Constituent level contact information – emails/phones/links off address
In the next two weeks our blog series will cover more of what will be included in 7.94.
January 25th, 2015 we will release The Raiser’s Edge 7.94 which includes the most anticipated update to RE based on customer feedback: the move of contact information from being part of an address to just being directly on the constituent record.
Since the original release of The Raiser’s Edge, contact information was required to live on a single address. At the time of the original release this was reasonable. Home and business landlines were the most common phone numbers people would give out. Emails through your ISP were the norm. So if you moved, these contact methods usually changed along with the address.
Today, the landscape looks drastically different. Cell phones now dominate the phone market. Cloud email services have replaced those provided by ISPs. And now when moving, these contact methods do not change and contact information should belong to the constituent and not an address.
To this end, in 7.94, we are changing where phones “live”. Instead of being on an address, they are now going to live right off of the constituent. This is a more modern and intuitive way to track contact information, and will save clicks and drill down in query and exports.
After initial excitement, you probably have a lot of questions – what does this mean to my existing integrations, reports, queries, exports, and imports? Let’s dig into the new look for contact information, and answers to all those questions too.
How will it look?
Contact information on the constituent record will remain on Bio 1 tab right below the address, but now will be in its own grid, with types sectioned into their own tabs. Within each type, you can set one as Primary, as well as mark them inactive when needed.
We’ve updated the label for web address/URL to be just “Links” to better accommodate social media links as well as a constituent’s personal website information.
How will it work?
- In the upgrade process, contact information on the preferred address will be moved to the new fields and marked as active
- Contact information from alternate addresses will be moved to the new fields and marked as inactive
- Duplicate contact information will be matched on the number and type
- Hyphens, parentheses, and spaces are ignored when trying to determine duplicates
- Nothing will automatically be marked as “Primary” during the migration
- A plug-in will be available to globally mark certain phone types as “Primary”
Relationship contact information
Relationships will also receive this new behavior where the contact information no longer “lives” on the relationship’s address, but on the relationship itself. In the case when the relationship is also a constituent, we will include the constituent’s other contact methods (those from the constituent record and the reciprocal relationship) to quickly aid in finding the right contact method.
With 7.94, we will now allow you to use a phone type more than once for the constituent, (no longer requiring Email 1, Email 2, etc) and we have not carried over the concept of ‘Shared’ to the new contact information fields. If the contact was previously shared, each record gets a copy of the data in 7.94.
What happens to my:
Your existing queries will still work, but will only consider active contact information; in order to query on inactive, you will need to add the new fields added to your query under “Phones” and specify you want inactive, or to include by specific types.
Your existing exports will still work, but will only export active contact information by default; in order to export inactive, you will need to add the new fields added to your query under “Phones” and specify you want inactive, or to export by specific types.
Reports remain the same, but only include active contact information.
The existing “Constituent Phone” import will still work in 7.94. It will use the “Address Import ID” to figure out the constituent to which it belongs, but it will not actually touch the address so in this case, the address’s “Date Modified” will not change. This import type will be named “Constituent Phone (Legacy)” in 7.94.
Additionally in 7.94, there is a new “Constituent Phone” import. It will behave just like other constituent type imports where you provide a reference to the constituent (Constituent ID, Import ID, SSN).
Blackbaud Integrations, 3rd party Integrations, Self-created integrations and customizations
The Raiser’s Edge team has worked with all Blackbaud integrating products to confirm compatibility. Regarding partners, 3rd party integrations, or your own custom work, Blackbaud supports integration to RE only via our Application Programming Interface, the API. With the API, we will maintain backwards compatibility so that integrations do not stop working when there is a data change such as this. We have also provided a pre-release copy of 7.94 to our partners to test and make any desired changes to optimize their products.
What can you do to prepare?
If you have contact information (phone numbers, email addresses, links) on alternate addresses that are valid and active, before upgrade to 7.94 you can move these to the preferred address; many of our customers already do this to see them on Bio 1. Primary business address contact information will remain on the primary business relationship.
Thank you to everyone who spent time with us in product discovery.
Stay tuned, next week we will cover more of what’s coming in 7.94!
See our walkthrough for a shareable quick reference: