Losing Your Edge?

Migrating from Blackbaud Raiser’s Edge to Salesforce

If your nonprofit has made the decision to migrate from Raiser’s Edge to Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud you’ll be looking forward to working with an accessible platform that’s configured to suit the unique business processes and strategic requirements of your organisation.  So far so good, two thumbs up, no worries etc.

Well not quite. You wouldn’t be the first (or last) to know a migration to Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud makes sense for your organisation but understand that there are challenges ahead. There’s the new functionality to learn;the new language to get your head around and the BIG one – data migration.

Every Raiser’s Edge customer has a system configured in a unique way and ultimately it will contain a veritable mountain of legacy data in the form of custom attributes, constituents, proposals, and gifts, events, actions etc.

Consequently migrating from Raiser’s Edge to Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud is a complex project and data migration can be the most stress inducing part.

At NobleCX we know that data migration goes beyond just moving records to a new platform. Over the course of many migration projects we have developed an approach and methodology that involves extracting linked data in such a way that relationships to donations and other transactions are preserved.  

Losing your (Raiser’s) Edge and moving to Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud is a literally a new start so what better time is there for a ‘data makeover’? It’s time to look into what works (in Salesforce), what doesn’t, what to throw away, what to keep, what to review etc

Our team will be on hand to offer advice and suggestions but no-one knows your data better than you.

Here’s a few things to consider;

1- Sorting Out The Simple Stuff

As we know having a purge feels great but not so great when you later realise what you once had is what you now need! However some decisions about what to keep/throw away are easier than others. You’ll find you can part company with attributes that were only useful for a specific occasion – i.e.”2018 Xmas Flyer” or simply identify the attributes you use the least.


 2- One Track Find

It is likely that over time different Raiser’s Edge users will introduce custom attributes that are relevant at a  given time but for migration purposes are superfluous. This can lead to a situation when the same thing is tracked in multiple ways.

For example a previous user may have classified someone who has donated over $5,000 as a ‘Major Donor’. The question you should ask is does this attribute tell you anything about the donor that you couldn’t get from looking at their total donations?

It’s also worth remembering that definitions in your organisation will probably change. In this example the definition of a ‘Major Donor’ is highly likely to change simply because of the changing value of money. It may also be that the strategy in your organisation changes and the contribution of ‘Major Donors’ needs to be significantly higher – in both cases this attribute will be out of alignment with your business.


3- Dealing with the differences

OK! This is where things get a little more complicated, so bear with us.

Campaign Data:

As you would expect or already know the Raiser’s Edge way is not the Salesforce way. For example the structure of campaign in Raiser’s Edge is fundamentally different to Salesforce which will require you to convert data to fit your new system. It’s not an insignificant task but it creates an opportunity to streamline your campaign data structure!

Why? The short answer is that Raiser’s Edge has four defined levels – campaign, fund, appeal, and package – whereas in Salesforce there is only one type of object called a campaign.

In Raiser’s Edge objects at each level exist in a ‘many-to-many relationship’ (i.e. a fund can be associated with multiple child appeals, and an appeal can be associated with multiple parent funds). Individual donations can be tied to an object at any level.

In Salesforce there is only one type of object, called a campaign. Campaigns can be structured in hierarchical relationships in a one-to-many relationship (i.e. a campaign can be associated with multiple child campaigns, but a campaign can only have one parent campaign). Individual donations can be tied to an object at any level.


The Salesforce Nonprofit cloud data model differs to Raiser’s Edge in the way it deals with things like constituents, households, gifts, events and proposals. It’s more than likely that a longtime Raiser’s Edge user would set up a list of attributes related to each of these areas.

Let’s take constituents as an example. Assume for this example that four attributes (see table) have been set for each constituent in your Raiser’s Edge database:

 RE Attribute  Data Type
 Date of Birth  Date
 Potential Bequestor  Yes/No
 Addressee  Text
 Spouse Name  <text>


A big difference between the Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud and Raiser’s Edge data models is that the Salesforce model includes both a Contact and a Household which obviously can have one or more contacts. (Why? Well that’s a different conversation but one we are happy to have if you want to).

Your challenge (and ours) will be to work out if the existing attributes are required and if so whether they apply to an individual contact record or that individual’s household record?

If you decided to keep all four attributes then  would map in the data model as follows:

 RE Attribute  In Salesforce
 Date of Birth  Contact Record
 Potential Bequestor  Contact Record
 Addressee  Household Record
 Spouse Name Create a separate contact on the same household and build a relationship between contacts.


So there is definitely some important pre-migration thinking to be done work to be but the end result will be better data which will allow you to make more effective fundraising decisions.


4-  Making The Big Calls?

As you prepare for the migration it’s time to get your data in the best possible shape and structure.

You’re investing in a new system but it needs the right ‘fuel’. One thing is for sure. If the system doesn’t deliver users within your organisation will blame the system and not the data – not the new start you’re be hoping for!


Thinking of switching to Salesforce?

Why NobleCX is your best choice

NobleCX have extensive experience with migrations off Raiser’s Edge and understand the complexities and challenges involved. We understand your sector and can work with you to identify what information is valuable and worth keeping and what data is just taking up space.

NobleCX can help you regain your edge.