Update constituent categories in bulk

In this article:

While you can manage constituent categories for individual records and also do bulk imports with category information, you may also want to make global updates to the categories for a particular subset of constituents. Say that you want to find everyone who has volunteered this year and add them to a "Volunteer" group. Or that you want to find volunteers who have not volunteered recently and change their group to "Former Volunteer."

We will demonstrate these two examples below, but you can apply the same concept to any kind of bulk category update (for groups, tags, or any other custom category), adding and removing categories to and from up to thousands of constituents at a time. You can review the changes in detail prior to saving them, see the history of your changes, and also undo the changes if they were made in error.  

Before you can add or remove categories for your constituents (you can think of this as bulk editing the categories), you will first need to query for and pull them into a set of search results. You will then select each constituent in your search results and click the Update categories option in the More actions menu to initiate the update process.

For each bulk edit you make, you will complete these three steps: 

  1. Create your constituent search (for those whose categories you are updating)
  2. Add and/or remove categories (in the example we are using below, we will add categories to the volunteers)
  3. Review the effect the update will have, and then choose to commit the update or save it for later

Add a category to a subset of constituents

In the first part of this example, we will bulk add a category to a subset of constituents using the following three steps.

Step 1: Search for the constituents whose categories you want to update

Go to the Constituents tab and create your search in the Advanced Search box at the top of the page. Then click either the checkbox or the Select X button shown below to select all of the constituents you want to update in bulk:

Multiple additional buttons will become available. You can now click the Bulk edit button and then "Update categories" to begin your bulk update:

NOTE: You'll be taken straight to Step 2, but if you'd like to review and modify your search, you can click into Step 1. You can also review the list of constituents that will be updated in bulk:

If your search was accurate, you won’t need to make any adjustments. But you still have the option to change your search or add/remove individual constituents by clicking either the Add constituents or the Exclude constituents button.

Step 2: Edit the category selection

In this step, choose the categories you want to add and/or remove. In this example, we are adding a new group (“Volunteer”) to the selected constituents. But you can add, update, and/or remove any constituent category of your choice.

When you are happy with the update, click 3: Review and save:

Step 3: Review and save

Here you can see a preview of the constituents that will be updated, along with a comparison of the values before and after.

Now you can name the bulk update/edit:

  A summary of the fields that will be updated is displayed, along with a summary of the changes (before and after):

You can go back and make changes to Step 1 or Step 2 by clicking on either of the three buttons. Or you can click the Back button at the top right of the page:

Completing or saving the bulk category update

Once you’ve completed all three steps, you have the option to take any of the following actions: 

  1. Update records - Choose this option to start the update immediately. The process will run in the background and take some time to complete, depending on how many records are affected.
  2. Save for later - Choose this option if you want to keep the update defined and ready to go but are not ready to initiate it immediately.

Clicking any of these options will return you to the Bulk Edits summary page, which shows the list of open/active edits.

If you have chosen to update records, the update will be running and its status will be listed. When the update is complete, it will move to the Completed edits tab.

If you have chosen to save this update for later, it will stay in a “New” state until it is removed or completed.

Once updates are made, you’ll see the changes reflected in the filters, which are viewable on the Constituents tab, and within the constituent records:

Remove a category from a subset of constituents

To remove a category from a subset of constituents, you would follow the same process as described above, with the following differences: Your search will be different (because you're searching for a different subset of constituents) and your category selection will be different.

Say you want to update all volunteers who haven't participated for a while so that they are categorized as "Former Volunteers". You’ll also want to remove their "Volunteer" group.

To do this, run your new search, select all results, and then go to Bulk edit > Update categories:

This time, you’re going to remove the "Volunteer" group and add a new group for "Former Volunteer":

On the Review and save screen, you will see that information is being added to and removed from constituent records:

Review and manage bulk constituent category edits

It is possible to review any of your bulk edits (open or complete) on the Constituents > Bulk Edits page, where you can see both open/active edits and completed edits. From here, you can edit, review, or delete any open bulk edits.

You can also review past completed bulk edits or undo them if desired, by clicking into the update from the Completed Edits tab.

...and then clicking the Undo bulk edit button

Watch a short video on bulk updating constituents: