Understanding Campaigns, Funds, and Appeals

Campaigns:  Campaigns are your overall objectives for raising money. For example, a school that's planning to build a new library could have a New Library Campaign. You can think of a campaign as an umbrella that can have any number of funds and appeals under it. The school could have both a Building Fund and a Book Fund under the New Library Campaign. The overall objective is to raise money for the new library.

Funds: Funds designate the specific financial purpose of a gift. They identify the financial accounts in which gifts and pledges should be recorded and are key to managing your gifts. Because funds are so closely linked with gifts, Fund is a required field on a gift record. If your organization has many specifically designated purposes for gifts, you may have many different funds and only a few campaigns. You can associate funds with campaigns and appeals so that when you add a fund to a gift, default campaigns and appeals automatically appear on the gift record.  If you have The General Ledger, the fund in The Raiser's Edge corresponds to the project in The General Ledger. 
Appeals: Appeals track the sources your organization uses to generate gifts and the expenses associated with these sources. You can set up appeals such as direct mailings, phonathons, dinners and auctions and track the number of constituents you solicit for each appeal. You can also define a default benefit given to those who give (or donate) to an appeal (such as a coffee mug, t-shirt, or newsletter subscription) and how much each benefit costs your organization. You can run a wide variety of reports to determine the success and cost effectiveness of your appeals.

How to use Campaigns, Funds, and Appeals

The Raiser's Edge offers several ways to help you track your donations more effectively. You can create general campaigns, funds, and appeals that you can reuse every year, you can create specific ones as necessary, or you can use a combination. The first step is to understand how campaigns, funds, and appeals work and be aware of the pros and cons of each tracking method. 

  • General Campaigns, Funds, and Appeals

    Setting up general campaigns, funds, and appeals prevents you from entering new ones each year and gives you fewer to manage. However, this method has some limitations.
    For example, you use the following general campaigns, funds, and appeals every year: Annual Scholarship Campaign, Scholarship Fund, and Fall Phonathon. Although you may receive scholarship gifts in different years, you still apply them to same campaign, fund, and/or appeal. Later, when you report or query on the campaign, fund, or appeal for the fiscal or calendar year, you must include a gift date range because no year is specified on the record.
    What if a constituent gives a gift in 2016 in response to the 2015 Fall Phonathon? Because this gift was not given in 2016, it will not appear in that year's reports or queries. Another concern is the inability to track campaign, fund, or appeal goals each year. This limitation is even more important with appeals because you cannot track expenses and the number solicited from year to year. 

  • Specific Campaigns, Funds, and Appeals

    Setting up specific campaigns, funds, and appeals allows you to manage each one individually. This helps you accurately track each one's goal, maintain historical information from previous years, and compare each year's success. You can also track expenses and the number solicited for appeals. 

    For example, you create specific campaigns, funds, and appeals for 2016: 2016 Scholarship Campaign, 2016 Scholarship Fund, and 2016 Phonathon. You can query or report on these without specifying a gift date range. If a constituent gives a gift in 2017 intended for the 2016 Scholarship Fund, you can still select the appropriate fund on the gift record and accurately report the fund's success regardless of the gift date. 

    A drawback of this method is the accumulation of a large number of campaigns, funds, and appeals. Grouping campaigns, funds, and appeals together (for example, 2016 Annual Campaign, 2016 Membership Campaign, and 2016 Scholarship Campaign) can improve data entry consistency. 

    • To manage your list of campaigns, funds, and appeals in The Raiser's Edge 7, mark the Is Inactive checkbox on the campaign, fund, or appeal. 
  • Combination of the Two Methods

    You can also use a combination of the two methods to track your fundraising efforts. For example, you can create general campaigns and specific funds. For the Annual Scholarship Campaign, set up specific scholarship funds, such as the William J. Parker Scholarship Fund, to track the gifts received for each scholarship. If you use both general campaigns and funds such as the Annual Scholarship Campaign and Scholarship Fund, assign an appeal or gift attribute denoting the specific scholarship.
    In either method, you can run a Statistical Report or a Comparisons and Summaries Report based on fund, gift appeal, or gift attribute to get a precise count of gifts given to a particular scholarship.


Additional Information

After you decide what method for setting up your campaigns, funds, and appeals is best for your organization, document it in your policies and procedures guide and use it consistently.  For shared customer examples, visit the Raiser's Edge User Community. And for more information, refer to the Campaigns, Funds, & Appeals Data Entry Guide (PDF).