A DARS Glossary of Terms and Definitions

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This article will be updated on a regular basis. Updates may be required in response to updates to DARS or changes to business processes or errors.

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Below is an A-Z glossary of common DARS terms, which will be amended from time to time, for the benefit of users and non-users alike.

A DARS Glossary of Terms and Definitions


A series of planned efforts such as direct mailings, e-mailings, telethons or even events to contact a group of constituents, often but not always in order to generate gifts. Typically, an appeal occurs across a specific time period and has a monetary goal. You can view the dates of the appeal, its associated marketing effort(s), event(s) and package(s), and whether the constituent responded.


Specialised information about a constituent or other record such as Matric Year and Collected Consent, that doesn’t fit within a natural field or tab elsewhere. You can view the value, group, date range and any comments entered about the constituent attribute.


Used to efficiently add or edit many records at once, without opening each individual record. You do so by first creating a batch design to specify the fields to add or update in each type of record.

Blackbaud Direct Marketing (BBDM)

The marketing and communications module, which facilitates sophisticated segmentations, KPIs and monetary or non-monetary responses.

Blackbaud CRM (BBCRM)

The database solution for DARS, it is a state-of-the-art constituent relationship management (CRM) database with built-in analysis and reporting tools, which is customised to our needs. It integrates with BBIS for online activity. Designed for enterprise-level institutions, one of its key features is Site and Role security.


The primary supplier of the DARS software, and one of the market leaders in the UK and US for relationship management solutions. Well known for their earlier product, The Raiser’s Edge.

Blackbaud Internet Solutions (BBIS)

The web portal for DARS, which interfaces with BBCRM and enables registered members (primarily alumni) to update their own contact details, to search for and message other members through online directories, to make online donations and to book places for events.

Blackbaud NetCommunity (BBNC)

Former name of Blackbaud Internet Solutions (also known for its integration with Blackbaud The Raiser’s Edge).

Blackbaud Sub-Licence Agreement

Part of the Participation Agreement, this is a software agreement that specifies in what way Participants, the University and Blackbaud are allocated rights in relation to the software. It resides under the main software agreement between the University and Blackbaud.


Reporting structures for Participants to view and analyse the success of their fundraising activities. For example, you can set up Campaigns based on different Designations, Appeals and/or Opportunities. Campaigns can themselves be grouped within a Campaign Hierarchy. The ‘Destination Fund’ Campaign Hierarchy details the final destination of any ‘Transfer’ gift and so is typically used by Colleges for their overall designation reporting. Typically, a campaign occurs across a specific time period and has a monetary goal.

Central University

The University as a whole including its administrative units, faculties and departments.


The process by which a fundraiser requests access to cultivate or solicit a constituent for gifts. Clearance is then granted or rejected by the constituent’s RM.

Clearance Good Practice Guidelines

The collegiate University-wide agreement governing Clearance procedures.

Collegiate Services role

Fundraisers and Revenue Admin with this role have extended read access to (non-secure) gift information across all Participants. It is limited to the following Central University non-fundraising teams: Campaign Communications, DARS Support Centre, Donor Relations, Gift Registry, Proposals, and Research.


Bulk or mass communications which have been sent to the constituent, including marketing efforts and event invitations. A constituent’s Solicit Codes and Mail Preferences are stored in this area.


An individual, group or organisation whose details are held in BBCRM. Individuals are people; Organisations are companies, Trusts, Foundations or other organisational entities; and Groups are members-based groups, committees, Fellowships, clubs or societies (other than Involvements).

Constituent Data Reviewer role

Fundamental 2 users with this role have access to the Constituent Data Review functionality for contact updates. The Constituent Data Reviewer for any constituent is a member of the RM.

Constituent Manager role

This is the foundation role currently required by any user, which gives access to add or update basic constituent data. The Fundamentals 1 training course is a pre-requisite.


The name given to the collegiate University Development and Alumni Relations System, which provides a common source of data on donors, alumni and friends and an integrated web portal.

DARS Data Protection Statement

Our notification to every constituent that we will protect their privacy and process their personal information in a fair and lawful manner which meets the requirements of the DPA. Fairness requires us to be transparent with individuals about how their data will be used. This Statement outlines what and how data are going to be processed, who will be processing data, what the data are going to be used for (the ‘permitted purpose’) and to whom the data will be disclosed.

DARS Helpdesk

A single point of contact for all DARS support, the DARS Helpdesk is based at IT Services (Hythe Bridge St) and operating normal UK business hours excluding public holidays and University closure days.

