Using notes to track additional information

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We’re often asked how Little Green Light can help organizations track information that is not exactly fundraising-related, such as data related to programs and services provided. Here are some examples of non-fundraising data you may want to track in your LGL account:

  • Reimbursements you’ve given to volunteers for their expenses
  • Testimonials you’ve received from ardent supporters
  • Applications you receive for volunteer positions
  • News about the constituent

For these situations, we recommend using LGL Notes. Notes are a simple and versatile feature, consisting of just three fields:

  • Note type
  • Note date (required to be able to create the note)
  • Note text (required to be able to create the note)

There is no limit to the number of notes you can add to a constituent record.

Note types can be customized, so you can categorize the notes you’re most likely to be storing in your LGL account. For the examples provided in the list above, we might create note types named Reimbursement, Testimonial, Volunteer Application, and News.

To add to the list of note types in your account, go to Settings > Menu Items > Other menu items, and then add a new note type.

Here is how some of the note types would look in a constituent record:

Importantly, you can search for constituents using any and all three of the note fields (type, date, and text).

In the screenshot below, we’re running a search for constituents who’ve submitted a volunteer application this year.

Notes in reports

You can also include notes in reports. In constituent reports, you can specify which type of note you’d like to include, such as what is shown below, where we’ve chosen to report on only "Volunteer application":

Adding notes in bulk

If you want to add the same note to a bunch of constituent records at once, you can do that in the Constituents tab by selecting constituents and then using Bulk edit > Add note to apply a note to the selected constituents. This might be handy in a case where you use a note to record attendance at a gathering that you don't want to create an LGL event for.

When to use a note versus a custom constituent category

In LGL, you can create as many custom constituent categories as you want, and those can have as many values (or tags) as you want. Custom constituent categories are perfect for situations where you’re tracking a structured list of values. Notes, on the other hand, are a better solution if you need to store open-ended text.

For example, when you receive a volunteer application, you very well might want to use a combination of a custom constituent category and a note. In the constituent category, you can track the skills the volunteer has, as part of a structured list. But in the note you can store their entire application as open-ended text.

In summary, notes are an excellent way to store bits of information that require more than yes/no tags to capture.

When to use a note versus a contact report

Strictly speaking, we think of a contact report as a way to record an interaction you’ve had with a constituent, typically via a call, email, or meeting. In a contact report, you can record the team member who had the interaction, and you can record a task for follow-up; you can't do either of these things in a note. 

You can think of a note as a lighter-weight version of a contact report.