People categories provide a powerful way to handle the different types of people in your church. A person can only be in one people category at a time.
When setting up people categories for your church, think about the different ways you like to class active members or contacts. What kind of categories would be helpful for you to sort by and report on as a church? Elvanto default categories are Congregation, Visitor/New People and Community Contacts, but you can change these or create other and more specific categories to distinguish between members.
Categories, unlike a person’s status, are not directly related to pricing. This is where a church groups and sorts people in their own words. A person can only be in one category, and only has one status.
People categories are simply how your church delineates between the people that come into contact with it.
Now is a good time to start thinking about how you would like to categorize people at the highest level. Remember, you can use things like People Views, Demographics, Groups and more to narrow down on people that fill people categories so you shouldn’t have to create too many.
Most churches have something along the lines of:
Visitors / New People
Call the categories whatever you wish! They can always be changed and tweaked over time.
People Categories vs People Status
People Categories are different to People Status (refresh yourself on People Status at this link) because Categories have nothing to do with billing. We charge based on which Status people in your system have. And people in your system need to be active in order to take advantage of many of Elvanto features.
Each people category has a profile layout. A profile layout has two sides to it.
The first side is about how you and your leaders see people’s information when you access people’s profiles through the Admin Area. Here, it’s important to consider what order you arrange the information in. Organizing profile layouts well will slash the amount of time you spend scrolling through people’s profiles.
The second side is all about how people in your system (remember: you don’t have to give access to everyone in your church) see the information that you’ve collected about them, what information you collect about them, and whether they can edit it. All of this happens through the Member Area.
For some things, like addresses and phone numbers, it’s incredibly convenient for people to be able to update these themselves. For others, like Demographics, people do not need to be able to edit their information, so it’s up to you if you let them.
Custom fields are little bits of extra information that you need to know about people in your church, that Elvanto doesn’t already offer.
For example, you’ll have to set up custom fields for things like Baptism date, First-Aid qualifications, and Allergies, but not for things like Age, Marital Status, and Phone number.
All of your people have default fields like first name, last name and email address, but any additional fields for your people are called ‘custom fields’. There’s no limit to how many custom fields you add, and the fields can be used to store additional contact information or relevant data, such as allergies, blue card expiry date, interests, or answers to a survey. This is useful for things like reporting and generating specific People Views.
Tip: Identify from your old database which custom fields you need set up prior to importing your data.