Head of household processing allows you to exclude duplicate spouses from a mailing. For example, Mary and Joe are linked on the Spouse button. Both Mary and Joe are in a query and you want to mail to only one of them. In Mail, you can exclude one of them by selecting the appropriate option in the 'Head of Household Processing' frame.

  • Mail only to constituents marked 'Head of Household': Selecting this option mails only to the record marked as head of household
  • Mail to first constituent found: Selecting this option mails to the first spouse it processes and skips the linked spouse. For example, Mary and Joe's query is sorted alphabetically. Because Joe's record is processed first, Mail pulls the addressee and address from his record. Mail skips Mary's record.
  • Mail to both constituents separately: Selecting this option mails to both spouses

Note: Head of household processing only applies if both spouses are selected for the mailing. For example, Mary is the head of household. If using a query that only contains Joe, the head of household processing does not apply and Joe is mailed to regardless of the option selected in the 'Head of Household Processing' frame. This is because you may want to mail to non-head of household spouses.

Because this option exists to allow you to send only one letter to a couple, the option 'This individual is the Head of Household' is only available if two constituents are linked on the Spouse button (General 1 tab). If the spouse on the Spouse button is not a constituent, this option is not available. It is also not available when there is no record linked on the Spouse button.

The default head of household is the constituent on which the spouse was added. For example, Mary and Joe are both constituents in The Raiser's Edge but are not linked. If you open Mary's record, click the Spouse button and link to Joe's record, Mary defaults as the head of household. If, instead, you open Joe's record, click the Spouse button, and link to Mary's record, Joe is the default head of household.

When mailing to married couples, consider adding addressees/salutations to the constituent records to specify how the couple's name prints on the mailings (e.g. 'Mr. and Mrs. William H. Smith').