Do Not Contact list

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rdp32-p40
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Do Not Contact list

Postby rdp32-p40 » Sat Jul 26, 2008 4:51 pm

Hello, I'm new to this forum and am a fairly new ward clerk. In my ward we frequently get requests to take someone's name off the records or to add them to a do-not-contact list. Since we don't want to encourage lots of inactive members to cancel their membership, but we do want to (at least temporarily) honor their request to not be contacted by home teachers, missionaries, etc., a "do-not-contact" list is desired. Since I couldn't find such a functionality in MLS, I added a special geocode flag (for example, we use "999"). Since home teaching, visiting teaching, and mission area lists are all organized by geocode, we just make sure this geocode is not included. Anyway, I think this works pretty well, but I'd be interested in seeing if anyone else has any other ideas.

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Postby aebrown » Sat Jul 26, 2008 10:02 pm

rdp32 wrote:Hello, I'm new to this forum and am a fairly new ward clerk. In my ward we frequently get requests to take someone's name off the records or to add them to a do-not-contact list. Since we don't want to encourage lots of inactive members to cancel their membership, but we do want to (at least temporarily) honor their request to not be contacted by home teachers, missionaries, etc., a "do-not-contact" list is desired. Since I couldn't find such a functionality in MLS, I added a special geocode flag (for example, we use "999"). Since home teaching, visiting teaching, and mission area lists are all organized by geocode, we just make sure this geocode is not included. Anyway, I think this works pretty well, but I'd be interested in seeing if anyone else has any other ideas.


One potential problem (admittedly rare) is that geocodes are used in boundary realignment, and of course even DNC families have to be considered as various boundary scenarios are analyzed. It's primarily the stake geocode that is used, but the stake will often depend on the ward geocode (in many cases simply copying the ward geocode) to create the stake gecode.

Some wards use a custom field to store DNC information. Custom fields are not quite as visible as geocodes, which can be both a benefit and a problem.

But if it's working well for you, I see no particular problem, except for the boundary realignment issue. Perhaps it would be nice to mention to the stake clerk what you are doing, just so he is aware in case the boundary realighment process needed to rely on your ward's geocodes.

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Postby russellhltn » Sat Jul 26, 2008 10:52 pm

This has been mentioned in another thread - not everyone is happy about it, but some units just put the DNC in either the phone number and/or address fields. If they are not to be contacted, then the ward as a whole doesn't need to know the contact info. It also means you don't have to come up with a customized report for every standard report, or hand edit every print-out

However, you may need to hold that information somewhere else. I'd think even if they say "do not contact" you'd want to somehow know that they still reside in the ward. Perhaps sending a Christmas or Easter card to see if it gets returned.

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Postby jbh001 » Sun Jul 27, 2008 6:10 pm

I have a real philosophical problem with do not contact lists. When I moved into my current unit I was informed 3 or 4 months later that some of the families were on the "do not contact" list. I had already made contact with all of the families on my list at that point. One of those families has since started attending church again. Another family was upset that their request to remove their names from the records of the Church had still not been processed.

Since then I have advised all persons that have requested no contact with the Church, that every now and then someone from the Church will attempt to make contact with them, either by telephone, letter, or in person, and that if that is not tolerable to them then their best option is talk to the bishop about having their names removed from the records of the Church.

The Church, after all, is an at-will organization, and if individuals choose to be belligerent to those that attempt contact I don't understand what the point is of continuing one's membership in an organization one despises. (And yes, I have seen Secondhand Lions.)

To the point of the original post, I prefer leaving these individuals/households as "unassigned," and then making sure the rest of the households ARE assigned at least somewhere, even if it is to a "dummy" district that the RS, EQ, or HP leaders know means "yet to be contacted." I have usually assigned the RS president as the sole visiting teacher and the EQ president or HPGL as the sole home teacher to these "dummy districts" separate from their "regular" teaching routes. That method has the added bonus of showing which quorum has responsibility over a given household. It also means that "unassigned" means "they are unassigned for a reason; find out why."

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Postby RossEvans » Sun Jul 27, 2008 6:34 pm

rdp32 wrote:Since home teaching, visiting teaching, and mission area lists are all organized by geocode ....


Would it not make more sense just to have an exception to this local practice, and assign the DNCs to specially designated home-teaching companionships?

In the wards where I have been involved with such matters, the bishop still had some particular requirements for the quorum leaders to make some contact with these families periodically. Or is it your bishop's policy that all the DNC families be delegated to rank-and-file home teachers along with everyone else?

