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Before entering records into ACS, you need to set up the important information you want to track. To get you going faster, we’re going to start with just some basic information. You can come back later and add additional items you want to track.

Answer these questions before setting up ACS. Some questions may be a simple yes or no, while others may require multiple answers, and you should include other staff if necessary when answering the questions.

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What terms do you use to identify the relationship between individuals in the database and our organization?


To help you decide, think about what you call:

  • Your members
  • Those who attend special events or Bible studies, but are not members.
  • Casual Visitors

In People, the names of these relationships are called Member Statuses. A person’s Member Status defines the relationship they have with the organization. Default member statuses are set up in Define Lists, but you can delete any you will not use.

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titleTo Define Member Statuses
  1. Under Advanced Tools, click the Define Lists tab.
  2. In the drop-down list, select People and click Go .
  3. In the Define Lists window, under Fields, expand Individual, then Lists.
  4. Select Member Status. A list of member statuses displays.
    • To add additional member statuses, click Add.
    • To edit a member status description, select the status you want to edit, then click Edit.
    • To delete a member status, select the status you want to delete, then click Delete.
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How would you group each Member Status into the 3 larger groupings of Member, Prospect, Other?


In People, you have three large groups: Member, Prospect, and Other. These are called Record Types.

Once you choose the Member Statuses you want to use, decide which larger grouping to include each in. For example, First Time Visitor and Repeat Visitor could fall under a larger group called Prospect. Member, Member Non-Res, and Member Watchcare could fall under a larger group called Member.

Larger groupings are helpful in a variety of situations. For example, you are doing a search for everyone who is a Member Status (let’s say you have four types of members). Rather than having to list all four in the search, you can just select the Record Type Member.

You can map Record Types to Member Statuses. This allows you to select a Member Status and then ACS automatically fills in the Record Type. You can map Record Types to Member Statuses in People Setup and in Define Lists.

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titleTo map a Record Type to a Member Status through People Setup
  1. In the People Setup window, click Map Record Types to Member Statuses.
  2. In the right pane, select a Member Status and then click Edit.
  3. In the Associated Record Type drop-down list to select the Record Type you want to map to this Member Status.
  4. Click OK.
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titleTo map a Record Type to a Member Status through Define Lists
  1. Under Advanced Tools, click the Define Lists tab.
  2. In the drop-down list, select People and click Go .
  3. Expand Individual, expand Lists, and select Member Status.
  4. In the right pane, select a Member Status and click Edit.
  5. In the Associated Record Type drop-down list select the Record Type you want to map to this Member Status.
  6. Click OK, then Close.
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How can people join your organization?


In ACS, this information is tracked in Joined How? Some examples are Statement, Letter, Profession. Define Lists contains default values for Joined How?, but you can edit or delete any you will not use.

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titleTo Define Joined How? Values
  1. Under Advanced Tools, click the Define Lists tab.
  2. In the drop-down list, select People and click Go .
  3. In the Define Lists window, under Fields, expand Individual, then Lists.
  4. Select Joined How. A list of possible joining reasons displays.
    • To add additional reasons, click Add.
    • To edit reasons for joining, select the reason you want to edit, then click Edit.
    • To delete a reason you do not use, select the reason you want to delete, then click Delete.
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What terms do you use to refer to your head-of-house and spousal positions?


In ACS, these terms are Head and Spouse, but you can edit them and use your terminology (For example: Spouse 1, Spouse 2).

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titleTo Define Head-of-Household and Spouse Positions
  1. Under Advanced Tools, click the Settings tab.
  2. In the drop-down list, select, People and click Go .
  3. Under Family Position Settings, in the Head of House Description and Spouse Description fields, enter the descriptions you want to use.
  4. When finished, click OK.
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Do couples give as a combined unit, individually, or do some couples give together and other couples give independently of each other?


Couples may give as a combined unit or each give individually. Children can give separately from their parents. If you do not have the Contributions module, the Contribution area is grayed out on the Profile tab.

Make sure you have a list of contributors and their envelope numbers (if you use them), and know what contributors give individually or have a combined giving record to refer to when you start entering records.

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Do you want to set up defaults when entering new individual records?


The defaults you can set up are for Country, Member Status, Newsletter Flag, Newsletter Deliver By, and Email Type. Setting up these defaults means ACS automatically includes the defaults in a new record. This saves you time because you don’t have to enter any of that information.

Of course, if any default information is incorrect for an individual, you can edit the option.

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titleTo access ACS People setup
  1. Under Advanced Tools, click the Settings tab.
  2. In the drop-down list, select, People and click Go .
  3. Under People Default Settings, select the default Country, Member Status, Newsletter Flag, newsletter delivery method, and E-mail Type.
  4. When finished, click OK.
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What special, important information should you track for each individual or family?


ACS People has 12 user defined lists, 4 user defined fields, and 6 user defined dates for each person. You can use these to track information that your organization wants to track. Examples include Date of Marriage or Faith Background.

ACS People allows you to track up to 3 user defined lists and 3 users defined fields available on the family record. If you add information in one of these fields, it automatically displays on any other records in that family. Examples include Family Deacon or Caregiver.

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Working with Additional Fields, Dates, and Lists in People Define Lists
Working with Additional Fields, Dates, and Lists in People Define Lists
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Do you need to track individuals who are no longer active in the organization? Do you need to know why and when they became inactive?


Some organizations want to keep names, addresses, and other information about those previously associated with them but no longer active.

If you want to keep an individual’s record but not have him or her display in reports, you can deactivate the individual. Examples: the individual moved out of town, moved his/her membership, or hasn’t attended services for a specified amount of time. If this information is important, you may want to use a List and Date field to track why the record was deactivated and the date the record was deactivated.

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Deactivating an Individual's Record
Deactivating an Individual's Record
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Do you want to track inter-family relationships in your membership?


You can track this information using Other Relationships.

For example, both Tom White and his grandparents, Scott and Ellen Browning, attend your church. Because their last names are different there is no way to know of their relationship unless someone has shared this with you.

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Adding Other Relationships in ACS People
Adding Other Relationships in ACS People
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Related topics
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People - Startup Outline
Getting Started with ACS People
Setting up ACS People
Defining Lists in ACS People