Migrating from Raiser’s Edge to Salesforce: A guide to prepping your data

Are you considering making a move from Raiser’s Edge to Salesforce?

Lots of our clients are doing just that, and many of them come to us with common concerns:

  • “We know our data needs some work but aren’t sure where to start.”
  • “What is the best way to get this done if we don’t have any dedicated technical support in-house? Can regular database users do this work?”
  • “What are the best low-cost tools that can lighten the data cleaning lift for our staff?”
  • “What kinds of tasks should we prioritize for ongoing in-house data maintenance?”

If the thought has even crossed your mind, let me be the first to say: that the time to start working with your data is right now. You are never going to regret having clean, reliable data, and it will make any future move so much easier. Let’s begin.

Potential issues to consider before migrating your data

There are a variety of tasks that can, and ideally should be completed before you enter into any data mapping and analysis tasks with an implementation consultant. We outline several of these below:

  • Parse name fields: Parsing names into separate First, Middle, and Last fields consistently is an easy task that can be a huge money saver when the time comes for mapping and migration.
  • Review Notes fields: Are team members consistently collecting common data elements in Notes fields that should be recorded as actual fields in Salesforce? These elements should be noted for your implementation partner.
  • Attribute cleanup: Check for Attributes that are no longer in use and remove or consolidate them as appropriate.
  • Identify odd use cases: Are you using areas of Raiser’s Edge in ways they weren’t designed to be used? For example, is your organization tracking volunteer hours in Gifts? Noting these use cases in advance can cut down on mapping and analysis time.
  • Gift Types and Sub-Types: Make sure that your Gift Types and Gift Sub-Types are properly coded.
  • Non-stakeholder cleanup: Run a list of non-stakeholders to see if you have a matching stakeholder or not, if there are multiple touchpoints for the same name (such as spouse relationships and event registrations), etc.
  • Review data structure in key areas: Review Campaign, Appeal, and Package structure for consistency, as these are all frequent areas for cleanup. Also, consider whether this would be a good time to restructure Membership if that applies to your organization.
  • Code table cleanup: Go through Configuration Tables and clean up misspelled / duplicate table entries.
  • Queries and reports: Inventory your organization’s queries and reports.
  • General data cleanup: Review entries for the proper casing, addressees, salutations, etc.

Who should prep your data?

You know your data better than any consultant ever will, so cleaning it up before handing it over can save your organization time and money. Once you have an idea of what you need to do, you have some options:

  • Assign a few hours of data work per week or month to each of your team members, depending on your timeframe.
  • Hire an intern or a temporary employee to get it all done at once.
  • Talk with your implementation partner to see what kind of support they can offer within your budget for the work.

One key point to remember – it’s essential to communicate your new data conventions to all team members who work with data so that future data gets entered consistently and cleanly. Plus, letting everyone know in advance will help you earn buy-in for your staff during this transition period.

Tools you can use to prepare for migrating to Salesforce

Lessen the burden on your team by using well-tested tools – including some included with Raiser’s Edge – to automate pieces of the data cleaning effort. 

  • Deduplication: Use the native Duplicate Stakeholder Management Tool in the database view in Raiser’s Edge to deal with all your duplicates before you move your data.
  • Address normalization: Use Address Finder in Raiser’s Edge to update inaccurate or out-of-date addresses.
  • Investigate apps and utilities available to help with mass updates and deletions.

Ongoing data maintenance tips

Your data is clean and shiny. Let’s keep it that way! Here are some tips and tricks for maintaining your data with limited resources.

  1. Make sure each field has one and only one purpose. Use the help bubbles when configuring fields so everyone can easily see the purpose of each field. 
  2. Right size and review your attributes. Only use those that you can reliably support and that you trust enough to use for reporting. 
  3. Remove fields that are not regularly used. The free Field Trip tool and the Salesforce Optimizer Report can help you recognize unused fields.
  4. Make sure everyone knows how to check to see if a contact or account already exists. Make this second nature for your staff.
  5. Set up duplicate rules in Salesforce that will easily help your staff recognize potential duplicates.
  6. Duplicates ARE going to happen, and that’s okay. Set up a dashboard that lets everyone see how many potential duplicates are in the system. Set a concrete time and specific staff to review and resolve duplicates regularly. Once a month is great; once a quarter may make the job seem overwhelming and result in folks avoiding the task.

To sum it up: you can have the data of your dreams with a bit of planning and elbow grease, even if you don’t have tons of resources to put into the effort. Taking the time to review and prep your data now can make migrating from Raiser’s Edge to Salesforce easier – and create and reinforce good data maintenance habits for your team moving forward.

Are you thinking about migrating from Raiser’s Edge to Salesforce for Nonprofits? Contact Fíonta.