Recurring events or classes - how to record attendance
This article describes solutions for recording attendance at a series of classes or workshops.
The regular event module in LGL doesn't work too well for classes or when you have many events. It's too much work to set up lots and lots of events, and reporting across numerous events is time-consuming as you would need to define columns in your report for each distinct event. However, we do have some great options for tracking attendance or participation in a larger number of events:
In the example used in this article, our organization runs a series of mentor workshops, one per month. We want to record who attended each of the monthly workshops.
Constituent categories are a very simple way to record whether someone participated in an event. Your category name should represent a set of events, and then each value in that category will represent a separate event.
In our example, the category name is 2015 Mentor Meetings, and there is one value for each month. If someone attended in January, they will have that tag on their record.
Besides being simple to implement, this approach is nice in that it provides great visibility into your attendance numbers, right on your Constituent home page. You can run reports to show attendees by searching for people with values from this category, and in your report you can include the category values as columns.
Notes are a versatile way to record information on a constituent's records. A note consists of three parts:
- Note type: A categorization for the note (default is "General")
- Note date: The date associated with the note (defaults to today's date)
- Note text: Open text field (required to be populated, but you could put in a "1" or something simple)
By customizing note types, you can search for people with a specific type of note in their constituent records.
On the constituent's record, you can record the date of the event (using the Note date) and include any details about the event, specific to the constituent.
This option requires LGL to turn on a custom attribute in your account: recurring events. To have recurring events turned on in your account, send an email with your account name to firstname.lastname@example.org.
When this option is turned on, you can then make a specific event recurring by checking the box "Is recurring" when you add or edit the event:
Within recurring events, you can record multiple attendances for a single constituent to an event. LGL records the date of each attendance. This solution is handy when you want to be able to look at all your event data in one place.
You can also search on "Attendance Count" in a constituent search to find people who have a attended a certain number of times.
You should be aware of some limitations with recurring events. One is that you are not able to record event attributes per attendance date. For example, if your event has a custom field for participation notes, that field will appear only one time in your event, not once for each attendance date. If you want to capture notes like that for each attendance, you're better off using Notes. Another limitation is if you merge two records together, event invitation details don't merge (this is true for regular events as well as recurring events).