Basic Concept of Searching in Sumac

Basic Concept of Searching in Sumac

The Benefits of Effective Searching

Sumac has powerful searching capabilities so you can find anything in your database; contacts, donation information, client and volunteer data, memberships, tickets, and more. This article covers basic searching features in Sumac, Search Criteria and Operators, Searching in Lists, and Searching with Multiple Criteria. It also includes examples of some common searches.

Searching your data is about more than just being able to find things. Effective searching brings many far-reaching benefits:

• Focus. Communicate with exactly the best group of people on any particular issue, so your constituents see only communications that are relevant to them.

• Analyze. Look at your data from many different angles, combinations, and perspectives to gain insight.

• Assess. Report and focus on what really matters.

• Enhance data. Search to find data inconsistencies, then clean them up in bulk.


Searching for Different Data

Each list in Sumac stores a particular type of data. The Contact List holds information about contacts, the Donations List holds donation records, the Communications List has communications.

When you're trying to find certain things in your Sumac database, search for it within the appropriate list. For example, if you are looking for contact data, find it by searching in the Contacts List. If you are looking for donation data, find it by searching in the Donations list. If you are looking for membership data, search in the Memberships list.



The Search Panel

Searching features work the same way in every list. The Search panel is located at the top of the list window.




There’s a Simple Search field at the very top, which allows you to run a quick query. In the Contacts list, for instance, it lets you look up a contact by their first or last name, or even just part of a name. Sumac will find you all contacts who match what you've entered.



To explore the Advanced Search area for more detailed criteria, simply expand the "Advanced Search" option in your Search panel.





Here, you’ll notice the Search Type drop-down menu. This lets you access the different search criteria available for the list you're looking at. In the Contacts List, the Search Type drop-down menu has search criteria relating to contacts, like contact types, communication preferences, or even specific fields within the contact record.




Searching in Contacts List

Let's do a search with only one search criterion: find our Board Members. In most Sumac databases, board membership is recorded as a contact type, so we choose Contact Type. That shows a second drop-down menu where we choose which Contact Type we're interested in finding. Choose Board Member - Current. Click Search – and Sumac produces your list of current Board Members!



Another common single-criterion search looks for contacts with a particular communication preference. For example, perhaps you need to find everyone who wants your newsletter. Choose the Search Type: Communication Preference, then choose the Communication Preference: Newsletter. Click Search – and Sumac finds all the contacts in your database who want your newsletter.



Searching is at the top of every list in Sumac, and it shows the search results in the list of records. Instead of presenting all records, Sumac responds to your question by showing you only the records that match your search criteria.


Searches with a Single Criterion and Multiple Criteria

A search can be composed of a single criterion or multiple criteria. Searches with one criterion could be as follows:

1. Find contacts who live in New York.



2. Find donations over $100.


3. Find who attended your recent event.



However, searches with multiple criteria are also very common:

1. Find contacts who live in Chicago or New York.

2. Find donations over $100 given in the past six months.

3. Find contacts who have attended our recent Gala, and have signed up for our newsletter, or have given a donation in the past month.

The different criteria in these examples are linked together using certain words: "and" and "or." These connector words connect search criteria together to create more precise searches.


Types of Connectors

The most common connectors are 'AND' and 'OR'. Let's review when each connector is appropriate.

Using an AND connector means that the results must satisfy both criteria in your search. For example, if we are considering people who have glasses and others who have mustaches, an AND search shows only the people who have both glasses AND a mustache.



Using an OR connector means that the search results must meet either the first criterion, or the second criterion, or both. Thus, an OR search shows the people who have either glasses, or a mustache, or both!



To choose multiple criteria in the Advanced Search panel, simply click the plus button next to the Search Type drop-down menu:


Then select the appropriate connector;



And choose another criterion from the second Search Type drop-down menu that has appeared. Then hit Search to view the results.




When you link search criteria with an AND connector, Sumac finds only the results that satisfy both criteria in your search. For example, perhaps you need to find contacts who want to receive your newsletter and attended your last event. Because the criteria are connected with an AND, Sumac finds only contacts in your database who do/did both things. Contacts who want to receive your newsletter, but did not attend your last event, will not be included in the results Sumac finds.



When you link search criteria with an OR connector, Sumac finds results that meet either the first criterion, or the second criterion, or both criteria. For example, perhaps you want to find contacts who want to receive your newsletter OR attended your last event. Because the criteria are connected with an OR, Sumac finds contacts who do/did either, or both things.



If we compare these two searches, you can see that the AND connector only finds contacts who meet both criteria. The OR connector finds contacts who meet either criterion.

The AND NOT connector, on the other hand, prompts Sumac to find results that meet the first criterion, but NOT the second one. For example, perhaps you want to find contacts who want to receive your newsletter but did NOT attend your last event. Because the criteria are connected with an AND NOT, Sumac finds contacts who do the former, but did not do the latter.




Now you've mastered the basics of searching in Sumac!

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