In this lesson we’re going to learn about Households. 

Households are a family or unit of Supporters, generally with the same mailing address. The primary reason to use Households is to more easily manage your direct mailing lists. Using a Household export for your mailing list ensures you’re addressing a family of donors and not individual members—which reduces duplicate mailings and keeps families happy. 

If you’ve managed major donors before, you know that spouses and partners aren’t happy when only one of them receives recognition for a major gift. No one likes to be left out! Households can help you avoid an unhappy donor partner by attributing donations from anyone in the family to the entire household.

Household management is a somewhat advanced fundraising strategy—it involves organizing and tracking a lot of data. Funraise’s Households can help your team nurture relationships with families who support you.

In this lesson we’ll:
  • Take a tour of Households
  • Segment and export Households data
  • Learn Household matching rules, and 
  • Manage an individual Household

Tour of Households

Let’s jump in! To access Households from the side menu, click Supporters and then Households.

You’ll land on the Household table—here’s where you view and sort Households. To open a Household profile, click on the underlined name. Don’t worry, we’ll cover the elements of this profile later in the lesson.

Above the table is the filter container where you can add filters… save a list… or export a list. The totals at the top are the total amount donated from households and the count of households in this segment.

Access your saved lists and create a new household right from the header of the page.

Defining key terms

Before moving on, let’s define some key concepts about Households:

The Household name is an internal name. It’s populated with the last name of the primary contact when a Household is created automatically, but the name can be customized.

The Household salutation is how you will address the Household. For example, you might refer to a family unit as Smith Family or The Smiths.

The preferred address is the address you’ll use when sending physical mail to this Household.

The primary contact is the main contact at this Household.

Total amount donated is the sum of donations that have been attributed to the Household.

And finally, household members is the number of supporters in the Household.

Creating and exporting lists

Next, let’s talk about how to use the Households section for its primary purpose—your direct mail lists. In the same way that you segment your email lists, it’s a good idea to segment your direct mailing list as well.

For example, you might create a segment of your most generous Households for a special mailing package. In this case, we can add a filter for Total Amount Donated is more than $20,000.

Once you have the filtered segment for your mailing list, it’s a good idea to save this list by giving it a name... and clicking save so you can see this list quickly anytime.

You can also export the list. 

Use the data from this export to mailmerge content into individual letters and address labels. Of course, you’ll need an external word processing software to accomplish this.

Creating Households and automatic matching

Alright, next let’s talk about how Households are created. In most cases, Households are created automatically!  Let’s look at an example…

Let’s say Debbie Donor makes a first donation of $50. This creates a Transaction record, a Supporter record, and a Household record. Right now, Debbie’s the only member of her Household.

The next day, Debbie’s husband Freddie makes a $50 donation. Because Debbie and Freddie live at the same address, Freddie’s added to Debbie’s household. Their matching physical addresses determine that these two Supporters should be in the same household.

The full matching rules get complex, but here’s the basic rule...

If the physical address of a new Supporter matches the physical address of a supporter that’s already in a Household, the new Supporter is added to that Household.

That covers how a Household is created automatically, but you can also create a Household manually by clicking New Household.

When manually creating a new household, enter the Household Name (Smith Household) and Household Salutation (Smith Family). Then select the primary contact for this household. Once you’ve identified the primary contact, choose a preferred address from that supporter’s available addresses.

When creating a household, you also have several options regarding attributing historic transactions to this household. By default, new donations from the supporter will be attributed to the household, but you may not want to attribute all historic donations upon creation.

Managing an individual Household

Finally, let’s dig deeper into managing an individual household. You can access the household profile by clicking on an underlined Household name. Inside the profile, you’ll see a few sections: General, Transactions, Addresses, and Notes.

General includes the name, salutation, primary contact and member list. Here’s where you update the primary contact information for this household. For example, change the primary supporter by selecting another member of the household. You can also update the preferred address by selecting another address from a member of the household.

Search and select supporters you want to add as members of this household. Keep in mind that a supporter can only be a member of one household at a time.

Next, Transactions is where you can access all the donations attributed to this household. Attributing or un-attributing a transaction to a household is done by editing the actual transaction. To show how it’s done, open a transaction profile. This transaction is already attributed to the Household, so we can remove or change the household attribution by editing the settings here.

Okay, let’s jump back to the household profile.

Next up! Addresses! See all the addresses from supporters in the household. From here, mark one of these addresses as the household preferred address—which, if you remember, is the address you‘ll use to send mail to this household.

Lastly, Notes is where you can add multiple notes about this household.

Great job! Managing households means tracking a loooot of data—and Funraise’s Households section makes that much easier.

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Some of the features in this lesson may not be included in every awesome Funraise plan.

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