Can I make a constituent inactive?
In this article:
- Is it possible to make a constituent inactive?
- Managing inactive constituents
- Deleting inactive constituents from your database
Is it possible to make a constituent inactive?
It is not possible to define a constituent as "inactive" in Little Green Light, so it is not possible to make a constituent officially inactive in your account. LGL is intentionally designed this way.
It has been our experience that if a constituent's data is important enough to be in your database, it is best to keep them. If they are truly inactive and their record and any data in it is of no value to you, deleting the record is the best option.
If we did offer this option, there would also a problem with duplicate creation. The constituent would not appear in searches and you or a new staff member may add them again, not realizing that they already had a record but it is inactive.
All this can lead to confusion, disorganized data, duplicates that need to be cleaned up, and the chance that you may end up contacting someone who doesn’t want to hear from you—i.e., more work.
Managing inactive constituents
If it is not appropriate to delete a record entirely (i.e., the donation history is important), then the record’s coding can be managed so that it is included in/excluded from communications based on other factors.
If the constituent should not be mailed a letter because you can't find their correct mailing address, it is a good idea to mark the old mailing address as "inactive". If they told you not to mail them anything anymore, you'd want to mark them "Do not mail" and use that coding in preparing lists for communications. ("Do not call" and "Do not email" are also available to use.) The Communication Tags, when properly assigned, are the best way to keep constituents out of your LGL mailings and emails because anyone with the “Do not mail” tag assigned is excluded automatically, just as anyone with the “Do not email” tag assigned is automatically excluded from emails.
If there are constituents in your database who should not receive mailings, our recommended approach is to mark them "Do Not Mail" or to make their mailing address inactive. When building your mailing list, you will then need to suppress constituent records using the criteria for your search.
We recommend always using the "Can send mail?" and "Can send email?" criteria when compiling your search results of those you plan to mail or email to. These criteria will pull in only constituents with valid mailing/email addresses who are not deceased and who do not have the "Do Not Mail" or "Do Not Email" Communication Tags assigned to their constituent record.
Some customers also choose to add their own custom category ( Customizing the Constituent, Gift, and other menus) as a way to set apart active and inactive constituents. Doing this would allow you to exclude those categories from searches or any item you would create using a search, such as a list. However, it would not automatically prevent those constituents to whom the categories are assigned from being included in searches, reports, mailings, and so on. To do that, you would need to exclude anyone with that group or category from the search you use to create the report, mailing, or email.
In sum, these options are available to help you categorize and manage inactive constituents:
- Mark the constituent records as "Do not mail" and "Do not email"; this will make it easy to keep them out of mailings and emails as long as you are mailing or emailing from your Little Green Light account (because they will be automatically excluded)
- Add a category value (Communication Tag or Group) that indicates this status; in this case, you would need to be sure to exclude the relevant tag when you do any mailings or reports where those constituents should not be included
Deleting inactive constituents from your database
If you truly want some of your constituents out of sight and out of mind, you always have the option of deleting them from your account.