Data Data Everywhere - But Where to Put It?
Did you know that CiviCRM allows you to create Custom Fields to collect information about your contacts? This is a powerful tool to organize your database to meet your specific needs. For example, you might want to find out what a participant’s meal choice is for an event or what their most valued issues are for which your organization advocates. These are all custom fields that can be added to CiviCRM to tailor to the needs of your organization.
Custom fields can also be assigned to different CiviCRM entities such as Contact Records, Contributions, Event Participant Records, and much more. It is important to attach the field to the correct record type so you can find your information when it comes time to create a report.
With this in mind, the example above with the dinner choice should be placed on the Event Participation Record, because the participant may want chicken at this event and beef at the next. The example of what issue is most important to them belongs on the Contact Records because this is a general preference specific to the person and presumably not a variable choice.
Let's go one step further: When you add fields to contact record, you can determine if the fields are used for Individuals, Organizations, or Households. For example, you would not need to know the annual revenue and number of employees of an individual or household, but you might need to know that for an organization.
Be patient! It can take some time and applied practice to fully understand the options of Custom Fields and where to organize your data in CiviCRM. This is why Cividesk is here to help!