Using Raiser's Edge NXT
Overall Satisfaction with Raiser's Edge NXT
Raider's Edge NXT is used exclusively by our development office to maintain constituent information. The Augustine Institute outgrew maintaining contacts with its friends in an Excel spreadsheet quickly, and we have been using Raiser's Edge for years. We upgraded to NXT in November 2015 because it is a better product and came with unlimited licenses, which is important to our small but growing department. NXT now enables better communications about our constituents, reporting, and management of gift officers.
- NXT is web-based and does not require a third-party plugin like RE classic did, which makes it more user-friendly, especially for our gift officers.
- At first, we were frustrated by the limited functionality of NXT, and resorted to classic frequently, as we had done in the past. But we've been pleasantly surprised by the pace of development. Every month it seems that Blackbaud rolls out a new feature, and many of them have been immediately useful.
- Because we were already cloud-based with RE classic, switching to NXT was seamless and painless. It was simply turning on a new functionality, not losing anything. That aspect of it was very well thought out. I've seen transitions requiring data transfer go horribly wrong, and Blackbaud's approach avoided those pitfalls completely.
- Functionality was initially so limited that we did not use NXT much. But the improvements have come quickly, and we look forward to more. We love the Analyze feature, and as more customization is enabled there, we will use it more and more for our reporting.
- I haven't spent the time necessary to get NXT on my mobile device, and I have had officers come to me with difficulties in setting that up. One officer was able to without any problems. So this is an area that could possibly be more user-friendly.
- Within NXT's Analyze function, it is now possible to drill down into various appeals or life cycle categories to get a list of constituents. This is great information. The next step is being able to batch-apply actions, or simply print out the list. As it stands, both of those steps take a little more work than I hope they will.
- Operational Efficiency
- Increased revenue from new donors
- Increased revenue from existing donors
We were already cloud deployed, so we didn't expect any change there. Because our department has grown quickly, it is a no-brainer to say we have realized the operational efficiency we were hoping for. It is a little too soon to report on increased revenue from new and existing donors, but I can say that with Online Express, which was included in our NXT package, we have been able to send and track email communications more easily, and setting up donation forms and tracking their performance has been simple.
Besides NXT, we have a couple of RE classic licenses, Online Express, Financial Edge and Education Edge. We're recently outgrown Financial Edge and will be transitioning away from that, but until recently, the integration with FE has been appreciated, and has made end of month reporting fairly simple. Online Express has been a huge asset for us, allowing us to manage email communications within the RE environment, and enabling easy online event and donation management. Because of the simplicity, there are some limitations in Online Express that we find annoying - formatting of emails and forms we hope will be improved in the future. We have been disappointed with Education Edge - as a graduate school, its tools are not very useful, and we end up not benefiting too much from the integration of RE and EE. As a result, I expect we will transition away from EE in the near term. We do benefit a great deal from the online forums and information provided by Blackbaud.
I've used NetSuite, Oracle, and other higher-education-specific CRMs. I find RE - classic and NXT - to be very user-friendly, intuitive, and functional compared with others. By having the specific focus of nonprofit fundraising, there are a lot of options that are not needed, that would be more clutter and less utility. I think RE does a good job of offering a full range of features to support fundraising, while avoiding "mission creep" (i.e., adding features that are less relevant).
For a growing department like ours, where we have several folks adept at Raiser's Edge (RE) classic, but newer officers coming in, NXT flattens the learning curve, allowing gift officers to see the information they need and record their tasks with almost no training on the software. But you can't do certain basic things, like add a new constituent, in NXT. For that, you need to use RE classic. So for a very small organization, or one just adopting a new system, there will still need to be a more data-oriented person to perform these functions in classic, and the benefits of NXT might not be so obvious.
Raiser's Edge NXT Implementation
We adopted NXT when our fundraising department was small, so rolling it out to our officers has been seamless. It took 6-12 months to settle on how to use it, and now have established an in-house users' guide specifying what fields are important. We have had good response from Blackbaud tech support when we have needed it. We are less satisfied with the responses to contractual and billing questions related to implementation.
- Contractual issues: We switched to NXT about 4 years ago. Certain services offered by Blackbaud were no longer needed, and were supposed to have been dropped from the contract. Recently we realized that Blackbaud had continued charging us for those services. We are currently disputing those charges.
- When we implemented Raiser's Edge NXT in 2014, it had an extremely limited feature set, so that I typically used the database view to do any real work. Blackbaud has been building out the features of NXT, and in 2018, I hardly ever need to use the database view.
Using Raiser's Edge NXT
Compared to earlier iterations of Raiser's Edge, NXT is a game-changer. It is a basic enabling technology for our development team. I give it 8 out of 10 because there are a few features that I'd like to see that are not implemented yet (e.g., nicely formatted printouts of the attractive data presentations available on NXT). But all the mission-critical functions are in place, and new features are being released at a pretty rapid pace. Overall, quite happy with NXT.
Like to use
Easy to use
Technical support not required
Quick to learn
Feel confident using
- There are some nice automated reports, so certain reports are emailed each week or each month to the people who need to know.
- Access to the records I am looking for is quick and straightforward. The web-based interface (rather than the Citrix interface) is quick to log in to - I probably log in 10 times each day. The security timeout is not adjustable, so I am often logged out when I work on other projects. This is a small annoyance, but since logging in is so quick, it is not a big annoyance.
- I appreciate the ability to locate records for people within x miles of a location - this is an easy search in NXT that was impossible before.
- Lists are not difficult, but are less customizable than in the database view.
- Documents attached or uploaded in NXT are not available in the database view. All documents uploaded in the database view are accessible through NXT.
- Security time-out after inactivity is not adjustable. This is only slightly annoying.