Bethany Avery | Practice Manager
The end of the calendar year often brings intense pressure to get high volumes of gifts committed in Blackbaud CRM™. Generosity (and tax deadlines) abound, mean there is plenty to be done for your revenue processing teams. Pair this with the realities that there are often reporting deadlines to be met and many employees take time off at the end of the year, and you can be left wondering how to fit it all in.
Does this sound familiar? Did your organization just survive another season of this? If so, read on to learn more about one method that may be worth considering to be better prepared for next year.
Despite the buzz around automation and the push to automate as many processes as possible in recent years, the reality is that many nonprofit organizations still have a number of data upload processes that are far from automated, and some for good reason. But often, if you take a closer look, there are processes waiting in the wings that could be good candidates to automate.
What might these processes look like? Here are a few characteristics:
Require minimal exception handling
Non-high-touch data (i.e. not those “infamous pledges” with 15 splits and complex exception to the rule scenarios)
May come from a vendor that drops a file to a shared location on a recurring basis
Data is typically clean and consistent; you know what to expect.
If you have any processes that fit this bill, it may be time to consider shifting them to a more automated, “auto-commit” process. For revenue uploads, there are two parts to making this work. First, your import process must be set up as a “Recurring” Import which looks for a file of a certain naming convention in a designated location and is running on a job schedule. Whether you are using a standard import process, or the BrightVine Data Loader, this is possible to do. And for those pesky processes that you would like to schedule, (or would like to schedule earlier in the day when possible), such as those where a vendor sometimes drops a file at 9 AM, and other times at 3 PM...we have a solution there as well! Read more about the BrightVine File Watcher utility for Blackbaud CRM™ here.
Once the import of your data to a revenue batch is automated, you’re halfway there. The other piece of the puzzle is setting the batch itself up to auto-commit. To do this, you will want to head to Administration > Batch > Commit Multiple Batches.
Once there, complete the simple add form to outline the nature of the batches you would like to auto-commit:
Don’t let the word “Multiple” throw you off here. If your import process creates one batch each day, you can still use this process. All you need to do is create a “Selection” that would find that batch, and use that as your commit criteria.
For example, say your Revenue Lockbox import creates a batch that begins with “LB” each day, but you don’t want it to pick up any Exception batches that may be out there at any given time with that same prefix, as your exception batches are worked manually. Your selection criteria would look like this (assuming you set your Exception batches to have an EXP or similar prefix, which I highly recommend):
Next, add a step for this newly created “Commit Multiple Batches” business process to the existing queue you have for the import or process in mind. If you do not have a queue yet, this would be the time to create one since you’ll want to schedule the import as Step 1, and then the batch commit to follow (Step 2).
Finally, you’ll want to make sure the “Batch Workflow” tied to your Batch Template supports auto-commit. To determine, go to Batch > Batch Entry > select Batch Workflows from the left-hand configuration menu. A sample auto-commit workflow could look like this, the important thing is that it must be able to be the initial status and allow commit within the same Step 1:
With that, you are now ready to set up an auto-commit batch process! For any questions on this content, or to talk more about the various ways that BrightVine can help you automate imports at large, contact us today.