BBCON 2013: Top 10 Sessions for Raiser’s Edge Users

It’s almost that time of year again! BBCON provides the annual opportunity for Blackbaud product users and nonprofit technology leaders to network and exchange best practices. While the audience for the conference has evolved a bit over the years, the vast majority of attendees still represent nonprofit organizations who are using The Raiser’s Edge (RE) for their donor management needs. For that reason, there are always a number of great RE related sessions that appeal across a variety of experience levels.

After having the opportunity to attend all of the US Blackbaud Conferences over the past decade – and even the 2007 Canadian Conference in beautiful Vancouver, BC – I have definitely seen my share of Blackbaud related session content. Mostly good…some not as valuable. While there are some anchor topics that tend to show up every year (perhaps slightly repackaged), one thing that I also like to see are the new topics and presenters that keep the conference an exciting event year after year.

Before we jump into my top session picks from this year’s topics, it’s definitely worth noting that both of the general session presenters this year look very compelling. While perhaps not household names, the stories from buildOn and Wreaths Across America are very inspiring and should provide a return to some of the heartening stories shared at several past BBCON general sessions. Omatic is pretty excited about being a gold sponsor of BBCON this year, and we have some BIG news that we will be announcing at the conference, so don’t forget to stop by our booth!

Having said that, here is my take on some of the most compelling Raiser’s Edge related session picks to consider attending at BBCON 2013, listed chronologically:

1.Creating a Blackbaud Product User Group

Why you should attend: The presenters, Nora Isaac and David Berger, each coordinate very successful Blackbaud User Groups that meet quarterly in their respective geographic areas. Based on that, attendees can learn best practices for setting up a user group in their own areas and how to keep them going strong.

2.Gremlins Inside Your Raiser’s Edge

Why you should attend: Any session with“Gremlins” in the title deserves your attention. Beyond that, this session promises over 20 suggestions on improving your RE systems so I’m curious to see how many of them can be packed into one time slot.

3.Measuring Fundraising Effectiveness

Why you should attend: All organizations need to gauge their fundraising performance and this session should cover a simple and consistent method for doing just that by using RE to plug into the Fundraising Effectiveness Project for comparing year-over-year results and also comparing your results with similar organizations. This is presented by our very own Lyn Rowland, Manager of Professional Services. Lyn has been consulting on Blackbaud products for a very long time and holds a masters in Fundraising.

4.Mission IMPORTable – It’s More than Possible

Why you should attend: Xochitl Nisbet of American Red Cross, one of Omatic’s clients, will be covering how to address a common RE challenge – importing. She will show that not only is it possible to operate much more efficiently…she’ll outline exactly how they did it at her organization and discuss ImportOmatic.

5.Ignite Session: Tips and Tricks in TheRaiser’s Edge

Why you should attend: First off, Tiffany Crumpton is pleasure to know and is sure to continue her run at being a top presenter. She is also an RE expert and very well suited to lead a discussion on RE Tips and Tricks. This session should provide some great takeaways for anyone who joins. Take (or type) notes!

6.Raiser’s Edge Geek Forum 2: The Revenge

Why you should attend: Bring your popcorn and watch the show! In 2012, Part 1 of this forum got a great response but the panel ran out of time. Let the RE Geek debate continue…

7.Mastering Constituent Codes in The Raiser’sEdge

Why you should attend: Bill Connors is a renowned Raiser’s Edge expert who has literally written books on the product. If that is not reason enough, Bill has developed another great topic for the BBCON audience by focusing on one of the most important fields in The Raiser’s Edge—constituent codes.

8.Segmentation: The HOV Lane to Success

Why you should attend: We all know that communication with supporters is crucial and one size certainly does not fit all. As found in the session description: “The road to (understanding your audience) is found on the map called segmentation.” Seth Ghitelman will serve as your cartographer for this session that is sure to provide some great “been there – done that” advice for nonprofits looking to get more out of their segmentation efforts. Seth has been a long-time user of Omatic’s SegmentOmatic and has seen an incredible amount of success.

9.Blackbaud Certification in The Raiser’sEdge

Why you should attend: Blackbaud recently introduced a new certification program for The Raiser’s Edge. This session will outline the program and should be of interest to any RE user who would like to obtain this credential.

10.How Would You Enter THIS Gift?

Why you should attend: Bill Connors makes the list again by providing his take on the best ways to handle some of the trickiest gift situations encountered in RE.

While it’s actually not possible to make all of these sessions since some will overlap in their time slots, I encourage you to consider these if they match what you are trying to get out of the conference. BBCON packs a LOT of content into just a couple of days. This list can get you started thinking about which sessions you don’t want to miss. Choose wisely!


Stop by to see Omatic at BBCON in booth 103 of the Nonprofit Expo. We look forward to seeing you there!

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