(and for your Christmas thank-you notes!)
We start with Advanced Search and move on to additional and/or logic to create “smart groups” that update themselves to fit your chosen criteria.
Build Your First Group
1. Go to Search > Advanced Search to build your first group.
2. Select criteria for our Level 1 Contributors for this year.
a. Display results as a list of Contacts.
b. Choose “And” if a contact has to meet all the criteria before he or she can be a part of the group. I chose “Or” to show a contact needs to meet as few as one of the criteria to be added to my group.
c. I added anyone who “told a friend” during this calendar year.
d. I included anyone who gave $100 or less this calendar year.
e. I added anyone with a “General” or “Student” membership.
f. And also anyone who “Volunteered” at an event.
3. Once you save this search, you’ll:
- Be able to review the criteria you chose and select all the records (134 in this case).
- Drop down the Actions menu and select Group – create smart group.
4. Save this with some clear description, so you know who all is in this group.
- Review again.
- Give this group a specific name, such as Level 1 Contributors, and some description.
- If you want, you can add this group under a parent group.
Build a Second (and Third and Fourth) Group
You get the idea for how to create the groups so that they apply to specific contacts. My next groups are going to be Level 2 Contributors and Level 3 Contributors. I’ve selected mid-sized contributions and small pledges for second level and large contributions/large pledges for third level. The point is that you can configure these groups in such a way that an email can be sent to a group that is fitting for them, based on their relationship with you.
The best thing about these groups is that they will always be up to date. Next year, the group will display everyone who fits the criteria chosen, which might be some of the same people who fit this year or not.
Now You’re Ready to Add Some Extra Power
Maybe there’s some occasion that calls for a combination of groups, or you need to add and subtract details from a group. Here’s how you can use these groups to run even more specialized reports.
- Go to Search > Custom Searches.
2. Select Include / Exclude Search.
3. Choose which groups you want to include and any you might want to exclude. Decide whether you need an “and” or “or” operator. And then choose any tags you want to include or exclude. My group will include contacts from Level 1 Contributors, but not if they’re in Level 2 or 3. It also will exclude any government entity.
4. Now you can save these results as a super smart group.
5. Just be sure to make the Title and Details very specific.
Using Your Smart Groups
- To look up the contacts for any group you’ve created, go to Contacts > Manage Groups.
2. Find the group you want and click Contacts.
3. Select the contacts and perform whatever action you choose.
The Dumb Side of the Super Smart Group
There is a drawback to using the super smart include/exclude group for mailings. When you bring up the group, only the contact name and the reason he or she is in the group shows. Like this:
You can still send emails or print address labels, even though they aren’t showing here. The problem lies in exporting to a CSV file, because this is all the data that’s going to export. The only way to work around this is to create a temporary file, which captures the contacts that are in this group at this point but does not update itself like a smart group would.
- Choose Group > add contacts.
2. Choose to create a new group and give it a name that is reflective of these contacts at this time.
3. Once you add that, you’ll be taken back to your super smart group, which you don’t want. Navigate back to Contacts > Manage Groups and find the new group you just made. And now the addresses are showing, so it’s useful in a CSV file.
Send out that email!
Now all you have to do is send out your emails to the groups you have chosen.
If you’re using CiviCRM’s Mosaico email extension, here’s a how-to on that. And we’ll talk more about emailing with CiviCRM in the future.