It's a simple concept, but constituent codes are often misunderstood. Here are a few things to keep in mind when using constituent codes.
- Don't use too many: Make sure each code conveys meaningful information; red flags include "Individual," "Corporation," "Donor," or "Prospect." Constituent codes should not be used to store self-evident information. Consider cleaning up the list so it includes only meaningful options. In version 7.5 and higher, you can use Table Cleanup in Configuration to consolidate your list.
- Use Date From and Date To: Relationships change with time and constituent codes support date ranges accordingly. For example, when new members join your board, use the date fields to indicate the term of service. Otherwise, as far as The Raiser's Edge is concerned, once a board member, always a board member. When you use constituent codes to filter reports and queries the dates are considered, so make sure you use them consistently.
*Note, that in The Raiser's Edge, the Date From and Date To is automatically considered in exports and mailings. However, in query, the dates are only considered if specified in the Criteria. For more information, refer to How do values for constituent codes date from and date to affect query
- Pay attention to order: If a constituent has multiple codes, make sure the most important one appears first in the grid. A constituent's first constituent code is considered the primary constituent code and is generally the one used (if the date from and date to are within the dates specified in the parameters). If the first constituent code in the list is not valid, the next valid code on the list will be considered the primary constituency code. For example, in the Gift Summary by Constituency Report, when basing the constituent codes on the constituent, instead of the table hierarchy in Configuration, Tables, all of a constituent's gifts are attributed to the first valid constituent code on his record (e.g., the primary constituent code).
- Use gift constituent codes, too: After adding a constituent code to a constituent, then gift records will also add a gift constituency code to the gift. The gift constituency code will always default to the first code (the primary constituency code) on the Bio2/Org2 tab unless changed or removed during gift entry. For example, let's say Marc has two constituent codes, Board Member and Alumni. If Board Member is the first value (first row) on his Bio2 tab, then Board Member will default to the gift constituency. (This can be edited, if desired, during gift entry or directly on the gift record.) Then in the future, say Marc steps down from the Board and you make Alumni his primary (first row/value) on his Bio2 tab. Future gifts will reflect this new default gift constituency. But his past gifts with the Board Member gift constituency will not change, which is a useful tool for reporting.