Using Summary Fields To Better Understand Your Donors

Having a system that helps organizations understand their donors is critical to maximizing the potential of their contributors. When a donor makes a contribution, a significant amount of data is recorded in CiviCRM. Much more than just the date and amount of the contribution.

"Summary Fields" helps us uncover this additional data.

Summary Fields is a CiviCRM community extension. It runs as a scheduled task to gather, calculate and summarize data from other data entered into your CiviCRM as contributions, membership or event participation. In this blog post, we are just going to look at contributions. Summary Fields make it easier to search for major donors, recent donors, lapsed donors as well as to show a synopsis of a donor’s history.

Screen Shot 2016-11-04 at 4.38.40 PM.pngOnce you have the Summary Fields extension installed, you will find a tab on contact records that shows many fields and their calculations. The image on the left shows examples of the some of the fields that are available (click the image on the to expand it).

The fields that are part of the Summary Fields extension are implemented as custom fields in CiviCRM.  This means that we can use these fields in searches and reports. 

For example, we can search for any individual that made total contributions greater than $500 in the prior year or fond out when he made the last donation. We could also use this criteria to filter a report.  

To use the Summary Fields in a search, expand the Custom Fields field set in Advanced Search. Scroll down to the Summary Fields field set and enter the values you want to search for. 

To use the fields to filter a report, click on the Filters tab in the report and scroll down the Summary Fields section and expand the field set. From here you can enter the filter criteria. If you want to see the fields in the report, click on the Columns tab and expand the Summary Fields field set. You can click on the checkbox for the fields you want to include in the report.  

Many of our customers at Cividesk are using this extension. We find it very helpful for expanding the reporting functionality of CiviCRM and getting data that help our customers reach and exceed their fundraising goals.