How do I clean up our database?

Six steps when done in order will clean up your member, family and group data

1. Merge duplicate records 

Go to Members > Member > Merge, then run each of the 3 Possible Duplicate Member Reports starting at the top.  You'll see that each one gives you the criteria the report is using to locate duplicates.  It is a good idea to have an admin or pastor with social knowledge of the church present to evaluate these.  Not every suggestion is an actual duplicate.PosDupMem

2. Merge families (put family members into the same household)

Go to Members > Family > Merge. use the same process to run the Possible Duplicate Family Reports.  Start at the top and work your way down.  

3.  Archive/Delete people. 

To do that, take a look at our detailed article HERE.

4. Merge, Inactivate, and/or Remove Groups.

A common - but not best practice - is to create a new group or event every time something like a New Members class or Vacation Bible School happens.  The result is an excessive number of active groups. 

Merge similar groups.

First, merge any similar groups, such as multiple occurrences of Wednesday Night Dinner or several years of Vacation Bible School. Be sure to track attendance before you make the merge. To capture the attendance of the people in each group, go into each group or event, make a meeting report (from the group page, Reports > Meetings) for the day of the event, and mark everyone in the group present.
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Once a meeting report with attendance has been completed, remove them from the group.   Finally, use the option within each group under the Blue Edit button to merge like groups (e.g. several seasons of similar Women's Bible Studies) into a single group.  Merging them will maintain attendance, giving you a more clear history.  

Inactivate groups you aren't currently using but will use again.

Vacation Bible School is, again, a good example.  After you have merged multiple years of VBS groups into one, as mentioned above, you can Inactivate the group until it is time to open registration for the new session.  Here is more information about how to reuse groups for recurring events or classes.
To inactivate a group, from the Browse Groups page (Groups & Events > Browse), find the group you want to make inactive and click the "Inactivate" button located on the right side of the page for that group.  

Remove groups that are several years old, and you will not use again.

 You can only delete inactive groups. From the Browse Groups page, first make the group that you want to delete, inactive by clicking the "Inactivate" button to the right of the group.  Then use the Search filters at the top of the Browse Groups page to filter to Inactive.
If there are several inactive groups to delete, check the box to the left of the groups you wish to delete, then click the Action button and select Delete groups. 
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5. Clean up the Group (Ministry Type) Profile. 

You can see the Ministry profile on the Browse Groups page (and use it as a filter in Reports), but you edit this setting under Groups & Events > Settings > Profile Questions.   We recommend as a best practice, limiting your Ministry Types to 10 or 12 options -- less is better and less confusing for staff when creating a group.  These responses need to be as broad as possible.  Often, we see a Group/Ministry Type name that is really just one group, e.g., Celebrate Recovery.  A more broad category would be Support/Recovery or Care Ministry.  Often, it is helpful to map these ministry categories on a piece of paper or whiteboard, thinking of them as categories for your groups, events, and classes.  This process helps you sharpen your organizational structure. Here are the defaults we provide for new accounts.  My suggestion for editing these on the Group Profile page is to notate the options you plan to delete. Don't delete them until after you do the next step (realign/recategorize your existing groups).
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6. Realign groups to the cleaned-up Ministry Type options (from step 5)

Go to the Browse Groups page and use the filters to see all the groups currently listed under a Ministry Type you noted in Step 5 for deletion.  Go through the list of groups and select the ones that are going to be moved to a different Ministry Type by checking the box to the left of the group name. This will turn the Action button green.  When you've selected all the groups to be moved to a different ministry type, click the Action button and then "Update Profile Questions".  This will take you to the page to mass update the profile questions for the groups selected.  


Once you've completed these actions for all the ministry types you are removing, go back to Groups & Events > Settings > Profile Questions and delete that Ministry Type by clicking the red X to the right of the type you want to delete.  This will clean up the Ministry Type filters so that you can effectively use them as filters for reports.

7. Clean Up Saved Reports

Enlist the help of other staff members who create and save reports for this step.  Charge each person who has saved reports by cleaning up their list. 

Go to Reports > Saved.  By default, these are already filtered to you, as the account user logged in.  Review your list of Saved Reports.  We suggest making a list of reports you plan to delete and sending this list to other staff members to verify they do not use these before deleting anything. When you are ready, use the trash icon on the right side of the page to delete any reports you no longer need.  

While reviewing your list of Saved Reports, we recommend adding Tags so that filtering to find reports shared with other staff members is easier.