Basics of Running Reports

Report building in Donor Wrangler is quick and easy, with no knowledge of query writing required. However, there are some aspects that may not be immediately obvious. We’ve created this guide to provide you with the information you need to get up and running with your reports.

Understanding Donor, Donation, and Payment Relationships

Before you jump into building your first report, it’s important that you understand the relationships between Donors, Donations, and Payments. These relationships are best demonstrated by this image:

Every Donor can have multiple Donations associated with their profile. Each of these donations has at least one Payment. Each of these levels provides different information. For instance, you can pull broad statistics, such as a donor’s total donation amount over their entire history with your organization from any donor report. However, you can’t get individual donation amounts and dates from a donor report. As another example: you won’t be able to get information such as a check number from a donation report, as the check number is stored under the payment entry.

Note, however, that as you go “down” in the picture above, you can then access data from the upper tiers. As an example, if you’re running a donation report, you can include and filter by donation AND donor data. Further, if you’re running a payment report, you can include and filter by payment, donation, and donor data.

Thus, it’s important that you choose the right report for the job. Before choosing a report template to build from, think about the type of information you need to know:

  • Donor Reports – These are useful for building mailing lists, sorting and grouping donors based on overall statistics such as the total amount of donations given, number of donations given, most recent donation or payment date, etc. You also typically use these reports for building annual donor reports. The Donor List by Timeframe Donation Totals report is specifically designed for this purpose.
  • Donation Reports – These are best utilized when you’re analyzing your donations received over a particular time period. Filters can be applied to further narrow the list by campaign, source, solicitor, etc.
  • Payment Reports – Most often, reports run at this level are done to coordinate with a bookkeeper, whether they’re in-house or external. This report gets all of the specific details for payments received, including reference/check numbers, fee amounts, exact payment dates, etc.
  • Interaction Reports – These are not as commonly used. Most often, an organization will use such a report to dump a history of their interactions with a particular donor, or for a particular campaign.
  • Volunteer Reports – Gather statistics regarding overall volunteer history, specific volunteers, or specific volunteer roles or events.

Utilizing Reports Filters

Once you’ve determined which type of report will give you the data you need, you will to determine which date attribute you will be filtering by. Currently, you choose your date filter from the outset, and can only utilize one. For instance, look at the list of donor reports:

Each of them is named “by X Date” (or similar). This means that the report will have a date filter for that attribute. For instance, if you want to see how many new donors were added to your database in a given year, you will use the Donor List by Database Entry (Donor Since) Date report. When the report loads, you will see the date filter like so:

Changing it to a value of This Year will then refresh the report to only show you donors who were added to the database in the current year.

NOTE: Date values are “living”; that is, they are refreshed based on the actual current date. So if set the date range to This Year, and save it with the name “Donors Added to Our Database in 2019”, it will be incorrect on January 1, 2020. This is because at that point, it will begin filter for donors added to the database during 2020. If you want to have a report with a specific date range in mind, utilize the Custom Range option instead. In the example of a 2019 specific report, you would set the start date to January 1, 2019 and the end date to December 31, 2019. If you the ran that same report again on January 1, 2020, it would be correct, as the date filter was limited to that exact time period.

Additional filters can be added to the report by utilizing the Change Filters button in the upper right hand corner of the screen. This will pop open a box with all of the possible filter options. You can narrow down the filters by category, or search for a keyword to find the exact filter you want:

For instance, if you’re building a report to see what donations you’ve received for a particular campaign, you would click Change Filters and ensure that Donation Campaign is set to Yes. You can then select a particular campaign (or multiple campaigns) by clicking the field next to the filter and selecting which ones should apply:

Unless the name of the filter says otherwise, all of these types of filters are OR filters. For instance, if you selected Annual Gala and Capital Campaign from the filter pictured above, it would show any donation with either of those set as the campaign.

The main filters that do not function this way are related to Donor Tags. These filters have a name that specifies how they behave:

  • Donor Tags Include All Of – The donor must have all tags you select on their profile to be included in the report.
  • Donor Tags Include Any Of – The donor will appear in the report if they have any one of the tags you choose.
  • Donor Tags Include None Of – The donor will appear in the report if they don’t have any of the tags you choose.

