Pros & Cons of Using Full Constituent Relationship Records vs. Non-Constituent Relationship Records in The Raiser’s Edge®

Feb 24, 2014

A full relationship record in The Raiser’s Edge® is one that is created on the relationships tab of the main constituent’s record and has a life of its own. Some organizations, however, prefer to use non-constituent records when making relationships to their existing constituent records. This article will discuss both the pros and the cons of using full constituent records as relationships instead of non-constituent records. Hopefully, the situations posed below will lend themselves to an internal conversation on promoting those non-constituent records to fully maximize the management of constituent data.


1. Full constituent relationships enable a holistic view of a constituent and their relationships

Bio information, gift-giving, propensity to give, actions, volunteer information, the list just goes on and on and can be viewed at a glance on a full constituent record. Full constituent records allow the whole picture of a constituent to be seen, queried, reported on, and exported without a great deal of footwork. Knowing who your constituents are and not having to dig through levels of relationships within several different records can help your bottom line when it comes to time and money.

2. Full constituent relationships behave like normal constituent records, because they are normal records that make staying in touch with your constituents headache-free

A recent news story comes to mind when explaining this “pro.” OfficeMax, although not a non-profit, is still a business that handles tons of client data. The corporation sent a mailing out to their customers and when the mailing was received by one customer whose daughter was recently deceased, the mail was addressed to “Mark Sera and daughter who died in a car accident last year.” This is an extreme example of a very mortifying situation. However, imagine if this happened in your database with one of your donors? What would the ramifications be to that mistake? Lots of money lost and a bad reputation for data management. This situation appears to have been the cause of an addressee/salutation that may have been pulling information entered on a non-constituent record for the daughter. Full constituent records will allow you to export and mail to individuals and exclude non-constituents completely. Another important thing to remember is that the death of main donor doesn’t leave you with no contact when you are using full constituent records.


1. Duplicates of the same disjointed information on multiple records

For this “con” let’s imagine that we are looking for all of the volunteers from Omatic Software that could help out with your latest drive or event. You know that you have all of the Omatic employees in your database but you can’t remember all of their names. You locate a record for one of the employees and notice that Omatic Software is listed and proceed to open the relationship record to view the full constituent record. Upon opening the Omatic relationship record you realize that it is only a non-constituent organization record. This means that it is exclusive to that employee record and you don’t have any way to track down all of the other Omatic employees. You just lost nearly 30 potential volunteers by not having a full constituent record for Omatic Software with all of the Omatic employees linked to that full record.

 2. They are difficult to query and mail

Querying is built to locate full constituent record information. So, working with the system is going to yield better results than working against the system. Gathering and grouping information that is able to be exported with a spherical view is nothing short of essential. Non-constituent records can pose serious issues when attempting to query as they will appear in a spotty fashion at best and there is no real way to ensure you are capturing all of these individualized bits of information. Non-constituent records are a tool available for use within the Raiser’s Edge but should probably be used more sparingly. Give your constituents the attention they deserve with a full constituent record and watch their giving grow!

Omatic Software
Omatic Software is dedicated to integrating disparate systems and democratizing data access for today’s nonprofits. Founded in 2002, Omatic has worked with thousands of nonprofits globally to remove their data barriers by integrating systems and enabling nonprofit teams to leverage their donor data rather than be burdened by it. The Omatic team has one goal – unleashing the power of data to show a complete view of your donor, enabling data-driven decision making and opportunity creation for your organization.