You can track archived constituents using the Is inactive checkbox. Located on the Bio 1 or Org 1 tab, this checkbox is used to include or excluded constituents from searches, mailings, reports, and queries. If the record becomes active again, simply unmark the checkbox. This streamlined method prevents you from adding and removing information from archived constituents.
When you mark a constituent as inactive, their record remains in the database. Also, marking a constituent as inactive does not exclude them from mailings. If you need to remove the record entirely, then consider one of the following methods.
A complete backup of the database is a simple archive solution. Make sure to backup the database prior to deleting any inactive or deceased records. Properly mark the backup media (CD, zip disk, or tape) as the archived version and store it safely. If you ever need access to those accounts, then restore the backup temporarily. Remember to shut down the database engine to backup the database files. The core database files for version 7 are re7.db, re7.log, re_bio.db, re_gift.db, re_temp.db, and re_index.db. Make a backup of your most recent data before restoring any archived data. A drawback to this method is that data archived in previous versions of the software cannot be restored into updated versions.
Another option is using a second Raiser's Edge database. Using the import function in Administration, you can move constituents to your archived database. Keep the constituent ID numbers unique for both database to avoid import exceptions. When a user opens the program, they can select which database to access. Contact our Sales department at firstname.lastname@example.org for information about purchasing a second database.
You could also use an external database, such as Microsoft Access, for archiving constituents. Export constituents through Export or the import file function in Administration to another database. Decide if you ever intend to bring records back into The Raiser's Edge before exporting them. To import the records into The Raiser's Edge from an external source, you need the import ID, constituent ID, key indicator, and the last name for individuals (organization name for organizations). We recommend this method for records that are outdated and have little chance of becoming active again.
Archiving records is an important part of database maintenance. Proper archiving decreases the size of a database filled with inactive constituents, reduces processing time, improves efficiency, and saves money on mailings by avoiding dead-end appeals. Consider your options carefully and implement an effective archive strategy.
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