To create a query in Virtuous, you’ll need to click on the magnifying glass in the side menu to access the Query Tool page. On the left side of the screen, you’ll see a box with the fields you’ll need to get started building a new query. You can give your query a name, or leave it blank if you’re not sure - you’ll have an opportunity to save your query and name it later, if you like. You’ll also need to select which kind of query you’d like to create.

When trying to select the right query type, there are a few rules of thumb to keep in mind.

First, just as it says on-screen, what kind of data are you looking for? Answering this question will help determine the right query type. To put it another way, what do you want a list of? Contacts? Then you’ll want to run a Contact query. A Gift query will return a list of Gifts. And a Contact Note query will return a list of Contact Notes. Sounds simple enough. But the trick is not to base your decision on your criteria, but instead on the results you want to see in your list.

Second, if you’re having trouble identifying exactly what you want a list of, try phrasing your query as a question. If you say it out loud, your co-workers won’t judge you.

For example, if you say “I want to know who has made a donation so far this year?” then the “Who” would indicate that you want a Contact or Individual query. Since giving is tracked at the Contact level, here you’re looking for a list of Contacts. If you are asking “How much did we raise in January of last year?” then the “How much” is a clue that you want a list of Gifts. And if you are wondering “How many calls did my team make this quarter?” then you are looking for a list of Contact Notes, since calls are a type of note.

Here’s a quick example. Let’s see who has made a donation so far this year. Since our question involves giving activity, there’s a temptation to create a Gift query, but since our question asks WHO has given, that tells us we want a list of Contacts, so we want to create a Contact query. From the build query screen, you’ll see that there are a number of giving statistics available in a Contact query. We can use Year to Date Gift Count and look for anyone who has a count greater than zero to find a list of Contacts who have given this year.

Sometimes, the parameters you need may not be available in a single query type. For example, to see a list of everyone who has given to a specific Project in the last three months, you will need some parameters that are only found in a Gift query: Gift Date and Project Code. IN this case, you can create a Gift query, and then “nest” that into a Contact query, to still get the list of Contacts you want. You can see more on this in our video on Nested Queries, later in this tutorial.

Once you select a query type, it’s time to start building out your query. Check out the other videos in our series to learn more about working with queries in Virtuous.

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