The Raiser's Edge by Blackbaud


 

As one of the nonprofit sector's most popular fundraising tools, The Raiser's Edge is a comprehensive system that helps nonprofits achieve their mission by getting the very most out of their existing fundraising strategies. With more than 30 years in the industry devoted entirely to the development of software for nonprofits, BlackBaud offers solutions that work together.

From finding the best prospects to supporter engagement and cultivation to goal analysis and reporting, The Raiser's Edge is a flexible, user-friendly solution that helps nonprofits be more successful and efficient across every department and initiative. It can be customized to meet the needs of any nonprofit sector: healthcare, faith-based ministries, philanthropic foundations, the arts and more.

With Target Analytics, nonprofits can easily find the best prospects and replenish their donor pool, while also analyzing both donor activity and the organization's performance as a whole against their peers in the industry. Blackbaud NetCommunity can be utilized to create a dynamic, interactive online community with sophisticated web content management and online giving options. Effective fundraising events are made simple with Friends Asking Friends, which can support everything from bake sales to online pledge-driven events.

The Financial Edge ensures fiscal health, managing funds of all kinds, from grants to contributions, then transforming this financial data into both user-friendly dashboards and complex reports to provide transparency across the organization.

For nonprofits seeking a simple, scalable fundraising solution that offers end-to-end functionality, The Raiser's Edge by Blackbaud is an affordable, comprehensive system.

 

The Raiser's Edge - An all-inclusive fundraising solution
 
  • The Raiser's Edge - An all-inclusive fundraising solution
    An all-inclusive fundraising solution
  • The Raiser's Edge - Identify your best prospects
    Identify your best prospects
  • The Raiser's Edge - Everything you need for CRM
    Everything you need for CRM
  • The Raiser's Edge - Make better decisions with dashboards
    Make better decisions with dashboards
  • The Raiser's Edge - Easy-to-use budgeting tools
    Easy-to-use budgeting tools
  • The Raiser's Edge - Automatically create grant reimbursement billing
    Automatically create grant reimbursement billing
Supported Operating System(s):
Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 2000, Mac OS

21 Reviews of The Raiser's Edge

 

from Olive Crest
Specialty: Human Services
Size of portfolio: 11 to 20 users Portfolio size: 11 to 20 users

Raiser's Edge: The Gold Standard in Fundraising

Ease-of-use

Raiser's Edge is a very robust database. It's easy to use and take advantage of if you invest in training. If you don't, it can be very hard to maneuver.

Functionality

The RE product does meet all of our needs currently, but we have had to invest in optional modules.

Product Quality

I continually hear how lucky we are as an organization to be able to use the Raiser's Edge product; it does seem to be the gold standard in the industry.

Customer Support

I am very satisfied with the customer support we receive from Blackbaud.

Likes Best

Hands down, what I like best about working with Blackbaud is the customer service and support we receive. They have a fantastic support line, knowledge base, and training packages. They also offer free training webinars, often on industry specific topics.

Likes Least

Sometimes, the best solution is only offered through optional modules, which can get costly.

Recommendations

Raiser's Edge is costly but worth the investment when used properly. My biggest recommendation is to invest in training; it will pay off and is worth the cost.

 

from Arts Umbrella
Specialty: Arts & Cultural
Size of portfolio: 51 to 100 users Portfolio size: 51 to 100 users

Casual user at Arts Umbrella

Ease-of-use

It's user-friendly once you understand it, but lots of training is needed.

Functionality

It helps us keep track of all our sponsors, registrants, artists, and their histories.

Product Quality

The design needs to be updated. It feels old and boring to use.

Customer Support

They have great vendor support and website help. I think the support is strong.

Likes Best

I love how user-friendly the product is and how helpful the vendor is.

Likes Least

Registration systems still need some work, and the look of the product is outdated and somewhat boring.

Recommendations

I haven't used a lot of other software programs like this, so I don't have any specific recommendations.

 

from Arts Umbrella
Specialty: Arts & Cultural
Size of portfolio: 21 to 50 users Portfolio size: 21 to 50 users

Volunteer Coordinator at Arts Umbrella

Ease-of-use

I think that, so far, it is quite easy to navigate around the software. I think that I would like more training to make the best use of the "Query" component.

Functionality

For me, it is a wonderful tool to keep track of our volunteer roster, hours, and details about each volunteer.

Product Quality

I haven't really used any other programs, but from what I can tell, it is a good quality system.

Customer Support

I have only used the customer support once, and when I did, it was very useful.

Likes Best

I like the volunteer components .

