The only way to remove records, reduce record count, and/or reduce database size in The Raiser's Edge is to delete them. Before deleting them, however, it is a good suggestion to backup and/or extract the identified records for future reference.

Prior to doing any work, ensure that a backup has been made: After the backup is confirmed, you could go forward with deleting the constituents outright. Or consider creating other data files in addition to the Raiser's Edge backup so those constituent records are available. The first step in both options, however is to determine which records that you wish to archive/delete.

This can be done by creating Raiser's Edge queries to group the records. Some things to consider are for these records are:
  • When was the last gift given?
  • When was the last time the constituent renewed his/her membership?
  • Does the constituent have a relationship/affiliation with another donor in the database?
  • Are the constituents contacts for an organization?
  • Are these records already marked deceased or inactive?
  • Are these constituents rated prospects for future cultivation?

Once the records are identified via Query*, there is an optional process to extract/export the information in The Raiser's Edge prior to deletion to save externally to the Raiser's Edge backup. One option to extract this data is to use Import as it will create these files with the needed import IDs should you ever desire to import these records back into The Raiser's Edge.

The process will involve creating import data files using Import. (*Multiple queries may be needed depending on the information desired, such as constituent query and a gift query to pull constituent information and gift information). A base constituent record of name, address, and gifts would involve the following the imports:
  • Constituent (*Constituent query)
  • Constituent Address (*Constituent query)
  • Gift (*Gift query)
Use the Include all fields option so no data is accidentally omitted. Additional information can be extracted using corresponding query and import types (*Action query for Action records, *Participant query for Event participant information, etc.)

The other option is to use a constituent Export in either CSV, Excel, or even Access format. This can put everything into one file but may be very large depending on the information selected.

After the backup and the secondary extract/export is complete, then proceed with the global deletion of constituents to remove them entirely from your Raiser's Edge.