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Getting Creative with Interactions in Blackbaud CRM™

By Selena Fowler

Have you ever needed to capture new data in Blackbaud CRM™, but with no 1:1 field relationship felt at a loss as to where to put it? At times like these, you might consider repurposing another data form. There are a few that you could get creative with – the one we want to talk about today is the Interactions; the variety of fields in this form make it extremely flexible and a perfect choice for repurposing as a means of collecting, storing, and displaying information.

So what makes this form so special? Well, you have both Summary and Comments fields for collecting text; the summary is your descriptive one-liner, and then you have a large capacity Comments field that can accommodate everything else.

You also have Category and Subcategory fields as well as a Contact method and Status fields, all of which can allow for some kind of differentiation and filtering. Combine this with the ability to create new pages and data lists to house your filtered interaction and you can start to develop a layout for your new data that is both meaningful and logical.

Wherever you decide to surface your data, as an interaction, of course, the data will also be available on the constituent record. And an added bonus – interactions can be added in bulk via a global change. This might prove particularly useful if you have large numbers of the same interaction to add.

A few examples of this repurposing that we’ve seen recently include:

1. A way of requesting Prospect Assignment

With an Interaction form, and a category of Assignment request users can request the assignment of a prospect. The interaction is added as pending until the request is completed. We’ve seen this type of request added via the Prospect Research Request form as well; either method works well.

2. An Event Waitlist

Taking advantage of both the Category and Status fields in the interactions form, if someone asks to be placed on your event’s waitlist you could add a pending interaction to note the waitlisting. This will display on the constituent’s record as an interaction, and a new datalist and tab within the event record that pulls on the interaction category of Waitlist can display the list. Once someone is moved from the waitlist to being registered, the interaction can be marked as completed.

3. An Event invitation approval list

Do you need staff to approve event invitations before they are sent? Create a pending interaction with a Category/Subcategory of Event/Invitation List to add the constituent to your approval list, and then use the completed status to update them to approved, and the canceled status to update them to denied. Add three new data lists to your event to differentiate between those that need approval and those that are approved or denied.

4. Importing data

How about the import of Email communications? With both summary and comments fields, the interaction add form could be the perfect place to add your email send information. Create a new data list and tab to display interactions with a Category of Email, and these would fit right into the Communications tab.

Perhaps you have some other great examples – or perhaps this has sparked your imagination! Reach out to us if you would like further information.

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