Likes Least

It can be difficult to understand all the queries that can be created. I never have enough time to do more training!

Recommendations

Training, training, and more training! I think that there are many areas of RE that I haven't explored yet. I also think that it is important to make the switch from Excel files to just using RE.

 

from Arts Umbrella
Specialty: Arts & Cultural
Size of portfolio: 11 to 20 users Portfolio size: 11 to 20 users

Casual user

Ease-of-use

It's not easy to learn without training; it's not necessarily intuitive.

Functionality

The mobile apps could have more features and better customization options.

Product Quality

It's a reliable database, but it's only as good as the information that goes into it.

Customer Support

I don't have any experience with customer support.

Likes Best

All information is available in one place.

Likes Least

It can be slow entering data into all fields. The typeface seems a little dated, too.

Recommendations

Train everyone who enters and searches data to improve output.

 

from Arts Umbrella
Specialty: Arts & Cultural
Size of portfolio: 6 to 10 users Portfolio size: 6 to 10 users

Makes fundraising systematic

Ease-of-use

It's easy to start to find your way around, but training is required in order to accomplish specific tasks like running reports or list maintenance.

Functionality

It's purely a database, and most fundraising is done through real relationships.

Product Quality

The quality is pretty good, but there's room for improvement.

Customer Support

It takes a long time to get through to them, but when you do reach them, they know how to address everything.

Likes Best

What I like best about Raiser's Edge is the wealth of historical information you can easily access on each of your donors.

Likes Least

What I like least about Raiser's Edge is that it doesn't have a calendar function. I know that actions and reminders can be set up, but annual fundraising could flow from day-to-day, month-to-month, and year-to-year if it had a time-management function.

Recommendations

It's a great resource if everyone is trained to use it thoroughly, which can take q while.

 

from Arts Umbrella
Specialty: Arts & Cultural
Size of portfolio: 6 to 10 users Portfolio size: 6 to 10 users

Two years using it as a fundraiser

Ease-of-use

It is easy to understand and use, but there are some simple things that are frustrating.

Functionality

It does meet our needs, but it is expensive, and I think there are better options out there.

Product Quality

It is old and clunky looking, not like new responsive software.

Customer Support

We spend a lot of time waiting on hold. Once, it took two weeks to resolve a very simple issue. This cost us money in lost donations.

Likes Best

It is useful and fulfills its purpose.

Likes Least

It costs a lot. Every time we need a new function, it costs more. I also don't like how they are always trying to sell us something.

Recommendations

There are better options for cheaper. Also, there are Canadian options.

 

from Arts Umbrella
Specialty: Arts & Cultural
Size of portfolio: 6 to 10 users Portfolio size: 6 to 10 users

Fundraising professional with 5 years RE experience

Ease-of-use

It is complicated, in that you can get a lot out of it if you know more about it, but it is relatively easy to use for input with a little training.

Functionality

As a fundraiser, it does most of the things I need it to. I would be interested in a function that visualizes the data, showing a map of connections, which would be great for organizing networking, similar to the visual side of database software.

Product Quality

It's very well-thought-out. It rarely crashes, if ever, and it's legible and logically laid out.

Customer Support

The helpline has been useful whenever we have used it. Our database administrator is regularly on with them about issues that arise, and they all get sorted.

Likes Best

I like its specificity to the task of fundraising

Likes Least

Organizations do not use it to its full potential.

Recommendations

Take the time to speak to the Raiser's Edge helpline if you need it.

 

from Arts Umbrella
Specialty: Arts & Cultural
Size of portfolio: 6 to 10 users Portfolio size: 6 to 10 users

I have a little experince with this product

Ease-of-use

I find that if you have someone in your department that has knowledge of RE, then it is usually quite simple to have them show you how to use different aspects of the system because it is user-friendly.

Functionality

It meets our fundraising needs by tracking gifts, actions, phone calls, and mailings. It alerts us to follow-up calls, helps organize our events, and allows people make donations through the system that automatically get put into RE.

Product Quality

I feel it is well-designed and user-friendly, and if there are problems, there is customer support to help you through, and once they explain, you can go back to using it on your own.

Customer Support

I would say it is pretty good. They are professional and friendly, and they really work to help you when you are stuck or trying to fix a problem.

Likes Best

It is a fairly easy system to use. Everyone in our department uses it with ease, and it is easy to learn. They have good customer service and can help you through problems.