DARS Support Centre

The team responsible for providing DARS support to all current users via the Helpdesk and helping to ensure that data within the System is held and used appropriately at all times. There are five Support groups within the overall team – covering Process & Data, Training, Website, Migrations and Functional Support. The team also more closely supports the University Development (UODO) and Alumni (UOAO) Offices in their management and usage of data, and acts to facilitate positive and responsible data-sharing between colleges, faculties, departments, administrative units, international offices, recognised alumni societies, and sports and other clubs of the University.

Data Controller

Designated person within each Participant who (alone or jointly or in common with other persons) determines the purposes for which and the manner in which any personal data are processed.

Data Protection Act (DPA)

United Kingdom legislation (1998) which gives individuals the right to know what data are held about them. It provides a framework to ensure that personal information is handled properly. The Act works in two ways. Firstly, it states that anyone who processes personal information must comply with eight principles. Secondly, it provides individuals with important rights, including the right to find out what personal information is held on computer and most paper records.

Designations and Fundraising Purposes

How revenue is applied. Fundraising Purposes (the reasons your organisation raises money) form the building blocks of designations and the Fundraising Hierarchy is a visual representation of the organisational structure of your Purposes; these can be nested across up to five levels. Gift totals at each level of the Hierarchy “roll up” and are included in a Purpose’s parent total toward a goal. After you establish your Designations, you can associate revenue with them. They can also be associated with Campaigns to track performance, and a variety of reports and KPIs are available to help you determine the effectiveness of your fundraising efforts.


Used to store notes, media links and attachments with information about the constituent, event, gift, interaction, plan step, package or other record. For each documentation item, you can view its date, type, title and author.

Enhanced Data Manager role

Users with this role have access to create and edit Queries, exports, export definitions, Selections and other analytical tools. The Fundamentals 2 training course is a pre-requisite.

Event Manager role

Users with this role have access to create and edit events, including invitation, registration and event payment processing. The Events Manager training course is a pre-requisite.

Fundraiser role (or Development Professional role)

Users with this role have access to fundraising functionality, including the Prospect module and ‘My Fundraiser’ page, and (mostly) read access to gifts. The Fundraising training course is a prerequisite.

Head of DARS Support Centre

The operational manager of the Live System, responsible for representing all Participants and users and for promoting and developing DARS across the collegiate University, by: owning and developing user protocols; owning and developing the DARS roadmap; ensuring data quality and satisfaction of system use for all users; ensuring the ‘DARS Service’ provides appropriate training and support for all users; and overseeing and supporting the transition phase for new Participants.

Individual User Agreement (IUA)

An agreement to be signed by the user before being granted access to DARS that s/he will work within the Rules. This includes agreeing to abide by professional standards of conduct for the data they access and to work within the Principles and Protocols, Relationship Management Scheme and Clearance Good Practice Guidelines.

Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)

The UK's independent public body set up to promote access to official information and protect personal information by promoting good practice, ruling on eligible complaints, providing information to individuals and organisations, and taking appropriate action when the law is broken. The ICO enforces and oversees the DPA, the Freedom of Information Act, the Environmental Information Regulations and the PECR.

Information Library

The Information Library offers features to organise and navigate your queries and KPI's


Details of specific planned, pending or completed interactions with individual constituents, including meetings, telephone calls, email messages and letters. Documentation and responses can be stored.

Interested Party (IP)

A Site which has an existing relationship to a constituent according to a pre-defined set of qualification criteria. IPs are listed as Sites on the Security tab within BBCRM and IP status grants additional access to data for that constituent, including gift information. The RM is automatically an IP to a constituent.


Current interests of a constituent. Specific interest types can be easily segmented, e.g. when you send invitations to an event. You can also hold additional comments.

Internet Solutions roles

Users with one or more of these roles have access to BBIS functionality, such as for web content editing and webpage building. This role is limited to users within those Participants with a current BBIS website. The Internet Solutions Essentials training course is a pre-requisite.


Activities and achievements associated with a constituent’s education history, such as University or college clubs and societies, prizes and bursaries. You can view type, dates, awards, and comments.

Key Performance Indicator (KPI)

A measurement that represents the status of an operational area and progress it is making to reach operational objectives. KPIs are usually reached via a numeric calculation, although the actual KPI could be a letter, phrase or colour.

Local Site Admin role

Users with this role have access to additional BBCRM functionality, such as delete functions and creating letter templates. This role is limited to certain Super Users within Participants. Specialist training is a pre-requisite.

Mail Preferences

These record the preferences of each constituent to receive or not receive a specific repeated mailing or e-communication, such as a newsletter or email bulletin. You can record the criteria, preferred address and contact method, whether to send or not send, and any comments.

Marketing and Communications role

Users with this role have access to create and edit mail and email Marketing Efforts and related functionality including Appeals, segments, marketing export definitions, packages, creatives and documents. The Marketing and Communications training course is a pre-requisite.


