This article will provide an overview of how to create custom fields that serve to categorize and separate your mailing list. It will also go into detail on how to create two of the most common types of custom fields: Yes/No and Multiple Choice.
You can utilize custom fields to identify a variety of different contact relationships in your system. From board members to PAC contributors to membership levels, custom fields provide a flexible way for you to identify and segment your membership as needed. Under Contacts, select Manage Custom Fields. Your current selection of custom fields will display:
How to Create and Edit Custom Fields
You can edit any of these custom fields by clicking the name of an existing custom field, or you can create new custom fields by selecting “New Custom Field” at the top right corner of the page. Before you add a new custom field, think about how you will use it. Often, how you use the custom field will dictate which type of field will be set up. Select the field type from the dropdown that best fits the data that will go into the Custom Field.
Next, fill out the remaining parameters for your custom field. Include whether the field must contain a value (required) and whether you want the field displayed on the user profile form (Personal Info, Home Info, Business Info, or Other Info). The last option allows you to enter instructions that will provide your contact with advice on filling out the field. When finished, click on Save.
Creating a Yes/No Custom Field
The Yes/No custom field is the most commonly used type of custom field. It is the best choice when you want to establish a binary indicator such as whether or not a given user is on a particular mailing list or is a member.
When you create a Yes/No custom field, you will see a series of options that must be handled carefully.
First, we will ask what values are to be used in the data upload process. This applies to a bulk update of your data performed through the Manage Uploads tool. The question is what value to look for in the file you are uploading to see if a particular user should be flagged with a yes or a no for this custom field (a blank value is acceptable in the upload). You can tell the system to anticipate any value you would like (True/False, 1/0, Yes/No), but it must match what is in your upload file.
Next, we will ask how to treat users who are not assigned a Yes value or a No value when searching. For instance, if using Search Contacts to locate your volunteers or Advanced Search in Manage Broadcasts to target only your volunteers, how should the system treat a user who does not have a value in the Volunteer List Yes/No custom field? If you select the third option, “included when searching for ‘No’ values,” then the system will count a blank as a “No.” The advantage of choosing that option is that it will allow you to only upload the “Yes” values without having to also flag the “No” values in your file upload.
Multiple Choice Custom Fields
When you want to assign your contacts one or more values from a list or specific options, create a Multiple Options with Single Answer custom field or a Multiple Options with Multiple Answers custom field. These types of custom fields are used most often for things like membership types, areas of interest, or specialties. You will be able to enter as many values as you like.
There are two major advantages of creating a Multiple Choice custom field over a Short Text custom field (in which a user can enter any value he or she desires):
- When you search for users with a certain value, the VoterVoice system will be able to pre-populate a dropdown list of the various options.
- It prevents users from accidentally entering a typo.
If a user can be assigned more than one possible value, choose Multiple Options with Multiple Answers as the information type of the custom field. When uploading a file that contains information for this custom field, values should be separated by a semicolon without any spaces.