Advice for Moving Records

Discuss basic duties of stake and ward clerks, including where to begin.
derekdrennan
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Advice for Moving Records

Postby derekdrennan » Tue Nov 21, 2017 1:16 am

Hey Everyone,

I've been a clerk for about 6 or 7 months now and I just wanted to get some feedback on something that I struggle with to see if you can offer me any suggestions. I live in a ward with extremely high turnover. We have an especially high amount of inactive members who will move out and the responsibility falls on me to find out where they went so I can move their records. Since the families are inactive, no one tends to know anything about them and I have to start with a blank slate.

I have read and understand the 8 step process.
-Contact the occupants at the member’s last known address and ask them if they have a forwarding address.
-Use postal services to find a forwarding address.
-Call any last known telephone numbers.
-Send an email to any last known email addresses.
-Contact known family members and relatives.
-Contact known friends, Church members, and full-time missionaries.
-Contact ward priesthood and auxiliary leaders.
-Check available online social networks.

What steps do you prefer to do first and/or have the most success with? What step do you prefer for difficult cases? I am currently dealing with a member who moved and in my opinion, changed his phone number and e-mail on his LDS profile. I tried using a site called 'ussearch' but his name didn't come up out of the 80 hits. I also found out this site is not accurate and doesn't give you the most current address with certainty. It shows me as never having lived in Washington, but I have been here for 5 years and own a house, which I figure would be easy for a site like that to pull up.

To be honest, I feel uncomfortable when calling the numbers on file to ask people for their new address. Generally I don't get an answer or a callback. If they do answer, they don't feel comfortable giving the new address to me since they obviously don't know me. Any advice for me on these calls so I don't feel so awkward and to make them feel comfortable giving me their address? What are good lines that you use for this?

I've also read through this webpage for more advice: http://tech.lds.org/wiki/Locating_members Is there anything from here that you tend to favor?

Thanks for any advice, I appreciate it!

russellhltn
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Re: Advice for Moving Records

Postby russellhltn » Tue Nov 21, 2017 10:54 am

derekdrennan wrote:We have an especially high amount of inactive members who will move out and the responsibility falls on me to find out where they went so I can move their records.


First off, in my opinion, it shouldn't all fall on you to do all the legwork. The ward has a couple of priesthood quorums who's goal is to visit every family once a month. There's another auxiliary whose goal is to contact every adult sister once a month. It makes reason stare that if these organizations somehow let someone slip though the cracks, it falls on just one or two people to do what the entire resources of the ward failed at.

There's certainly some clerical-type things you can do, but I'd talk with the bishop about offloading some of the contact work. I don't think there's anything in there that says the steps are to be done by the clerk (other than the actual move). If it was up to me, I'd make it the task of the HT/VT that were assigned to them.
Have you searched the Wiki?
Try using a Google search by adding "site:tech.lds.org/wiki" to the search criteria.

davesudweeks
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Location: Oklahoma, USA

Re: Advice for Moving Records

Postby davesudweeks » Tue Nov 21, 2017 11:26 am

The responsibility with finding this information lies with the ward council (of which the clerk is a member). The clerk's responsibility is to move the records once the information is found.

We have also found our missionaries are happy to go talk to the new occupants of the home and the neighbors - it beats tracting.

Our Assistant Clerk has had some success contacting the parents of less active members (if their parents are members). You get the parent's ward from the member's membership record, then contact their bishop and request a contact number or email for the parents who are in his ward. Then you ask the parent if they have a current address for their child.

aaron.pettit
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Re: Advice for Moving Records

Postby aaron.pettit » Sun Jan 21, 2018 4:00 pm

Thanks so much for your post. I am the Ward Member Ship clerk of my ward and I am having the exact same issues. Currently I have about 20-30 individuals/families that have moved that don't have an accurate email address or phone number on their record. From my understanding there is a process to transfer the record back to Church Headquarters. While this would temporarily relieve the problem for us Ward clerks it still seems like something more needs to be done/changed so that this doesn't happen nearly as frequently as it is happening.

russellhltn
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Location: U.S.

Re: Advice for Moving Records

Postby russellhltn » Sun Jan 21, 2018 4:30 pm

aaron.pettit wrote:it still seems like something more needs to be done/changed so that this doesn't happen nearly as frequently as it is happening.