And your home-teaching companionships are assigned by rigorous application of a geographic rule? That's a new one on me. I thought most quorums just made geography one factor among several to consider in making assignments.

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Postby russellhltn » Sun Jul 27, 2008 9:16 pm

jbh001 wrote:Since then I have advised all persons that have requested no contact with the Church, that every now and then someone from the Church will attempt to make contact with them, either by telephone, letter, or in person, and that if that is not tolerable to them then their best option is talk to the bishop about having their names removed from the records of the Church.


That's about the way I see it.

jbh001 wrote:To the point of the original post, I prefer leaving these individuals/households as "unassigned,"


That assumes that the only people trying to contact them would be HT/VT, and that others such as the singles reps or whatever would never do that.

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Postby mattprasmussen » Mon Jul 28, 2008 8:00 am

RussellHltn wrote:some units just put the DNC in either the phone number and/or address fields.

We've been adding people to lists like others have described here but this is the best solution I've seen; it conveys to everyone using the abbreviated address list whether or not they should call or write to a particular person.

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Postby RossEvans » Mon Jul 28, 2008 8:44 am

Matt_Rasmussen wrote:
Originally Posted by RussellHltn
some units just put the DNC in either the phone number and/or address fields.


We've been adding people to lists like others have described here but this is the best solution I've seen; it conveys to everyone using the abbreviated address list whether or not they should call or write to a particular person.


I believe that is the least acceptable choice. That conveys status as a second-class member, and IMHO it should not be published in general directories.

(RusselHltn and I agree to disagree on this general issue. He also favors writing in free-form notes such as "Unlisted;" I don't. I think "DNC" is an even more serious abuse of the fields designed into MLS. We both seem to agree that MLS should build flag fields explicitly into MLS where recording the information is appropriate so that free-form notes are not necessary.)

But I don't expect that ever to happen for a "DNC" designation. To my knowledge there is no such status in the Church. Various units do create private methods of classifying certain members, to assist local leaders to minister to these members as best they can. But the Church has left that functionality out of MLS (and its predecessor, MIS) quite deliberately, I believe.

I recall hearing explicit instructions from my stake president in another stake 10 years ago, "There is no such thing as a 'Do Not Contact' member in this stake." Your own priesthood leader may have other views.

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Postby rdp32-p40 » Mon Jul 28, 2008 7:36 pm

Alan_Brown: Good point about boundary realignment; I'll have to keep that in mind.

jbh001: I see where you're coming from. I home taught a sister who was inactive but became active after very little visiting. Her husband got baptized and they were just sealed in the temple last month. Anyway, I found out after she started coming to church again that she was on the DNC list. That's why I don't like to encourage people to have their names removed completely, and I am even hesitant to apply any kind of "do not contact" designation at all. On the other hand, we have tons of inactives in our ward and I once had over twenty families on my home teaching list (with no companion). There is no way we can visit everyone, and if someone says, "don't visit me," we'll give them lower priority than those who are receptive to visits. As far as the specifics of how they get assigned, I leave that to the EQ and RS to do as they please. They used to assign all the DNC's to the bishop and the RS president; I'm not sure if that's their current system. I just make sure they know about my geocode designation.

boomerbubba: no, I don't think my ward uses strict geographic rules to assign HT/VT, but they do factor it in heavily.

Again, I understand that the church likely deliberately left a DNC field out of MLS as you stated, and I am against an absolute "DNC" list in general, but for practical reasons (which of my 22 families should I focus on), it can be useful. In any case, I feel that as ward clerk I am not responsible for organizing HT/VT, but am just here to organize information that is conveyed to me and let the appropriate people (EQ pres, bishop, RS pres., etc.) use it as they feel is right. But that's just my initial thoughts.

Thanks for all the input!

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Postby RossEvans » Mon Jul 28, 2008 9:27 pm

rdp32 wrote: As far as the specifics of how they get assigned, I leave that to the EQ and RS to do as they please. They used to assign all the DNC's to the bishop and the RS president; I'm not sure if that's their current system. I just make sure they know about my geocode designation. !


That's why it seems that purely as a matter of information management your use of the geocode field is redundant.

If the quorums and RS do follow the convention of assignment to special companionships, that assignment is sufficient to flag such members for leaders. And while "DNC" really has nothing to do with geography, it is a relevant reason to make teaching assignments. The only real reason not to follow that convention is if the leadership deliberately wants to distribute such assignments among the conventional teaching companionships. (Actually, you do not have to depend on the RS, because that is also redundant. You need only coordinate with the quorums, because all families are accounted for in the HT roster.)


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