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Blackbaud CRM™ Households Best Practices

If you've talked to many users of Blackbaud CRM™, you've probably heard that deciding how to use households is a complicated and important decision. Making sure you make the most of households means understanding what you want to get out of them.

Question 1 - Who is in a Household?

Households consist of individual record types only and can have one or more members. Household records can be automatically created when spousal relationships are added in the system. You can manually add other members to the household as well. One member of the household is marked as "primary" and the other individuals in the household are "members". The first record added to the household is by default the primary. You can also manually change that after household creation.

Should you who care who the primary member is? In the past we have worked with clients who have very specific requirements around the Primary member, which typically requires a customization or a lot manual work. In Blackbaud CRM™, when you add a new spouse record, the existing Constituent will become the Primary member of the household. For example, if Mary Smith currently exists in your database and she marries Michael Jones, she will, by default, become the Primary member of the Household and the Household default name format will read “Mary and Charles Jones Household”. But does that matter? We'll explore that more below.

Question 2 - Should you put Revenue on a Household record?

This is a critical decision and shouldn't be made without a lot of consideration. First, keep in mind that a Household record is a different record type from an Individual Record.

If you choose to put the Revenue on the Household record, rather than the individual member’s record(s), it will not appear in the Revenue History on the Individual records, it will only display on the Household record. Conversely, any Revenue given by household members will be viewable on the Household Record because the Household is a roll-up of all individual members.

Mailings are also impacted by your decisions of where to record revenue. When you use the marketing functions in Blackbaud CRM™, finder numbers are assigned to the individual member of the household who qualifies for a segment/appeal mailing. If you record revenue on households, you won't have accurate response counts, you won't be able to use finder numbers for quick data entry and you may have a harder time with marketing effort analysis. In question 3 we'll talk more about mailing to households vs individuals.

BrightVine recommends never putting Revenue directly on a Household record. You can accomplish the same type of “rollup” using the Recognition functionality on the Individual records.

Question 3 - Should you send mail/emails to a Household or to Individuals?

This concept is a bit trickier in Blackbaud CRM™. Many clients want to send one piece of mail to a Household (in the majority of cases). If you are familiar with the “Send to One Person per Household” checkbox that appears in several places in the Marketing and Communications area, you know that if the box is checked, other members of the household will be excluded from the mailing. However, when the box is checked it doesn’t mean the Primary member will be mailed to - CRM picks the record in the highest segment in the mailing. You can still use a Joint Addressee and Salutation on the mailing/envelope but only the appeal will only be recorded on the individual record selected in the segment (and appear on the rollup on the household.)

Many organizations, especially in the Higher Ed vertical, want both records to have the Appeal, but checking the “one person per household” box prohibits that from happening. The out-of-the box KPIs will be correct because they tally how many pieces of mail were actually sent but you lose the fact that both members of a spousal household were actually solicited.

It is very important to assess this impact to your organization. If you need to see that both members of the Household were solicited, uncheck the box and design a report outside the KPIs to track the results.

Name Formats and Address Processing make it easy to send one piece of mail in this scenario but you will need to drop the second household member out before sending the export file to the mail house.

Households. To Use Them or Not Use Them? That Is The Question.

The bottom line is that the Household record is an excellent spot for viewing information about all of its members. You can view:

  • Interactions for all members

  • Revenue transactions for each member

  • Event registration and attendance information for each member

  • Prospect information, including Plans and Steps where each member is a participant

  • Communications that any members have received

Household are a very powerful tool so it is important to evaluate the Household record’s role for your Organization and design your business practices accordingly, keeping the preceding questions in mind as you do so.

If you'd like to learn more about households, or other topics we've discussed, please feel free to connect with us.

Read more about making the most of prospect plans or contact us for more information.

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