You're setting up your contacts in Virtuous and keep seeing the contact type at the top of the entry page. What in the world is a contact type and why are we using them? Contact types are a way to sort your contacts easily. In Virtuous, we sort our contacts into three categories:
- Household- A household is generally for individuals and families.
- Foundation- A foundation is suited for organizations that identify as a Foundation.
- Organization- Organization is your catch-all for contacts that don't fit into the other categories.
Every contact MUST have a contact type. Why? Well, contacts are larger entities than just one person, they're families, businesses, churches, clubs, etc. The three basic contact types are set up because they align with the way giving is reported to the IRS.
Having contact types also allows you to filter, and query, on that contact type. This makes it easier for you to find the contacts that you're looking to connect with in your outreach. Want to find all the schools in your database? If you create a custom contact type (learn about that here) for schools, you can easily identify them in queries and reports. You could also make a corporate foundation or charity foundation contact type if that's what fits your needs best.
It's not recommended to use contact types for things that could change or where a contact might fit into more than one category—like donor, board member or volunteer. It's best to keep contact types to things that don't change. A household may have members that volunteer and then go on to donate, but it will remain a household. An organization may change its name or be acquired or undergo a change in leadership, or even pivot to a new industry, but it will still be an organization.
Now that you're comfortable with contact types, check out these other articles that may also be helpful to you: