Can I use multiple databases to segment my contact list?

Can I use multiple databases to segment my contact list?

Sumac stores data in one main database. However, Sumac can readily segment your database into multiple groups. For example, some Sumac customers keep their donor contacts in one segment and their client contacts in another segment because they need to specify different levels of security to manage how their users access these different groups. Each user can have a different access and capabilities (or none at all) in each segment.


When thinking about this, you should consider carefully how the benefits of multiple segments compare to the problems that arise.


Benefits of multiple segments:


1. The list of contacts is smaller and more focused in each segment. For example, one segment may be a list of donors, another may hold a list of media contacts, or perhaps a list of clients.


2. Users can be given access to only the segment(s) they need to use. This is an important security consideration for many organizations using Sumac.


Problems with multiple segments:


1. Would you ever do the same mailing to people in multiple segments and therefore need to repeat the mailing? If yes, having these contacts in separate segments could make running these types of mailings tedious.


2. Occasionally, you might have a contact who needs to be in both segments (e.g. because the contact is both a donor and a client). In order to ensure that the client appears in both segments, and that users who need to see that contact for donor purposes aren’t able to see any of the data relating to who that contact is as a client, you may end up needing to add the contact to both segments which would add a duplicate contact to your database.


3. If a contact needs to be in both segments (see point b above), and the contact’s address changes, you must remember to change it in both segments.


Another consideration, perhaps segmenting is not the appropriate way to implement the security and levels of access for your users. Instead, perhaps making client-relevant fields "Sensitive," or preventing users who should not see donation data from seeing the Donations area of your database is a more effective option for you. While segmenting is often an ideal way to define access levels for your users, Sumac does provide several options for implementing the right access levels for your users in cases where segmenting is not appropriate.

If you need assistance in determining which option is right for you, you can reach out to the Sumac team for guidance.


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