When I was learning CR years ago, the only training here was general, not specific to Raiser’s Edge. Lots of frustration with those one-to-many fields! So I laid out a report that I wanted to create and convinced my boss that it would be cheaper to hire a consultant for a day than to send me for more training. It worked! The consultant and I spent an entire day working on a report that had a number of challenges that helped me learn the ins and outs of Crystal. I’m still learning but I love how much you can do with this program.
I’m also a recently self-taught user of CR and I have had pretty good luck creating reports that I need. We are really pushing the envelop of capabilities of RE and using it in place of a POS system (challenging – not recommending it) but we had to have an End of Shift report to collect all transactions entered by a specific operator so they could reconcile their cash drawers. I was able to create a report that works just fine. My frustration is that the version of CR that comes with my hosted RE is too old to use current CR viewers so I have to create reports in RE, export them, attach them to email to distribute. If the RE packaged version was newer, I could email directly from RE and the recipient could read the report with any free CR viewer. Its frustrating that I have to do all the intermediate steps instead. Course I could buy a newer version – but we’re a non-profit so not very likely.
A skills-based volunteer who knows CR? Just went on my list to Santa! Please, please, please continue this discussion. I have tried to be good but just in case Mr. Claus doesn’t think I’ve been quite good enough I might pick up enough info on resources to help me move forward alone. I have been stuck in the Fifth Circle of Excel way too long. I am iffy on the Bigfoot thing but I know Santa exists. If he didn’t why would I have such an enormous collection of his images?
I am also a self-taught CR user. It’s not a rocket science and does not take ages to learn, although only if you’re dedicated enough to spend time reading the guide and practising. Anyone knows any good forums to use for support? (My organisation does not have CR expert included in the pack).
There is a Crystal reports forum on the Blackbaud forums.
There are also a few Crystal reports groups on LinkedIn.
Josh,this blog is a great idea.
Hi Marie, thank you!
I’ve had some luck with CR……self teaching myself with a book (No Stress Tech Guide) and lots of googling….and have built a couple of reports…..one for our big fundraiser and the second an improved Annual Statement for our donors that includes cash gifts and gifts in kind and are more user friendly than the canned reports.
I’m working on a new report for our prospect pipeline, but got stuck in CR…..so am trying it in MS Access……just because I can find more useable help in Google land for MS Access than CR.
What are your thoughts on using MS Access vs CR?
Looking forward to your future posts
Hi Mary, thanks for sharing your experiences with CR. As for Access vs CR, I’m basically forced to stay away from Access for reports that RE users need to be able to run on their own as they can’t be run through RE. I also use Queue to email a lot of reports, which also rules out Access. If I didn’t need these two things I would definitely consider using Access.
I used the on-line learning tool Lynda.com and for $25 and 2 hours, I learned enough to make some changes to existing CR that I inherited. Plus, my BB help includes a CR expert so I called on them a couple times for trickier stuff. Finally, I got a skills-based vol to create a new CR for me from scratch. These reports are GREAT and my users can run them by themselves.
Hi Jennifer, thanks for sharing that information! The folks at Blackbaud CR support really know their stuff and I also rely on them when I get stuck. I wish all orgs had a volunteer to write a report for them, you are very lucky!
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