Likes Least

Occasionally, I will have trouble accessing RE. It's not often, but it does happen. Sometimes, there is a wait to hear back from customers service. Once, we had a problem with tax receipting. It ended up being an apostrophe that was causing the problem, but it took weeks to have Blackbaud's staff to figure it out.

Recommendations

Check with other organizations that use the product. See how you like it, what add-ons you would have to purchase with the system, and if it is helpful to you.

 

from Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany
Specialty: Faith-Based Ministries
Size of portfolio: 6 to 10 users Portfolio size: 6 to 10 users

Raiser's Edge is the Gold Standard in Fundraising

Ease-of-use

Raiser's Edge can be overwhelming at first. However, some time with an experienced staff person can have a new user up and entering constituents in a couple of afternoons.

I can't say enough good things about the training offered by Blackbaud. It is worth it.

Functionality

We are able to customize as needed by reusing fields or creating our own reports with Crystal Reports.

Product Quality

Raiser's Edge runs smoothly on every machine we have.

Customer Support

Great customer support! Most answers can be found on Blackbaud's Knowledgebase, but if not, a support question is a chat, tweet, email, or phone call away.

Likes Best

Raiser's Edge is a powerful and robust system. Harnessing its full potential with products like Import-O-matic makes importing a breeze. I am able to run and monitor 132 funds each year with ease.

Likes Least

The pricing can be steep depending on what type of organization you run. Many modules are extra, but they also prevent time consuming workarounds.

Recommendations

This goes for any system: make sure you have a Database Administrator/Manager with plenty of experience (or is Blackbaud certified), and make sure that training for your data entry staff is part of your budget. Great data and an experienced manager are key to your success.

 

from Miami Country Day School
Specialty: Private Schools
Size of portfolio: 6 to 10 users Portfolio size: 6 to 10 users

Best in Class Fundraising CRM

Ease-of-use

Best of class means this system can be complicated. But with proper training, fundraising staff should be able to do their jobs easily with this system. Having a plan and data standards is very important.

Functionality

Everything we need for fundraising is built-in or available with an optional module: tributes, alumni tracking, major giving, proposal tracking, event management, and so much more. The one thing not native to this system - or any system that I know of - is native plaque and named spaces tracking. You can be as creative as you like and repurpose functionality to create a solution.

Product Quality

Have I mentioned best in class? Even when Blackbaud misses something in RE, they are quick to release a patch and are open to customer feedback for additional functionality.

Customer Support

Sometimes, there is a significant hold for phone support; however, there are other channels for support, such as online chat and support ticket entry. Enter your issue online and someone will call you back; it's better than listening to hold music!

Likes Best

While being the industry leader, Blackbaud doesn't rest on its status but instead constantly monitors customer requests for additional functionality. They even provide easy-to-access user forums specifically for this purpose.

Likes Least

As with any vendor/company with a large customer base, hold times for support can be long, especially around busy times of the year when help is most needed. That being said, help is always available.

Recommendations

RE is a major investment and organization-wide commitment, and proper staffing should be taken into consideration. Having an on-staff dedicated guru will ensure your success with this system. Look into all of the free training and the different training packages to find what is right for your organization.

 

from Sound Mental Health
Specialty: Human Services
Size of portfolio: Single user Portfolio size: Single user

The Industry Standard for a Donor Database

Ease-of-use

It's very intuitive, and there are so many ways to customize to make it fit your particular organization.

Functionality

From data entry to generation of reports, it provides all the flexibility I need.

Product Quality

The regular updates continue to improve the functionality.

Customer Support

I am always able to get a timely response, and the folks are very helpful.

Likes Best

Raiser's Edge performs as promised and does everything I need it to do and more. The Blackbaud folks are always very helpful and very knowledgeable. Also, there is a vast amount of documentation available online 24/7.

Likes Least

I wish I had more training; I'm sure that I could do more with the software if I had more training/more time for training. In part, that is because the cost of training is high, but I also don't make use of the free options that Blackbaud makes available. I just don't have enough time.

Recommendations

Be sure to have your staff take all the recommended training classes and provide refresher courses as well.

 

from College of St. Scholastica
Specialty: Higher Education
Size of portfolio: 11 to 20 users Portfolio size: 11 to 20 users

Vast database for fundraising

Ease-of-use

It does take some training and smart thinkers to maintain and use this database.

Functionality

If your data is good, this is a great functioning product.

Product Quality

It is a professional and modern tool. It runs smoothly and is fairly easy to navigate through records.

Customer Support

I've had fairly good customer service whenever I've need it.

