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Using IOM as primary method of constituent/gift entry

Our organization has begun attempting to use IOM as our daily method of adding gifts. 
We're internally debating if this process is going to be faster than inputting directly to batch.  We're finding that the file is becoming very large.  I'm curious to hear from other users who are using IOM for gift entry and details on their process (do you create new records prior to importing, do you go back and do clean up after the import or try to get everything in the load?)
Any thoughts would be much appreciated. 

I can't imagine this being faster or better. You do not have the luxury of the drop down menus for campaigns, funds, appeals, etc. and the controls you get in Batch/RE (limiting certain campaigns to certain funds, warnings when someone has an outstanding pledge, event registration, proposal, etc.)

I can't say i would ever promote this except in rare instances such as large external events where you are collecting gifts offsite and using excel is just more "accessible" to the event volunteers.
We started using IOM to import batches from a custom gift entry form that our regional offices fill in and submit electronically.  Basically, our central gift team checks the data from these forms outside of RE and then imports with IOM into RE batches.  If something goes wrong they fix it in the batch, but it speeds up the process and keeps adjustments down by minimizing double entry.  RE's business rules don't allow the sort of customization that our Office based forms do, so it's a win across the board.
We actually already do a daily deposit log in Excel.  So what we're doing is basically 'enhancing' that log so that it can be imported rather than keying everything into batch.  We built into our template drop downs for our active campaigns, appeals, funds, and packages.   We already do imports for large events, so doing this is also an attempt to streamline our process rather than using different methods of gift processing based on the day's volume. 
Thanks Bill, I'd love to see that custom gift entry form if you'd be willing to share it. 
My email is if you prefer not to post it in the forum.
That's great Greg, basically our system is very similar using a combination of Access and InfoPath.
Hi Melissa,

I would normally agree but we're dealing with thousands of active records in those drop downs and hundreds of RE users who aren't trained in gift entry.  It really depends on what your landscape is. We can manage our current volume with 4 full time dedicated gift experts and one accountant.  Before IOM we were always behind.
You do not have the luxury of the drop down menus for campaigns, funds, appeals, etc. and the controls you get in Batch/RE (limiting certain campaigns to certain funds, warnings when someone has an outstanding pledge, event registration, proposal, etc.)

You have this when you use the IOM to import into a batch and complete the gift entry from there.

This tool is by far superior to any importing that can be done with RE alone. It searches and identifies existing constituents during the import, which reduces tons of cleanup and additional work. We use it here to import all data that is deposited in our bank lockbox, for which we do use batch and continue coding before committing to the database. We also use it to import all the gifts from our online giving, which we code before the import and then import directly as gift records. I wholeheartedly would recommend this as a tool that is ridiculously faster for gift entry!

If you would like to, you can contact me directly and I would be happy to advise you on how to increase speed of gift entry by automating more of the coding based on your own tables by using an Access database Macro.
I agree that Import-O-Matic is one of the best tools we have ever used. We purchased it primarily to use to import gifts from Sphere Friends Asking Friends. We had been using the Sphere plugin and had come to a time when we were considering hiring another full-time person to handle bringing in the gifts. We import about 20,000 gift records a year throughout our walk season. When we implemented IOM, we did not have to hire another person and it freed up about 1/3 of the time of one of our gift processors. So, we saved about 1 1/3 people. Our process is fast and easy. I was able to train a processor in an hour including the export and balancing. Since you can skip a record, anyone can handle the process and skip a record if they have a question. We set up a query to balance after the import so we know our data is clean.

Since we started using IOM, I've found many uses for it, including cleaning up the database, attributes, etc. You can merge during the import and look at the import record or the RE record. We have an independent Blackbaud product user group in our area and recently one of our users stated that "she would marry IOM if should could" :) - I feel the same way.

Just sayin'.
I've already married IOM and it does far more than my at home hubbie.
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