These track unqualified, qualified, response pending, accepted, rejected and cancelled ask amounts, and other related information such as designations and likelihood, associated with the solicitation step of a Prospect Plan. Revenue can then be associated to an Opportunity.

For further information please see the Opportunities Wiki page.

Oxford Student Systems (OSS)

The University-wide student database, from which a weekly feed automatically updates DARS with name, contact and education data for current students and recent leavers (up to six months).


Any institution that has signed the Participation Agreement and is a stakeholder in DARS. In addition to College and Permanent Private Hall (PPH) Participants, the Central University is itself one amalgamated Participant, incorporating separate administrative units, faculties and departments which each have signed a covering ‘Memorandum of Understanding’.

Participation Agreement (or Head Agreement)

The legal agreement signed by and between the Central University and each other Participant, which underpins all usage of DARS.

Primary Education

Primary Education represents the dominant study experience a constituent has had with the University. This will typically be their only degree with the University, or their first degree if they have more than one. However, there are additional rules for some constituents e.g. visiting students. For a complete definition, see https://darswiki.bsp.ox.ac.uk/index.php?title=Definition_of_Primary_Education#Definition_of_Primary_Education.

Principles and Protocols for Fundraising (or Principles and Protocols)

The collegiate University-wide agreement to share data and work collaboratively in fundraising and alumni relations, which underpins DARS.

Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations (PECR)

United Kingdom legislation (2003) governing the sending of direct marketing by electronic means, including email, telephone, fax, and text message. The Regulations complement the DPA in the regulation of organisations’ use of personal data and in ensuring appropriate safeguards for individuals’ rights and privacy. Direct marketing covers a wide range of activities, including alumni relations and development. PECR requires us to have a positive indication of consent before sending direct marketing materials and to provide suitable means of ‘opting out’ in our communications.


A process is a consistent repeatable set of steps towards achieving an output. This output could be the sending of a thank you letter, the production of a report, the creation of a new record or numerous other outcomes. Consistent but flexible processes are core to the successful use of DARS.

Programme Board

The Committee responsible for providing strategic direction of the DARS Programme and resolving critical issues, chaired by the PVC for Development and External Affairs (also the Programme Sponsor).

Project Team

Those staff-members temporarily seconded to DARS in order to implement new functionality, through a pre-determined project plan. Each project is overseen by the DARS Technical Programme Manager within IT Services and the Head of DARS.


A constituent who is being or has been personally cultivated or solicited for fundraising purposes.

Prospect Manager (PM)

The lead coordinator for a particular Prospect. He or she must always be a member of the current RM to that Prospect, and any external Clearance requests should be directed to this individual. If the Central University is RM, then the Prospect Manager is the RL; if a college is RM, then the default individual is that college’s Head of Development, although they may assign it to another fundraiser.

Prospect Plan

Different types of plans you intend to employ to cultivate a selected prospect, for example a Major Gift Plan. They can be developed over time to meet the Prospect’s specific needs and you can store details; forthcoming, overdue, or completed steps; interactions; documentation and Opportunities.

Queries and Selections

Queries are a key tool for grouping records that meet a set of criteria you define. They can include numerous filters and output fields and enable you to browse through a specific set of records. Selections can be created from Queries and include only record IDs; they are designed to be used in various features and are optimised for processing speed. You can even use Selections within Queries in order to filter or output more complex data.

Read-only Roles

Users with one of these three roles (Lodge Porter, College Officer or Management Executive) have access to view certain data on DARS, but cannot amend this data. One of the Read-only training courses is a pre-requisite.

Relationship Management and Major Potential Donor Scheme (or Relationship Management Scheme)

The collegiate University-wide agreement for managing relationships with current and prospective donors, including potential major donors, which underpins DARS.

Relationship Manager (RM)

The Participant assigned overall responsibility for managing and co-ordinating the collegiate University’s relationship with a particular constituent. For alumni and students, colleges are responsible for identifying the appropriate RM; usually it will be a constituent’s first college, unless and until another college has been identified as having the primary relationship. Other individuals, companies, trusts and foundations will usually have the Central University assigned as RM, unless the relationship with the collegiate University is known to have originated through a college. RMs manage requests by other fundraisers to approach their constituents (as per Clearance) and have responsibility for reviewing all of the shared and restricted data stored on DARS. In instances of dispute in relation to the primacy, accuracy or appropriateness of data, the RM has the authority to make the final decision. It is listed as the Assigned Security Group on the Security tab within BBCRM.


Familial, social or professional associations between constituents. Different information can be stored depending on the relationship and constituent type. Most common are individual (eg. spouse, friend, family member, business associate, etc) and employment relationships.


Formatted output of data usually in a tabular structure, sometimes including graphs or charts. Commonly used reports are management metrics, financial reports and constituent profiles.