I'd think that ultimately it falls to HT/VT to maintain contact and alert the bishopric when they move.
Have you searched the Wiki?

Try using a Google search by adding "site:tech.lds.org/wiki" to the search criteria.

chriswoodut
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Joined: Mon Jul 25, 2011 8:42 am

Re: Advice for Moving Records

Postby chriswoodut » Sun Mar 25, 2018 11:14 am

davesudweeks wrote:The responsibility with finding this information lies with the ward council (of which the clerk is a member). The clerk's responsibility is to move the records once the information is found.

We have also found our missionaries are happy to go talk to the new occupants of the home and the neighbors - it beats tracting.

Our Assistant Clerk has had some success contacting the parents of less active members (if their parents are members). You get the parent's ward from the member's membership record, then contact their bishop and request a contact number or email for the parents who are in his ward. Then you ask the parent if they have a current address for their child.


I do this too. Contact the parents. Often the parents want their new ward to know where they are. I will usually contact the ward clerk of the parents ward to help get the info from the parents. They don't like to give it to strangers and another clerk can verify my calling in LCR. I've had other ward clerk's help me out on several occasions.

It's hard to contact less actives and get info because they don't know you. Helping people move in or out is the perfect time to get info if they are less active. Train your ward leaders to ask for the right info because they are more likely to give it out in person than over the phone or by text.

Other things that work for me:
If someone owns a house/condo, they can sometimes be found on the county recorder's database of real estate ownership (works in the USA). This public information and most counties have a searchable online database. You generally need to know the city they moved to.

MAIL THEM A LETTER to their OLD address in your ward. But, write on the envelope "RETURN SERVICE REQUESTED". IF they have setup mail forwarding with the post office, the postal service will return the letter to YOU with their forwarding address written on the envelope. They don't deliver the letter to them -- they return it to you with the new address.

jirp
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Location: Greybull WY

Re: Advice for Moving Records

Postby jirp » Thu Apr 05, 2018 4:03 pm

This is one of the toughest parts of being clerk.

In some wards you get good help from the ward council. But in normal wards you will get very little help and most of it will come from the RS. Just keep trying. There are several ways to do this. Asking for help, talking to individual leaders,(best luck here is simply asking them to write moved and an address if they have one on the roll when it is turned in for end of quarter), getting the bishop to hand out a monthly assignment of 1 or 2 names per auxiliary and check each ward council & once a month add another name. Eventually probably the priesthood will be packing your nearly the entire list of names having done nothing but the women's auxilaries will have gotten about 3/4 of theirs. Such is life. You still need to encourage priesthood responsibility.

The missionaries are sometimes a good tool for checking these. Often depends on the quality of your ward mission leader. Sometimes they will be wasted effort but keep trying. There again you need to encourage priesthood responsibility. Personally I am going to guess I have about 6 or 8 hours in each name the missionaries verify for me or get an address for. There again that is the way the cookie crumbles. Smile and solidly say thank you for the help and move on.

Another way to try to use the ward council: a meeting of the full ward council including councilors and secretaries for the purpose of going through the ward list. Pick an evening and move through your list as fast as possible. It is a good way for everyone to become acquainted with the ward list in the very least and will at least get you in a better position to work on it. Usually though you will get 20 or 30 names found and moved through this process. The big thing is you will have a solid list of of the ones you need to work on. Since this is probably at least a 3 hour operation a snack break in the middle is handy. Things to do to prepare for this. 1. Have a list of the people no one knows but who are local that you still need information for found on FB. Having pictures sometimes jar people's memories. 2. Have three assigned note takers. One just taking notes on assignments, one taking notes on possible information sources and one taking notes on other information learned like works for ___ or lives in the green house by the river. One person can't keep up. As clerk you should be working on doing your own notes on information learned and possible information sources. You will miss some which is why you have other people taking notes too.

Beyond this though basically everything falls on the clerk by default here. It shouldn't but it does. This is not a job for timid. Remember the scripture about making weak things strong. You are curing timid in the process of doing your calling. In this you will talk to bishops, ward clerks, missionaries, mission presidents from all over as well as people in your community.

Take advantage of every fund raiser or ward christmas program etc that the bishop wants notices to all the ward to learn what addresses are bad. You are spending that money so get as much bang for the buck as you can out of it.

