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Congressional Redistricting: A Clever Use Case for Blackbaud CRM & BrightVine Data Link

By: Bethany Avery and Megan Bailey Constantino

For all of our BrightVine Data Link customers, we know that it is very valuable to learn about different ways that organizations are using the tool. As such, we want to highlight one recent use case as it solves a complicated business need without customization, while also showcasing lesser known functionality in BVDL like the BVDL query views, a powerful complement to the import engine. Many people aren’t even aware you can query the BVDL staging tables! 🤯 We hope that examples like these help build your understanding of the many ways you can leverage BVDL.

Use Case: The use case behind this process was a need to populate congressional district on a large number of high-touch records which the organization did not want to push through address validation. As you may be aware, there were large scale changes to numerous congressional districts in 2022, rendering previous values inaccurate for many constituents. Congressional District, which is provided and populated by Address Accelerator, is an important field for many organizations conducting advocacy work. As such, this organization revalidated the vast majority of their primary addresses through the standard bulk “Data Tune Up” processes in Blackbaud CRM™. However, their high-touch major donor and prospect records are routinely excluded from address validation to ensure that these hand-curated addresses do not get changed or standardized without the direct oversight of the prospect manager. This posed a need to retrieve the new congressional district from the address validation files, without actually validating the address. Below we will describe how we achieved this with BVDL, in hopes that you learn something new about the tool along the way!

Process: Re-populating Congressional District outside of Address Validation using BVDL

Step 1: The first step was to create a source file of the major donor and prospect records that needed to go through the process. Using a constituent query export, include constituent lookup ID, address system record ID, address, city, state, zip and country.

Step 2: This step is all about generating the new district info that we can retrieve in Step 3.

Prepare a BVDL mapping and process for the file created in Step 1. Very important, this process should be set to “Staging Only” mode with Address Accelerator enabled (including the Apply Extra Fields options as that is necessary for obtaining the Congressional District, which is our objective). Process 1 Address Accelerator options should look like this:

Of note, the “Display validation errors” is not required but allows us to see any records that fail validation altogether, and therefore will not receive a district value via the service (such as incomplete addresses).

Step 3: Next we will use the BVDL Query Views to query the instance of the BVDL process that we ran in Step 2, and use those query views to extract the new district value, the constituent lookup ID and the address system record ID (3 fields). This step is about retrieving the Congressional District data only, in a format we can process in Step 4, since again, we don’t want to push through all of the address validations changes, just the latest Congressional District.

To do this, first select “BVDL Import” when you go to add a new ad-hoc query:

From here, you want to include the GUID of the Import run itself, which you will find here:

Use that field in your selection criteria, and populate it with the GUID of your import, which you can find by going into the Import Exceptions screen of the run in question, and pull the record ID from the URL, as shown here:

Lastly, we will use the “BVDL Staging Source” sub-node to pull out the Staged data we need to know, which in this case is the BVDL Constituent Lookup ID, the address guid and the Congressional District:

Results would looks something like this:

Save and export these query results using standard export functionality, and boom, you have your import file for Step 4.

Step 4: Finally, we simply prepare a second BVDL process that maps the file (3 fields only) from Step 3, and is run in Staging & Processing mode. Importantly, this process should not have address accelerator enabled, since again our entire objective was to avoid validating the address in full. So our settings for the second process now look like this:

While you may have some exceptions for those addresses which Address Accelerator is unable to validate (such as incomplete addresses), this was a quick, easy and customization free way to achieve our unique need! Following the processing of this second process, we were able to see the updated districts and expected changes on our records. We hope this helps you consider ways that you can use BVDL queries to power your business too!


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