Research Group

A research tool for grouping together constituents, for example to maintain a ‘scratch-list’ of potential prospects or invitees over time and/or to determine the quantity, quality and type of prospects available. Members can be added or deleted from Research Groups easily, including via a Selection. Individuals can be in several Research Groups simultaneously. Although Research Group memberships don’t exist on an individual’s record, you can Query them.

Revenue Admin role

Users with the Central or College/Dept Revenue Admin role have write access to revenue, and (mostly) read access to Prospect Plans. The Revenue Admin training course is a pre-requisite.


A specific set of data access and system functionality, in each case supported by training, which defines what a particular user with that assignment is able to do within BBCRM or BBIS. A user may be assigned one or several roles.

Rules for Participation (or Rules)

A key part of the Participation Agreement, which prescribes a set of rules for how Participants and users must use DARS. It is a condition of access that these are adhered to at all times.

Secure Site

For data security, DARS allows users to store data in an area secured by the Site they are a member of, for example if the data is of a sensitive nature. Constituents can be wholly site secured; or, within a shared record, Interactions or Prospect Plans can be site secured, as can the Fundraising Purposes that gifts are allocated to. Site securing data means that only users of the Site itself can view it.

Service Level Agreement

A part of the Participation Agreement, which covers provision of the DARS system and related support to users. It defines and describes: the DARS service and responsibilities, including scope, service hours, service availability and reliability; the System Management structure and the format for service review and reporting; contact points for customer support and the escalation procedure.


An operational team within a single Participant for which BBCRM/BBIS access is configured and specific data is assigned. College Participants typically contain only one Site, but in the case of the Central University there are multiple Sites for the different administrative units, faculties and departments. Sites are related to one another via the Site Hierarchy.

Solicit Code

These record the preferences of constituents to be excluded from types of or all forms of communication. The highest level Solicit Code is ‘Do Not Contact – Collegiate University’. When adding Solicit Codes, users must record the start date and reason for the communication block.

Strictly Anonymous Site

A more limited-access version of a Secure Site, in that the same concepts apply but only a subset of users within each Site have access to view the data stored against their Strictly Anonymous Site. This will typically include the Head of Development and other senior staff only.

Super Users

Super Users are a formal, separate group whose role is to help steer the effective current use and future development of DARS. The two main roles of a Super User are to support users within their designated group and to develop and promote new best practices.

System Admin role

Users with this role have access to all areas of BBCRM (the equivalent role in BBIS is ‘Supervisor’). This role is limited to members of the DARS Support Centre and other IT Services staff. Specialist training is a pre-requisite.

System Management Committee and Working/Steering Groups

The Committee responsible for operational management of DARS, including: development of System design, policy and processes; overseeing the DARS Service for current users; managing compliance to the System policy and processes; resolving breaches; escalation of any grievances and disputes; overseeing external DARS communications and the migrations of new Participants; and prioritising new functionality, change requests, customised reporting and BBIS roll-out. It is supported in its remit by several DARS Working and Steering Groups.


Gifts which are donated to one charitable entity (e.g. the Central University), for Gift Aid or other taxable purposes, with a specific instruction from the donor to then transfer the gift on to another charitable entity (e.g. a college). DARS has customised functionality for this transfer process.


Used to indicate that donations should be recognised ‘In memory of’, ‘In honour of’, or ‘On behalf of’ someone other than the donors.

UO Relationship Lead (RL)

The primary contact person within the Central University for a given constituent, whose function is to coordinate instances where one or several UODO or other departmental fundraising teams each have a relationship with or interest in that constituent. The RL is listed on the Security tab within BBCRM and must be notified of any suggested approach by another Central University fundraiser before it may be submitted to the RM through Clearance.


An individual who has been granted access to BBCRM or BBIS (upon completion of training). They must be a current staff-member of the collegiate University, and a constituent record is required for them.

User Access Form

A form to be completed by the nominated authoriser of an existing Participant to request (via the Helpdesk) that a particular person under their responsibility be appropriately trained and granted access to DARS. Each request must be reviewed by the Head of DARS before it can be approved.


A non-staff-member providing voluntary support of a Participant’s fundraising, events or alumni relations initiatives. You can track volunteer types, hours worked, objectives and other details.

Wealth and Ratings

Area for storing attributes related to wealth, prospect or donor status, including propensity and other ratings. For example, ‘Donor Bands’ are automatically updated overnight to inform users whether a constituent is a non-donor, donor, mid-level donor or major donor. Special care must be taken with wealth and ratings information to ensure the data is accurate and attributable to an appropriate source.


Webmasters are a combined user and technical support group whose role is to help steer the effective current use and future development of BBIS. The three main roles of a Webmaster are to support BBIS users within their designated group, to develop and promote new best practices online, and to support external website visitors such as alumni and friends.

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