The next free tool not mentioned is Facebook. It does amazing things in helping to find people. It helps you find friends in the ward, possibly towns moved to and other information. Another one here that worked is if they are ignoring your message requesting the information simply stop in and say happy birthday on their birthday.

Sometimes a plain google search will work to get you enough information to find someone.

Another step not mentioned is people search databases. They usually cost money to use but a 3 month subscription cost the ward something like $65 and we got about 20 people either directly moved by it or got more information that let us find addresses.

Simply put hang in there and keep trying. This will teach you patience.

PS if you ship the records off to Salt Lake as address unknown expect to get them back in about 2 to 4 months. That is just how the system works. Then it is up to you whether you are going to keep bouncing them back and forth or if you are just going to keep those records forever more.

Aukie
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Re: Advice for Moving Records

Postby Aukie » Fri Jun 22, 2018 11:54 pm

In our ward this isn't delegated to the membership clerk as he isn't in ward council to facilitate outreach to these members. This general order has resulted in some success:

Pull a list of adult members without a calling and check their address on the website of the county assessor's office. The owner of a property is public record in many counties and is often searchable online. Some counties allow a search by name, so when a member moves within the same county the new address can be found this way. Members who still own the residence are in the ward and can be removed from your list; they may need follow up and outreach but are not the focus of your question. Renters stay on the list.

Next, if you are social-media savvy then search for indications that members no longer live in the ward. Our ward doesn't use paid people-finder websites. In reading reviews online my perception is that these websites often have incorrect or outdated addresses mingled with correct addresses. My perception is also that these services often charge significantly more than they lead you to believe, and reviewers complain of frequent, unexpected extra charges and difficulty canceling the service. Some clerks report success with these services; use with caution. Social media doesn't usually yield an address, but members who appear to have moved go to the top of the list.

Next, send a return-service-requested letter to some of the members most likely to have moved. Sometimes smaller batches of a dozen or so are better, as it takes time to complete the outreach steps before moving out members without an address. What to write? Invite them to serve others: send an invitation to an upcoming ward service project or stake blood drive. Invitations to events like the ward campout or Christmas dinner are also good options. Letters can take two to four weeks to come back. Most are not returned (the "return service requested" printed on the envelope appears to get missed sometimes). The most common response on returned mail is just "unable to deliver", though sometimes the new address is given.

Next, work with the Executive Secretary to put a few of the names on the agenda for Ward Council. There is rarely time to ask about more than a couple names. Page 2 of our agenda is a table of names of people who have likely moved. Names down the left, verification steps across the top, and dates populated in the grid as each step is completed. Just a couple of minutes go toward this effort each meeting. Check for a phone number and email and populate "NA" when they don't exist so that ward council doesn't assign those steps. Now when you bring up a name most of the steps have been completed (NA phone, NA email, social media, return service letter, check with ward leaders). Visiting the home and any remaining steps are assigned as appropriate (ward missionaries, full time Elders, Elders Quorum via Ministring Brothers, Relief Society via Ministering Sisters, etc.). Once you bring up a name, keep track of assignments and follow up at every ward council until you have a new address or the Bishop approves moving the record with no address (or you confirm that they still live in the ward).

After a record is moved out, take the next member on the list and add them to the Ward Council agenda. I have been fortunate to find new addresses more often than not, but have still moved out several records without a new address. These records have not been returned to our ward. Doing this has resulted in cleaning up one or two records per week for most weeks over the past year. Our ward is better able serve our members when records are less cluttered with members who have moved, and the follow up has resulted in a few less active members responding to outreach. I wish you well in your efforts to maintain accurate membership records.

chriswoodut
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Re: Advice for Moving Records

Postby chriswoodut » Sat Jun 23, 2018 4:20 am

Aukie makes a good point about the membership clerk not being in bishopric meeting or ward council to stay on top of changes in membership. Because of that and because of so many if the tools being online and easy to use, we no longer have a membership clerk. Our wards work load was too light to dedicate someone because we were doing so much of the work during the meetings.

bill.dudley
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Re: Advice for Moving Records

Postby bill.dudley » Tue Jun 26, 2018 5:21 am

Subscription search services have been mentioned. Some comments were not favorable for using these services. Has anyone had good success with a particular service?


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