Other filters are related to statistics, such as their Total Giving is Greater Than a certain amount. There are also filters for specific profile information, such as Zip Code. By making use of these filters, you can more easily segment your donors and donation history to get a good insight on where your organization’s strengths and weaknesses lie.

NOTE: On the report templates, the filters you applied are saved and remembered the next time you load that report. When you are building a new report, it’s a good idea to always click the Reset Filters button in the upper right as a first step.

Changing and Reordering Columns

There is a wealth of data that can be included in a report, with nearly 150 possible different columns. As mentioned above, not every piece of data can be included in every report. (See the second paragraph beneath the picture under the heading “Understanding Donor, Donation, and Payment Relationships” above.)

You can add or remove relevant columns by clicking the Change Columns button in the upper right. Like filters, in the popup box that displays, you can search for the column you need by category or by keyword.

Once you have all the columns you want within the report, you can drag and drop the columns by clicking and dragging the headers to reorder them.

Saving Reports

Once you have a report showing the exact data you want with the filters you want applied, you can save it for continual use. Click the Save button in the upper right. A box will pop up prompting you to enter a name for the report, as well as restrict who can access the report.

While it’s not likely that you’re going to have any sort of “secret” report, restricting access to only yourself (as an example). This may be useful, as anyone who views the report may make changes. Any changes that are made to a shared report are applied to all users. Thus, if it’s a report that you need for your day to day work, restricting access to only yourself ensures that no one accidentally changes it without your knowledge.

Saved reports show up on the main reports page beneath the report template that was used to create them, like so:

When you view a saved report, your screen is a bit simplified:

Note that the filters section is hidden by default. This is because, generally speaking, once you’ve saved a report, you won’t change its filters, as you’ve already set them to what they need to be to show you the data you want to see. If you must make changes, click the Toggle Filters button in the upper right to show them and make adjustments. Keep in mind that any changes you make are immediately applied and saved. If you want to experiment and don’t want to ruin your existing saved report, utilize the Copy button in the upper right to duplicate the report before you change anything. You can also Delete a saved report by clicking the downward arrow next to the Copy button.

Bulk Actions

NOTE: Your account must have access to Bulk Actions in order to use this functionality. If you need access, speak to your director account, and they can edit your user account to grant you access. If your account is the director account and you don’t have access, please contact support.

Bulk actions are special functions that can be performed on all of the donors, donations, or payments returned in your report. For example, let’s say it’s January 2, 2020, and you want to run a receipt for everyone who made at least one payment in 2019. After creating your year-end receipt letter template, you would utilize the  Donor List by Most Recent Payment Date report and set the date range to January 1, 2019 to December 31, 2019. Then you would click the Bulk Actions button.

Choose Add Letter. This will bring up a box where you will be required to name the bulk action (for reference, this is an internal name only you will see) and choose the letter template and page layout you wish to use:

Upon clicking Add, the system will then generate and add one letter for each donor in the report. You can then go to the Letters page to batch generate, print, and mail them. If you make a mistake, such as setting an incorrect date range or applying a filter you didn’t wish to apply, you can undo the action. (NOTE: Your account must have permission to utilize the Undo button. Contact the director account holder for access if you need it. If you are the director account and don’t see the Undo button, contact support.)

Other bulk actions are available and more are likely to be added. For another example of a bulk action you can utilize, there is a help article about Bulk Editing Payment Batch ID Numbers available.

Exporting Data From Reports

Finally, one of the most important functions is the ability to export your report’s data. Often, organizations will do the bulk of their filtering for the report within Donor Wrangler, and then export the report for further manipulation and weeding out of unwanted items in Excel.

NOTE: Your account must have access to Export Data in order to use this functionality. If you need access, speak to your director account holder, and they can edit your user account to grant you access. If your account is the director account and you don’t have access, please contact support.

Simply click the CSV, XLS (Excel), or PDF button to the right above the report to export the data for further manipulation. That’s all there is to it!

More Questions?

We hope that this article gives you a nice, broad overview of how reports work. You may have further questions that aren’t answered here. Or, you may have an idea for a filter that isn’t currently available. In any case, we’d love to hear from you. Contact us using the link at the bottom of this article and we’ll be in touch!

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