Likes Best

I love that this is a versatile database that can hold all the needs for a fundraising team. If you input your data and keep it clean, this system will give you amazing reports, queries, etc. If you need a large database to store records with donations, memberships, etc., this could be the software program for you.

Likes Least

I dislike that there are so many add-on optional modules or things that integrate with Raiser's Edge. Sometimes, it can get costly; however, that is likely to be with any database.

Recommendations

Make sure you know what you want from a database system and get all the modules and things you need to make this a smooth process for your company.

 

from Lena Pope
Specialty: Human Services
Size of portfolio: 2 to 5 users Portfolio size: 2 to 5 users

Still So Much to Learn

Ease-of-use

Raiser's Edge is by no means an 'easy peasy' system. If the data is entered properly and consistently, anybody can be trained to pull reports. Once you get into deep levels of queries, it takes a little bit more know-how. Raiser's Edge does offer training, which is helpful (if you have the training $ to spend.)

Functionality

It is difficult for us to track tribute gifts and memberships without the modules, but other than that, Raiser's Edge offers so much.

Product Quality

Raiser's Edge can be as simple or as robust as the user makes it. We try to utilize everything we can with the time and talent we have and are often awed when we find shortcuts and tricks to make processes easier. The quality of RE allows us to maximize our reporting and data capture.

Customer Support

I love the chat support! I exclusively use chat support when available and love the ease of communication and clarity.

Likes Best

When data is entered properly and consistently, I can pull almost any report I want to see. The data analysis reports are crucial to our donor relations.

Likes Least

The pricing. I would love to add more services and modules to make our database more precise, but price is a major factor.

Recommendations

Think about the information you want to see, determine how you will use the information, and then compare different software packages. Is consecutive giving an important piece of data? Summary gift data? Segmenting a mailing list?

 

from Junior Achievement of WNY
Specialty: Other
Size of portfolio: 2 to 5 users Portfolio size: 2 to 5 users

Raiser's Edge

Ease-of-use

After the initial training, most staff will be fully ready to use software.

Functionality

Canned reports provided help take guesswork out of queries, but I also like the ability to create our own custom queries. They are easy to create on your own.

Product Quality

Using others may save some money, but you'll spend more in staff time trying to get a competitor's system to do what Raiser's Edge does!

Customer Support

The wait time can be long, but if call early, you'll get very knowledgeable staff ready to help, and followup is very important to Blackbaud staff.

Likes Best

Raiser's Edge is the Cadillac of database management for non-profits. I've used a couple others, but none are as user-friendly as Raiser's Edge.

Likes Least

It's popular software, so customer service operators are very busy. Call early with questions!

Recommendations

Look into the ability to pull out your data when needed. Raiser's Edge gives you the best option for queries and reporting.

 

from Jewish Family & Children's Service
Specialty: Human Services
Size of portfolio: 2 to 5 users Portfolio size: 2 to 5 users

Top of the Line

Ease-of-use

It is a very intuitive program once you learn the basics. And you can learn all of that with a Learn Subscription, but you can also find a lot of free training resources once you are a user.

Functionality

You can customize so many different functions of the Raiser's Edge to make it work to suit your needs.

Product Quality

Raiser's Edge is the top of the line when it comes to fundraising software.

Customer Support

I always find the answer in one of the many different places you can find it. All the training I have received has been super helpful, and the customer support team is always very quick at getting back to me when I have questions.

Likes Best

Blackbaud is very accommodating and easy to work with. The program itself is very user-friendly once you learn the basics. Raiser's Edge is so customizable that you can make it work for all kinds of different needs.

Likes Least

I wish some of the features that are separated out, like the modules and such, were included.

Recommendations

Know your needs before you start searching. Looking at everything the Raiser's Edge can do is overwhelming, and you don't want to end up purchasing additional modules and things that you don't need and won't use.

 

from Canadian Cancer Society - Quebec Division
Specialty: Healthcare & Hospitals
Size of portfolio: 21 to 50 users Portfolio size: 21 to 50 users

Great Product

Ease-of-use

Like all software solutions, there is a learning curve. But, once you get going with RE, the sky is the limit.

Functionality

In terms of event management, there is still a huge gap between what we can register on Luminate and how that translates to RE.

Product Quality

For what it was meant to do and for what it does, it is a great product that will give you great insight on your donor base and behavior.

Customer Support

I've been here five years now, and I can't complain. They are always reachable.

Likes Best

We love the level of customization you can achieve for your own organization (custom fields and the like), and the vast knowledge base as well as the customer support are great.

Likes Least

You must be proficient in English to use it, even if your organization (like mine) is not.

