in CRM to house these queries. Often, when displaying the quality control queries as datalists and tabs, organizations are more likely to do regular checkups on their data, fixing anomalies as they arise rather than waiting for an annual Spring Cleaning.

Update Business Rules

Create time-saving settings that help with data entry users. Did you know that you can hide fields on many of the Add, Edit, and View forms in CRM? You can also make fields required or default their values, enabling data integrity at the time of data entry. Advanced Configuration will help you support your business rules within the system by bringing important information together in one place, and streamlining the data entry process for your users.

Check security settings for all users

Make sure the correct users have the correct rights. Users that only need view rights might be set for edit rights. If employees have left your organization make sure their rights are turned off, and if they are owners of queries or processes within your database reassign the owner to someone new.

Take this opportunity to check-in with users, to determine if they are still performing processes outside of the system. Perhaps expanded security would allow them access to tools in the system that support their workflows. (This is also a great time to offer “Refresher Training” to ensure that users are comfortable with system processes, and their routines are as efficient as possible.)

Data standardization

Frequently audit your data that is going in. Make sure all data entry users are aware of your organization data standardization processes. It is important to document your standards, and ensure you update these documents when changes in the process occur. Global Data Entry Settings in CRM is a great place to start, to review how you handle similar inbound data. Often organizations will find that they are inadvertently duplicating phone numbers or email addresses when the inbound data actually matches, because of these settings.

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