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The Database Corner w/Mike Furlong – Strategic Information Services Vice President – March

March 2024

The Database Corner with Mike Furlong

We use Raiser’s Edge at our organization, and I was curious what you would recommend for the values we use in the Action Type drop-down? We currently have over 30, and they aren’t really used consistently.

Action Types are used in many ways and are fairly unique to each organization. Although there is no easy answer, I can definitely give you some suggestions and guidelines for choosing the values for your Action Type field.

  • Consider how you use the field for reporting. Do you have reports set up that use the values? If so, do the reports use all the values or just some? There is no reason to put in data that doesn’t support a strategic outcome!
  • Keep the total number of values to a reasonable number—I generally recommend fewer than 15. Users need to be able to easily scroll through the list, understand each value’s purpose, and not lose interest.
  • Knowing we already have the Action Categories to define if it was a meeting, email, phone call, etc., be sure not to repeat those as a Type.
  • If you have a small team, have a meeting to discuss what Action Types would be most useful and ensure you understand how and when to use which ones. Consider using a brief survey to gather feedback if your team is larger.
  • Finally, I’ve been seeing recently that organizations use this field to determine the level of interaction with the constituent.  For example, an email blast or mass mailing would be a level one, a brief phone call would be level two, and a meeting would be a level three.  In this case, the team would need to define the levels and how they should be used.  Sometimes a meeting may be brief and only warrant a level two interaction while an in depth phone call that moves a prospect through the pipeline would be a level three.

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