The Importance of Constituent Codes

Recently, I was asked by one of our clients (that shall remain nameless!) to create two reports with certain constituencies on each.  The information that they wanted was easily accessed by a canned report, so I attempted to use the filter to obtain what they wanted.  When I did, the two reports should have been equal to the total raised in that time period, but the numbers didn’t add up.  After a great deal of research, I determined that the reason that the numbers weren’t right was that records without constituent codes would not pull on either report.  In order to pull correct numbers, I had to create queries that would accommodate the records without constituencies to run a report with corrected totals (I have since gone back and updated the records to have constituencies – both on the constituent and gift records).  A process that should have taken me less than 10 minutes stretched into about two hours.

Getting your constituencies in order makes a HUGE difference for your reports.  It also affects your ability to create accurate mailing lists, segment an email blast and so much more.

At this point, you may be asking yourself, “What would it look like to get my constituencies in order?” and that is the best place to start.  The key to answering that question is to determine what your organization needs to be able to track.  Do you need to see which gifts come from Board Members, Alum, Volunteers, Employees, Patients, etc.? How do you feel about one constituent falling into multiple constituent codes?  Often, determining how you should use constituent codes will require bringing in your entire team so that the codes chosen meet everyone’s needs.


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