Raiser’s Edge Best Practice: Maintain ALL of Your IDs for Constituents

Jun 18, 2015

More often than not, organizations will have multiple data sources that they need to import into Raiser’s Edge™. For example, K-12 and higher education institutions often house student information in external databases. Then, during graduation season, it becomes imperative to import some of that external data into Raiser’s Edge. Regardless of your mission, data integration is absolutely necessary in order to maintain up-to-date constituent records.

So, how do you reconcile multiple ID numbers for records found in multiple databases? The answer is to retain – not reconcile – all of the IDs across your organization. Let’s further explore why and how it makes sense to import multiple IDs into Raiser’s Edge.

Why is retaining multiple IDs in Raiser’s Edge so necessary?

Just like the necessity of Constituent ID numbers in Raiser’s Edge, it is vital to retain IDs from external databases in order to identify records as unique. From a database perspective, retaining this unique identification number will give you confidence that you are looking at the same record when comparing information from one database to another. Then, when information gets updated on a record in your external database, the unique IDs will make it easier to map those updates into Raiser’s Edge.

How should external database IDs reside in Raiser’s Edge?

Raiser’s Edge Constituent IDs and external database ID numbers are independent from one another. Since they are not synonymous, they should never overwrite each other. This begs the question – where should external database IDs get stored? The best solution is to create an Alias Type that corresponds to the external database ID. If you are using ImportOmatic, you can create an import profile with the ID number from the external database that maps to the Alias field in Raiser’s Edge. You can uniquely name the Alias Type to correspond with the name of your external database. This organized method is beneficial when searching for a record in Raiser’s Edge since you can search for aliases to find a record that is using the external database ID number. Likewise, when importing updates from the external database into Raiser’s Edge, ImportOmatic can use the Alias field to automatically match to an existing Raiser’s Edge record. This will cut down the amount of interaction needed for the import and it will eliminate critical data entry mistakes.

Storing ID numbers from external databases as aliases within Raiser’s Edge will ensure that you are comparing apples to apples when looking at records across separate databases. Simple enough, right? This easy organizational method is a quick tip that can save countless hours of data mapping and unnecessary cleanup!

Raiser’s Edge ™ is a registered trademark of Blackbaud, Inc.