September 2010 Tips and Tricks

DataMiner Platinum or Gold... Do You Know Which One to Use?

As I’m sure you are all aware, databases can grow very complicated very quickly. When you want to export information from your database, it only becomes more confusing if there are multiple tools that do different things. I want to help you understand the differences between, and know when to use our old query tool, DataMiner Gold, and our new one, DataMiner Platinum.

In a quick summary, DataMiner Platinum (DMP) does everything that DataMiner Gold does and much more. Any stored information in your database can be pulled out or queried by using DataMiner Platinum including donation amounts, donation averages, donation max/min, notes, tickler headings, email lists, last updated fields, and much more. DataMiner Gold has some of these features and may work well for your existing queries, but in this explanation we will focus mostly on DMP.

The power of Gold was in the simplicity. Your query starts with a blank slate. From there, you can add items to (+) and remove items from (-) your end report.  For example, “Who are the volunteers that have helped with data entry?” Now what happens if you have donors and volunteers, but want to narrow it down to know, “Who are the donors who volunteered for data entry and gave more than $1000 last year?” This is where DMP comes in. DMP uses basic computer logic with operators such as “AND”, “OR”, parenthesis, “EQUALS”, “DOES NOT EQUAL”, “CONTAINS”, and many more, which can sound scary. Just remember to start simple and work up from there. It won’t be long before you appreciate this tool as much as we do.

The key to learning how to use DataMiner Platinum is in a few simple statements. “If X occurs then show me all of the fields I have selected.” The query gets more complicated when X is actually several statements. Each additional statement that you add can narrow your data further or bring in additional scenarios. Here are a few more detailed examples to help you get started.

Example Scenario 1

The Development Director returns from a week-long vacation and wants to be caught up to speed on all the activity they missed.

(In this situation, as long as the organization is using the notes field regularly, a comprehensive notes report can be generated.)

Step 1: Click to add a new batch and give it a name.

Step 2:  Under the Data Export Selection Tab, select Notes and then below it select Detail Information.

Step 3:  Select the fields that you would like to be exported. It should at a minimum include NotesDate, NotesType, and NotesComment along with any other information that will help you such as organization or contact name. Remember to click Save Changes.

Step 4: Now it’s time to build your query.

  1. Start by adding a new field that we can use to set the date. Select NotesDate with a comparison operator of BETWEEN. You can now enter the week that you were gone. This will give you all notes that are labeled with a date that lies within your selected range.
  2. You can also add an additional field and select NotesLastUpdated to track any changes made to older notes. Since this is not the first field in the query we need to select either AND/OR. In this case we want all notes that meet either the first constraint OR the second constraint, so we will select OR. Use the same operator of BETWEEN and select the same date range.

Step 5: Click Save/Validate and move on to Review Data and Export. You can now preview your notes and filter or sort them any way you would like using the same familiar DonorSnap interface. Click Export to Excel and you are all ready to be caught up to speed on what you missed.
(When adding a new batch, you can see that there is a template for a notes query similar to the one above that you can edit to meet your needs.)

Example Scenario 2

I have 10 fundraising campaigns running right now. Two campaigns target only past donors. Our goal was to see past donors give a single gift or multiple gifts totaling $500 or more. I want to count how many donors have met this goal for these two campaigns.

Step 1: Click to add a new batch and give it a name.

Step 2: Under the Data Export Selection Tab, select Donation and then below it select Summary Information. Save changes.

Step 3: Select the fields that you would like to be exported.

  1. First I select DonationCampaign and then pick MAX in the next column because it is a text field.
  2. Next add DonationAmount and pick SUM in the following column because we want to see the total that each donor has given. I can also add First and Last to have the donor names. Remember to click Save Changes.

Step 4: Now it’s time to build your query.

  1. First I want to limit it by donation amount. I add DonationAmount in the first field and choose >= 500.00.
  2. Second I add a parenthesis that will create structure for the two options of campaigns. I also need an AND before the parenthesis.
  3. Within the parenthesis, add another field for DonationCampaign = Campaign 1. Leave the option for AND/OR blank.
  4. Add another field for the second campaign and this time use OR because we want either of these two campaigns.
  5. Remember to hit Save/Validate to make sure the query is correct.

Step 5: Move to Review Data and Export. Now out of personal preference I will sort first by campaign and then by amount.

In Conclusion...

With DataMiner Platinum, it is easy to make extremely targeted reports. Now it is important to remember that DMP does not do calculations other than summary queries for numbers. That is what Excel is for. Check out how to use the subtotal function in Excel for an easy way to create multiple group totals in one sweep. Another helpful tip when building your query is to read it like you would a sentence (or if you like algebra, like an equation). Start the sentence with “Find me all data for when…” This will be very helpful for deciding when you need to or should not add an AND. Now get out there and give it a try!