Basic Reporting Part I: Getting Started (REQUIRED)
- The first step when running or creating a report is to determine what, specifically, you need the report for. That is, what is the report's intended purpose? Do you just need a list of facts and figures, such as a list of people who donated in 2018 or the list of new members who joined your organization this month (a "data focused" report)? These types of reports are best accomplished by using our financials export, event attendee export, search results export, Smart Dashboards, and the Express View reports interface.
- Or, instead, are you looking for a comparison report that compares data for two different time periods (total donations raised in 2017 versus 2018 for example) or for two different categories (number of people who attended two different events or donations raised to two different funds or campaigns)? These types of reports are best accomplished by using our default reports, the Express Reports interface, the Advanced reports interface, and the cross-tab reports interface).
- Or, perhaps, you want a report that helps you understand why things happened. For instance, WHY you raised more money in 2017 than 2018 (perhaps because you asked more people for donations, perhaps because you better utilized social media and online giving in 2017, perhaps you aimed to raise less money/had a lower goal in 2018, etc.). These reports can best be achieved via the Advanced Reports interface, Linked reports, and the Dashboard reports interface.
- You also need to know if you want detailed data (the nitty gritty drill down into each individual discrete piece of data that makes up a sub-total/total, such as this donation report that shows each individual donation that goes into each Campaigns sub-total).
- Or just a summary report (this is the same report as above, with the details hidden/removed).
- There are many different reporting tools within Fundly CRM, and your answers to the above questions will vastly influence how you go about obtaining the report that you need.
- It's also important to understand that reporting starts at the point of data collection. That is, if you want, for example, a report that shows the total amount donated per table at your recent annual gala, you have to collect (and tie to donations) each donor's table number within the system in a way that can be used in reporting (entering that data in the Memo field, for example, would make it very hard to report on later. Instead, creating a field in the gifts additional information custom data set will make it much easier to report on this data).
If you want to know why your 2018 donations are less than your 2017 donations, you need to have data in your system that tracks what you did differently (if you used social media more in 2017 for donations, you'll see that reflected in the "Gift Source" field, for instance. If, on the other hand, you solicited more people, you need to be tracking donor prospects and who you sent appeal letters to inside Fundly CRM. If the reason was that you had a different/lower goal, then you should either be tracking your fundraising goal in Fundly CRM (as a fundraising campaign) or you can add your goal amount to the report as a static/text field).
- Think also about the intended audience and purpose of your report. If you are going to export the data to Excel to be used in a mail merge, a report like this - with multiple rows per contact - or with a lot of fancy formatting or that is sorted and grouped by anything other than Household ID or Contact ID will not be suitable.
- On the other hand, if you want a report that is easy to read, a report like this (the search results export) is not suitable at all. There is a lot of extraneous information and no formatting. Printing this out to share hard copies would be very difficult. Finding information in this, such as to compare the data across two people, would involve lots of scrolling up and down or side to side, also making this not well suited to that purpose.
- The report layout and orientation will also make a very big difference. For example, here is an example of a "contact profile" report. Can you imagine what this report would look like if it was just laid out like a plain, unformatted spreadsheet, with the data all in side-by-side columns? How easy would it be to use this report in such a format, when you would have to scroll and scroll and scroll to the right to see all the data and with multiple rows for all the interactions and financial details, so that you have to scroll up and down through a sea of data to find the information you want. It wouldn't be easy at all! It would be a nightmare!
- Similarly, in this example, we have the same exact data laid out in two different ways. As you can see, each layout is suited to a different purpose. In the top one, this format is best for pulling a Profit and Loss statement for a single event. In the second, this format is better suited as a comparison report, perhaps for a particular time period, comparing the profit/loss of multiple events at once.
- Envisioning what you want and then creating a report that does that is MUCH easier than using a report that is in the wrong layout and trying to force it to do what you need. For example, sure, any report can potentially be a comparison report if you run it twice, filtering for different criteria each time (for example, run your donation report for the 01/01/2017 to 12/31/2017 time period, noting the total number of donors and donations raised, and then running the report a second time for the time period 01/01/2018 to 12/31/2018 and noting the totals for this time period and then manually comparing the two) or any report can be a mailing list report if you export it to Excel and then spend hours stripping out formatting, extraneous data, unneeded rows (such as sub-totals and headers), etc. But each of these options is longer and harder than just designing a report that does what you need. Believe us when we tell you that reports within Fundly CRM can do ANYTHING/be anything you want. The only limit is your imagination.
- Additionally, please note that, often, users want ONE report that does EVERYTHING. This is not possible. Each report should have a specific purpose/usage. That is not to say that one report cannot do multiple things or have multiple purposes. But, for instance, it's hard for a report to contain all the drill-down details and also be a summary report that allows for easy comparison across categories (years, funds, membership levels, events, etc.) at the same time. You might need two separate reports for that (but read on, because those reports can be shown together on a dashboard or linked together so that the details data pops up when you click on any of the summary data!). Or perhaps you just need to change up the format a bit - put the summary data in one part of the report (top or bottom) and the details in another. The options are limitless!
- Once you determine the intended purpose of your report, you can begin creating the report that you need. To proceed to our Basic Reporting Part II: Report Layout tutorial for the next step in creating your report.