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Allow a single relationship to hold multiple Contact Types

Currently an individual relationship when marked as a contact can only be assigned a single Contact Type. So when someone is both the Executive Officer, Annual Report Contact, Tax Receipt Contact (ect...) the only way to manage this is to build multiple relationships in RE.

Contact type should be assigned and configured similar to constituent codes allowing you to have multiple contact types with date from and date to.

1,049 votes
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      • Jennifer Wood commented  · 

        We just implemented a new method of coding our org contacts utilizing Individual Relationship Attributes. We classify our contacts (General 1 tab - Contact Type) as either Primary or Secondary. We then have two Individual Relationship Attribute 'categories' (or dimensions) to further classify the contact type;

        One relating to the types of communications they should receive with options like 'All communications', 'Publications Only', 'Invitations Only', etc. We decided this category would be added for ALL contacts and selected on the Org Contact tab of the Address Processing wizard to help hone our merge output for mass mailings like invitations and publications.

        The other category we added has to do with the type of contact with options like 'Org head', 'Board Contact', 'Grant Contact', Distribution Contact'. One contact may have three attribute categories added if he/she is the Org head, Grant contact and Distributions contact. This category is added only when it applies to the contact so it is not present for all contacts. When we do targeted communications for these specific types of contacts it is easy to select the contact that we want on the Org tab of the Address Processing wizard.

        Our method attempts to take into account the wide variety of communication requirements set by our staff. I know that my comment is similar to several already posted here but it does add a second dimension that I thought may be helpful to organizations with more complicated requirements. I would be happy to share my RE process doc if anyone is interested.

      • Anonymous commented  · 

        As much as I love going through and manually cleaning up my exports line by line for a couple of hours, it would just be great if this really simple feature could be added.

      • Nia Smith commented  · 

        Jessica, in regards to your question, what we do is make the contact type "Primary" and on the attribute tab we have contact/ relationship type and then a tabled (drop down) that list the various types. So it will look something like this:
        Contact Type > Pro Bono
        Contact Type> Gala
        Contact Type> Financial Contact
        Contact Type> Law Firm Campaign

        I hope that helps. If not you can contact me directly and I'll send you a screenshot. (nsmith@legal-aid.org)

      • Jessica Pionke commented  · 

        To "Anonymous" on 8/20/14 14:14 -- can you share any information with me about how you are using contact type and contact attributes? We are looking to develop use of the attributes since that seems to be the current best option. Specifically, I'm interested to know what your contact type and attribute table options are. Would you be willing to share a list?

      • Anonymous commented  · 

        Best to use attributes to further segment contact type and not weaken the one-to-one relationship contact type currently provides for reporting.

      • Sarah Stout commented  · 

        We have added a contact attribute for contact type. I have yet to fully test it, but our consultant created it for this purpose and I believe has used it with other clients.

      • Julia Haylock commented  · 

        Yes! We were talking about this today. We have come up with a round-a-bout wait by also using attributes to further break down the types (our Contact Types are Event Contact, Primary Event Contact, Donation Contact, etc) but then when we export that means we have another field to add in an already long list of needed fields...

      • Jason T commented  · 

        Definitely! There are frequent situations where someone legitimately qualifies as more than one kind of Contact - but we can only select one. Frankly, this drastically curtails the usefulness of the Contact Type field. It's absurd to have to create two relationships for the same person - but also absurd to have to choose between Contact Types when more than one may well apply (e.g., the same person may be the Primary Contact, Events Contact, and Stewardship Contact.)

      • Charles Halsey commented  · 

        JoAnne H., there's a separate discovery topic for the concern you mentioned: "Add Contact on Gift Records". I'm not sure why its vote count is low.

      • JoAnne Hendricks commented  · 

        It would also be helpful when a gift is received to somehow attribute which contact connects to that gift.

      • Alan Cole commented  · 

        I'm a fan....I am currently conducting a contact clean-up project and am trying to wrap my head around the complexity of my organization's needs. We host around a dozen events a year for various initiatives, and the areas of interest for differ from one contact to another, but often a contact for one initiative will be the contact for another and I am trying to determine the best method to handle this.

      • Elaine M Tucker commented  · 

        This enhancement would be a GREAT improvement for us. It is VERY CONFUSING when you see an employee listed multiple times in the relationship field because the contact type can only be 1-1. ARHG!!!!!!!

      • Julie Hiland commented  · 

        COMPLETELY agree. Honestly, this has been one of the biggest thorns in my side for the 11+ years that I've worked with RE. A very recent example: We just send holiday cards to our top constituents. Wells Fargo has 3-4 different contacts. People we go to for various reasons... the middle management person who gets the solicitation and gift acknowledgement, the highest executive level person who gets invites to special events, the grants manager who manages charitable giving, the wealth manager who manages corporate giving, the person we go to for the Swan House Ball, the person we go to for Annual Gifts (money comes from different pots at the company). We have very different contact with each of these people. Like Melissa said, we have to manage these under address attributes, which are buried and hard to manage/remember.

      • Tomasz Malkiewicz commented  · 

        Totally agree. In our case one person can be a Family Member (registered with us), Emergency Contact, Referee, Coach in relation to one of our Athletes. At the moment we have to create multiple relationships.

      • Maureen Johnston commented  · 

        So many people wear different 'hats' when interacting with us, that this would save us a world of pain.

      • Melissa Graves commented  · 

        I completely disagree, Erin. Primary works for the main person - but what about the other person who is the grants contact and the events contact but not the media contact. Erin - you are lucky this has never been an issue for you but it is an issue for many (hence 93+ votes).

      • Erin Hall commented  · 

        I think this is more of a use issue than a functionality issue. If you mark a relationship as "primary" contact that will be the person you contact for nearly every purpose. If you need to contact someone else for your golf outing-then you code that person. I've been managing this for 15 years and it has always worked without multiple contacts for the same person.
        Good Luck!

      • Charles Halsey commented  · 

        Currently, there is no workable "two-pass" contact processing function in RE. ("Two pass" = "one kind of contact otherwise some selected default.") In theory it's available via address attributes--but no practical coding scheme seems to fit. A hierarchy of Contact Types for each contact makes great sense to me.

      • Philip Slama commented  · 

        Especially at the Higher Education level where a single contact may be engaged by three or four units.

      • Melissa Graves commented  · 

        This functionality currently exists but it is ridiculously tied to the relartionship address attribute. This requires so much maintaniance and is so buried that it is impossible to do. Every time you change a relationship address you have to remember to check these attributes and users have such a hard time remembering where they are. Why can't relationship attributes be used to code these mailing preferences?

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