Linking Member Record to Donor can lead to data loss

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Linking Member Record to Donor can lead to data loss

Postby atticusewig » Mon Apr 19, 2010 11:24 pm

If you have a new member in the ward who
donates before a membership record arrives,
you create a donor record with a donor name
and possibily an address.

When the membership record comes in, and
an Urgent Task prompts you to link the donor
record with member record, the donor record's
address information is replaced with that of
the membership record. Problem is, if the membership
record comes in with a blank or incomplete address,
it wipes out what has already been recorded in the
donor record.

Current workaround(s): 1) Tell membership clerks to only
request records with full addresses.
caveat: if record is moved by the
previous ward w/o proper

2) If the donor has not already done so,
write the address on the donation slip.
For example, if you see the donor's new
address on their check make sure you
copy it to the slip. When donor's memrec
has incomplete or blank address, update
the membership record with the info from
the slip.

3) Find the donor and ask for missing information
not on their membership record.

Software-Fix: Design MLS so that when it links the membership record to
the donor record, it tests to see if the donor record's and
the membership record's address fields match. If not, then
allow us to choose which address to use for donor record.

- Atticus Ewig

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Postby aebrown » Mon Apr 19, 2010 11:50 pm

atticusewig wrote:Problem is, if the membership record comes in with a blank or incomplete address, it wipes out what has already been recorded in the donor record.

That's a helpful caution. Thanks for mentioning it. I would add three additional notes on this topic:
  1. As you follow the steps to link a membership record to a donor record (Add/Update Donors, click on the donor record, Select), you can avoid the data loss by paying attention to the address on the donor record. Then after you select the membership record, if address fields have disappeared, don't press Save; press Cancel and the donor's address fields will be retained. Of course this means you'll still have to link the record at some point.
  2. Before you link the membership record, you can print out or copy down the current donor address. Then after you link the membership record, you can manually update the donor address.
  3. If you do accidentally wipe out the donor address as you link in a membership record with a missing or incomplete address, you can always come back to the donor record later and refresh the address. Mention to the membership clerk that you want to be notified when the membership record's address is corrected. Then you can go through the process of linking the membership record to the donor record again, and that will cause the donor record to also have the updated membership record's address.

Of course, all of this could be avoided if MLS gave more help in preserving this information, as Atticus Ewig suggested. But these ideas might help in the meantime.
Questions that can benefit the larger community should be asked in a public forum, not a private message.

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Postby crislapi » Tue Apr 20, 2010 10:34 am

I would add one more "defect" to the list. This, however, occurs after the records have been linked.

Because the donor database is separate from the membership database (as is the payee database, so same issue there), updating an address on the membership record does not update the address on the donor or payee record. Currently it must be updated on all 3 separately. However, if the records are linked, it would seem simple to have a change in one change all 3. I can see reasons for not doing it, but again, at least a prompt asking if you want to update the address everywhere would be nice.

This link could be broken when the record leaves, leaving the donor and payee records with the final info recorded when they were linked.

On another note, it would be great to link in phone and/or email address. This would be extremely helpful in trying to contact members who have moved out with regards to donor statements, outstanding checks, etc. Currently, once the record moves out, any trace of their contact info in MLS is also gone. I've learned and hold on to membership printouts for a year now.

Just some additional thoughts.

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