This is perhaps more of a rant than anything else but after being so pleased with the way Blackbaud introduced Batch into the RE:API I now found myself stuck with another piece of Raiser’s Edge functionality that I am less than pleased with.In the UK Gift Aid is big business. In the States (and possibly elsewhere) the donor can claim tax back from charitable donations. In the
Without the complication of Gift Aid you would normally adjust the gift or write it off. With Gift Aid Blackbaud introduced a whole new procedure. The gift is “archived” (it can only be seen if you change a filter setting) and a new gift can optionally be created to replace it whereby you can adjust the values on the new gift. The archive gift remains in the system so that there is an audit trail but does not show up in reports other than Gift Aid reports.So what are the problems?
- In general this is a whole new process for adjusting a gift. It is very different from regular adjustments and you have to think about which type of adjustment needs to be made.
- There is no link between the archive gift and the replacement gift (would it not be logical to have a “goto” arrow so that you can move between the two). The system Id of the archived gift is given in an attribute (see next point). How useful is the system ID when the only way of looking that up is using a query. What is more the link already exists. There already is a new field of replacement gift id. When a donor calls up and wants some information about their gifts the user now how to go to query to look up the history of the gift and can no longer do it from the gift screen.
- There is link information stored in attributes which are set up when you adjust the tax claim. However these attributes can be deleted and indeed the table entries can also be deleted (granted they are put back in when you add another adjustment). It just does not seem like a robust solution.
- Perhaps the worst problem is when you need to adjust a payment in a recurring gift. For example if a person paid tax in the UK, moved abroad and then came back, continued to pay the recurring gift throughout based on their original Gift Aid Declaration, then those transaction in the middle will need to be adjusted. They can be adjusted using the Adjust Tax Claim facility but then the gift cannot be reapplied to the correct transactions!
Point three is a real show stopper for many organisations.What I don’t understand is why the tax claim adjustment process wasn’t built into the existing adjustment functionality. There is essentially no difference between the two processes. The new functionality adds a tax refund claim field on the archived gift. This could clearly have been added to an adjustment if Blackbaud had decided to use the original adjustment mechanism.I understand why they did it from a software development point of view. The majority of their user base will not use this functionality so why change something that works well? The problem is that a large minority of their user base will use this functionality and will struggle with it.I have a suspicion that Blackbaud are much more confident in adding new gift functionality (the adjust tax claim menu item) than changing existing adjustment functionality together with changing the Gift Aid reporting mechanism. What a shame and what a waste. Let’s hope Blackbaud correct this for the better and soon.