If you’ve been playing along you now have a query all set to go and are itching to start using Crystal Reports. Not yet. First we need to get the information out of Raiser’s Edge and into a file we can use with Crystal Reports. Similar to the previous article on Query, I’ll assume you have a working knowledge of the Export module in Raiser’s Edge and I’ll focus on things to consider when creating an export for your Crystal Reports report.
The first and most important decision to make is what type of export to use. The four types that I use most often are Gift, Constituent, Action and Participant (in order of most used to least). For the sample report we are building (seen here in a previous article) I would use a Gift export. You’ll notice that the report contains constituent name and also sorts, groups and totals by constituent and you might consider using a Constituent export instead. I would still use a Constituent export and I prefer to have Crystal Reports do the calculations (instead of having RE do the work by exporting Constituent – Summary information – Gifts – Total Gift amount).
One way to figure out which export type to use is to ask yourself “What type of report is this?” The answer to this question is usually based on the details of the report. Does your report show gift details (like our sample report)? Then you should probably use a Gift export. Does your report show event details such as attendee names, guest names, table and seat numbers? Then you should probably use a Participant export. Does your report show constituent info, gifts, actions, memberships, and attributes? Then you should probably use a Constituent export.
The next decision to make is which Export or file format to use. If you want to run the report through Custom Reports in Raiser’s Edge then you’ll need to use the “Blackbaud Report Writer Database (MDB)” format. This basically creates a separate Microsoft Access database file that Crystal Reports connects to and pulls data from. It’s helpful to be familiar with the structure of this file but I’ll discuss that in a future article (I’ll add the link here when the article is posted).
The next step is to decide which fields to include. Again, using the sample report we are creating (found here) we can review the mockup and figure out the fields we will need:
- Gift Date
- Gift Amount
- Gift Type (we need to create two columns based on this field, Cash & Pledge)
- Gift ID or Gift Import ID
- Constituent Name
- Fund or Fund -> Description
- I recommend using Fund -> Description because using the Fund field (from the main list of fields on a Gift export) will pull either the Fund ID or Fund Description based on the user’s setting for Fund Format found in Tools -> User Options -> Records tab -> Funds.
- Sort Key (or Sort Name) and Constituent ID (or ImportID) (I include these two fields in most of my report exports.)
As you figure out which fields to include keep in mind that there might be other fields needed in the export that do not show on the report (e.g. sort key, gift type, constituent ID). Think about fields you might need for calculations, sorting, grouping, etc.
Save your export (don’t worry, you can always go back and add more fields), export your data and let’s get on to the fun stuff! See you in Crystal Reports!