When to use a constituent list versus a saved constituent search

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Saved constituent searches and constituent lists are two separate, if similar, items in Little Green Light. But they are not interchangeable, and each is best to use for a different purpose.

What is a saved search?

A saved constituent search, or saved search, is a set of search criteria you select that you can save and reuse in the future. This is how it works:

  1. The advanced constituent search functionality allows you to find all constituents who meet your search criteria
  2. When you then save your search, LGL ”memorizes” your search criteria and stores it as a saved search
  3. Whenever you access the saved search, your search criteria are automatically loaded and the search results are pulled in

NOTE: A saved search is not the same as a constituent list.

Saved searches are useful because they make it faster and simpler to use searches you perform regularly that you don't want to re-create every time you want to use them.

In the "Saved Searches" dropdown menu, shown below, you can see only the searches you have personally created. 

NOTE: These are different from constituent lists that are created using List Manager.

NOTE: You can use a saved search to build a list in List Manager. You can also search using one or more lists by going to the Constituents tab, searching on “Lists”, and selecting the relevant list/s.

What is a constituent list?

A constituent list, which you can create using List Manager, also stores search results. But in addition, it gives you the option to “hand craft” your list, adding constituents in bulk or individually, or removing them in bulk or individually, which is not possible with a saved search. In a list, you have more visibility into the constituents that are contained in the list. In addition, you can see all of your individual or bulk additions and deletions.

When should you use one or the other?

It is always easier to use a saved search when your criteria will pull in all of the results you want and none that you don’t want. But when you are searching for a set of constituents that is more nuanced and requires more flexibility than what search results can yield, using List Manager is the better option.

When you are trying to determine which option is best, consider the following:

  1. Always start with searching. Use the onscreen results to see if you're close to your final set of results. Save the search when it contains a set of constituents you need to pull together regularly.
  2. If a search gets you almost all of the people you want but you need to manually add a few constituents and/or delete some, using List Manager is the better option.

Good examples of when to use List Manager

  • Guest lists are not necessarily easy to pull together using only search criteria. You can use List Manager to add all constituents who meet your criteria, and then review and remove constituents who met the criteria but shouldn't be invited (such as an ex-spouse and their new spouse). You can also add constituents to the list who didn't meet the criteria but should be invited, such as an emeritus board member who lives more than 10 miles away.
  • In the case of invitation lists, in which you want to include everyone who gave to your Annual Appeal in 2015 plus some additional guests, for example, you can create a list, search for everyone who gave to that appeal, and add those constituents to the list. Then you can review the list and manually remove some constituents, as appropriate. You can also add individuals as you see fit, for instance, a donor you know couldn't donate last year for personal reasons but whom you still want to include.