Recommendations

Request an onsite demonstration and bring a lot of question and cases to the table. They will be your best asset to evaluate the product with justice.

 

from The Aquinas Institute
Specialty: Private Schools
Size of portfolio: 11 to 20 users Portfolio size: 11 to 20 users

The Raiser's Edge is powerful stuff!

Ease-of-use

You can make RE as easy or as hard as you want it to be. You can focus just on gift entry, which is very user-friendly, or you can go in-depth and create custom reports, which can be very complicated.

Functionality

Raiser's Edge meets almost all of our needs. Although for some reason, we always get stuck on printing nametags! I guess we expect too much customization on these.

Product Quality

The screens and fields are customizable and user-friendly.

Customer Support

The customer support reps are always helpful and friendly. I love them!

Likes Best

The Raiser's Edge support team is like no other. Even if they can't come up with a direct solution to my problem, they will always offer alternative solutions and often will email the next day to follow up.

Likes Least

I would have only two complaints about Blackbaud software. First, it's not an inexpensive product. You are really making an investment when you purchase. And second, there is almost too much functionality. I've been using The Raiser's Edge for over 4 years, and I still feel like I'm just scratching the surface.

Recommendations

This is the gold standard for fundraising software. Make sure when you compare this product to others that you really need all of its functionality. And most importantly, make sure you invest in training and in employing a person who is a Raiser's Edge expert.

 

from Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society
Specialty: Human Services
Size of portfolio: 6 to 10 users Portfolio size: 6 to 10 users

I've been using Raiser's Edge for 14 years

Ease-of-use

It is relatively easy to navigate with some great features like adding favorites to your home page.

Functionality

It is very versatile. Once the data is entered, it can provide numerous reports.

Product Quality

I would venture to say it is the gold standard in fundraising.

Customer Support

They have either been able to solve or provide a workaround for every problem I've ever had.

Likes Best

Raiser's Edge is a very versatile product. It has been designed to be adaptable to each organization's unique needs. Overall, it is intuitive and user-friendly once you have the basics. The support at Blackbaud is very good. They are quick to respond, especially when requesting support through their website.

Likes Least

If you use their Credit Card Processing services, the money is not released right away. They hold it for at least a week.

Recommendations

To get the most out of the software, I would recommend hiring a Database Administrator. This person should be able to help with the setup, implementation, and training of new users. Then they can help with reporting and data extracts.

 

from St. Albans School

Ease-of-use

Ease-of-use

 
Functionality

Functionality

 
Product Quality

Product Quality

 
Customer Support

Customer Support

 

If you are willing to put in the work, Raiser's Edge will not disappoint you with its return.

Raiser's Edge is professional fundraising software in a similar way that AutoCAD is professional architectural software. You wouldn't want to hire an architect trying to build a house with AutoCad if they didn't know the software anymore than you; and you wouldn't want to be a nonprofit trying to raise funds with Raiser's Edge without substantial software training. Organizations that can dedicate at least one staff person to become deeply trained in Raiser's Edge will benefit the most from the software.

That said, basic training for accomplishing standard tasks is relatively easy and Blackbaud's customer support is pretty damn fantastic, but if you don't have someone who understands how the software thinks and can apply that knowledge to how your organization operates, you will not reap all of the benefits Raiser's Edge offers.

If you raise $500,000 or more a year (or are planning to), you need Raiser's Edge. If your operation is smaller, go with eTapestry or another solution. If you do go with Raiser's Edge, hire/dedicate someone on your team to become a Raiser's Edge guru! The easiest way to support your designated guru is to create a stand-alone installation for a test environment on a dedicated laptop or virtual server so s/he can really test out all the features without risking your live data - Blackbaud will help with this and it does not violate your software licensing agreement (as long as the test system is not used as a second, production database).

 

from Princeton Day School

Ease-of-use

Ease-of-use

 
Functionality

Functionality

 
Product Quality

Product Quality

 
Customer Support

Customer Support

 

We have been using Raiser's Edge for over 20 years; and although it can be a little frustrating at times, it is a terrific product.

I don't know about any other software that is better or more robust. The only reason that it can be a little frustrating is that it can do so much and there is always something new to learn. However, it is easy for almost everyone to use - one doesn't have to be a computer whiz.

Blackbaud doesn't just sit on its fine product, but listens to their customers by continuing to improve Raiser's Edge. I can't imagine what life would be like without Raiser's Edge because of all that it can do. We are now in the midst of integrating with other Blackbaud products; I can't wait until everyone becomes a Blackbaud fan!

 
 
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