bbcon 2014: A Baker’s Dozen of Top Sessions for Raiser’s Edge Users

This year’s bbcon is quickly approaching and this time we will be in an exciting new location – Nashville! Each year, this conference provides the opportunity for Blackbaud product users and nonprofit technology leaders to network and exchange best practices.

With an audience that is still expected to be largely represented by nonprofit organizations using The Raiser’s Edge® (RE) for their donor management needs, this year’s agenda of breakout sessions provides another heavy dose of RE related sessions that appeal across a variety of experience levels. We’ll take a look at some additional promising session content in an upcoming blog post, but for now we’ll concentrate on those sessions that focus on The Raiser’s Edge. There are so many to choose from that I could not settle on an even 10 sessions, so I went with a baker’s dozen!

Without further ado, here is my take on some of the most compelling – and specifically Raiser’s Edge related – sessions to consider while attending BBCON 2014, listed chronologically:

  1. The Raiser’s Edge Product Roadmap (1 & 2) 
    • Why you should attend: This is always a popular topic for RE enthusiasts as Blackbaud walks through their product development efforts and plans for RE.
  2. Do It Yourself RFM Scoring & Analytics for The Raiser’s Edge
    • Why you should attend: It’s always great to check out DIY methods for getting things done in RE! This session is led by a great guy, Josh Bekerman, who is also the organizer for TOUBUG (The Officially Unofficial Colorado Blackbaud Users Group).
  3. Putting a Stewardship Plan in Place with The Raiser’s Edge
    • Why you should attend: Good stewardship is so important to effective fundraising, yet many are not that effective at leveraging RE for stewardship. This session should address this issue head on.
  4. Managing Events in The Raiser’s Edge  
    • Why you should attend: From what we’ve seen, RE: Events users often still find themselves struggling with spreadsheets outside of their systems and managing events in RE in general, which is a big reason for why we built EventOmatic. Apparently, others have noticed similar challenges and this session should help people with some great tips and trick specific to the Events module.
  5. The RE: Geek Module 3.0 Upgrade
    • Why you should attend: It’s back! After some uncertainty as to whether the geeks would be back for another round, we can now rest assured that this unfiltered panel debate on RE best practices can again be a part of your bbcon experience! Amazingly, this session actually has its own website, complete with “geek” profiles, designed for pre-conference topic submission:
  6. Taking the Dreary out of The Raiser’s Edge Query
    • Why you should attend: First of all, let’s give a nod of approval to the session title. With that out of the way, this one sounds even more promising because it is billed as a “how-to” session and we all know that many of us could use some help with Query. Speaking of Query, we’ve got an app for that also – QueryOmatic!
  7. Raiser’s Edge Constituent Scoring & Data Visualization
    • Why you should attend: Jim Bush (bCRE) returns to bbcon after having been named the top overall conference speaker on numerous occasions! In this session, he’ll be joining Washburn University Foundation as they showcase their success with innovations to their approach towards scoring and data visualizations in RE
  8. What is bCRE? 
    • Why you should attend: Have you been wanting to learn more about the buzz around Blackbaud’s (somewhat) new Raiser’s Edge certification program? Well, here’s your chance! This session should cover everything you want to know about the program for RE certification and distinguish RE users by immediately verifying their expertise.    …or if you already know about the bCRE program and just need some convincing, try this session: Why Should I Get Certified in The Raiser’s Edge? Honest Answers from a Recovering Skeptic.
  9. Best Practices in Raiser’s Edge Data Integrity Management 
    • Why you should attend: As indicated in the session description, “garbage in, garbage out” does not set you up for success when it comes to RE! This “how to” session will help users avoid those pitfalls by sharing best practices.
  10. Making The Raiser’s Edge Your Direct Marketing Machine
    • Why you should attend: If you manage lots of data in your fundraising process (list selection, segmentation, processing gifts, and analyzing results), you’ll need to optimize your RE processes to get the most from your direct marketing programs. This session will provide a great place to start with the tools and methods needed to do so. Plus, the session led by two bCRE professionals, including former top overall bbcon speaker recipient Jim Bush, so we can vouch for their expertise!
  11. Gremlins in your Raiser’s Data 2014 Edition
    • Why you should attend: From all accounts, this was a great session at bbcon 2013 and so Jeff returns to share on the latest gremlins occupying our RE databases.
  12. Align Your Workflow in The Raiser’s Edge for Maximum Impact!  
    • Why you should attend: The keywords in this session description are what got me excited! Blake has been at the YMCA of Middle Tennessee since 2010 and should be able to teach us a thing or two about streamlining processes.
  13. Query! Export! Reports! Oh, My! Where Do I Go in The Raiser’s Edge?
    • Why you should attend: Sandy is a delight and RE expert to boot! She’ll help you navigate everything from the major highways to the dirt roads in RE.

You won’t be able to make all of the sessions outlined here since some will overlap in their time slots, but 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!

Stop by to see Omatic at bbcon in the Expo Hall.  We look forward to seeing you there!


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