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Access to up-to-the-minute giving details

  • 1.  Access to up-to-the-minute giving details

    Posted 07-13-2022 12:54 PM
    Good afternoon,
    Informal poll here. We currently maintain code to provide a custom display of donor giving details directly from our production tables for our front-line fundraisers and others who do not work for the back-office. All other reporting related to giving is based on a warehouse that is generated every night. I have been suggesting that we modify this application to run off the warehouse instead to

    1) Make numbers consistent across all data sources, with the exception of back-office systems and
    2) Centralize all code for transforming the giving data for consumption and
    2) Simplify the maintenance of the custom application

    My suggestion is based on the belief that if anyone needed to know if a particular transaction has been added or updated on a given day, they can approach back-office staff for that information.To the best of my knowledge, this is seldom the case. I am hoping anyone who has a strong argument that I am overlooking for the presentation of up-to-the-minute giving details would be willing to share, or are aware of any relevant best practices. Note this effort would not impact our ability to report figures for special events like Day of Giving.

    Thank you,
    Rick Haskell

    Director of Information Services | Advancement Operations
    Temple University

    Richard Haskell
    Director of Development IS Service
    Temple University

  • 2.  RE: Access to up-to-the-minute giving details

    Posted 07-13-2022 02:04 PM
    Hi Rick,

    I believe your inclination to move reporting to your data warehouse which syncs from production each day is the correct one. Transactional production databases tend to be optimized for inserting and updating data rather than for reporting. The arguments made for access to real-time data in reporting tend to be based on the need to be able to make decisions faster with the most information possible. Given the relatively low volume of giving posted in an average day and the nature of relationship based fundraising, I have not seen a tremendous benefit to displaying real-time giving data outside of special occasions. Adding to that, many institutions post gifts in batches at a particular time of day. If that posting is done at the end of the business day then the window where real-time giving data diverges from day old giving data is minimized.

    That being said, if there is a business need for real time data, it may be worth looking into real-time data warehousing or at least increasing the frequency of data warehouse refreshes so you could still use the warehouse as the single source of truth for reporting purposes.


    Matt Johnson

    Matthew Johnson
    Enterprise Data Architect
    University of Miami | Development and Alumni Relations

  • 3.  RE: Access to up-to-the-minute giving details

    Posted 07-14-2022 10:49 AM
    One of our clients implemented live reporting during the pandemic, when there were more disruptions to gift processing, and gift officers were sometimes in the dark about contributions for several days or longer. They are now decommissioning those live reports because they do not add much value and can create discrepancies and confusion. 

    Thank you,
    Isaac Shalev
    Data Strategy Expert
    Sage70, Inc.
    (917) 859-0151

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