This month is the celebration of independence for the USA, and it seems appropriate to try revolutionizing your thinking about creating segments of your database, or Groupings, and, hopefully, turn an otherwise onerous task into one that gives you more freedom and choice. Groupings help you to pull out a sampling of people (or organizations) from your full database in order to treat them as a separate group. Why would you even want to do that? Well, the most common answer is to “target” an audience with a specific message from your organization, whether for an appeal letter, an invitation to an event, or a special “thank you” newsletter at the end of a particularly successful campaign.
Sometimes you may just want to see how many people fit certain criteria (how many people gave this year? Last year? How many gave more than X dollars all time? During the previous 24 months?). You may not even need to look at the records individually, but just need the number of records involved. You may want to take one of those groupings, and use the records in a report so that you can see their individual giving, or to list out their contact information, and so forth.
Whatever reasons you may have, you will, sooner or later, want to be able to create that distinct segment. This means that you will need to become comfortable with creating Groupings. And I’m going to give you some hints to ease you into creating exactly the groups of records you need for whatever purpose you have in mind. There is a trick to it all and it doesn’t even involve the software. Here it is, in a nutshell:
Before you create your Grouping, write down exactly what records you are trying to gather together.
Now, there’s a bit more to this than meets the eye, perhaps, but that’s really the essence of creating a Grouping in the easiest way possible. With a short statement describing who it is you are trying to “capture”, you can make certain that each aspect of the group is taken into consideration. Here’s an example: “I want everyone who has given $25 or more”. Now, that’s fairly simple. Or, is it? Do you want everyone, or just individuals, as opposed to organizations? Do you want those who have given a total of $25, or just those who have given $25 or more in a single gift? Do you want to include all giving for all time, or just gifts that occurred within a particular time frame? Does it matter where the donor lives? Does it matter why they gave (based on gift Source code)? Does it matter whether or not they are still active, or even alive?
So now, that simple statement might be reworked to read like this: “I want any living individual who gave a single gift of $25 or more at any Walkathon (based on Motivation code) during the past 2 years”.
The more concise and precise your statement the easier it will be to fill in the appropriate areas of the Groupings criteria to get the exact group of records you want to complete your task. Take a few minutes to work on the statement, and you’ll save time in the long run.