Among the many options for customizing Virtuous, users can create custom fields to track specific specific data or capture mission-critical details. Some common uses of custom fields include capturing employer information for Individuals, the fulfillment status of Premiums at the Gift level, or additional accounting requirements on Projects. Whatever the reason, custom fields provide a clear way to track the data your organizations needs.
Before creating a custom field, there are a few considerations to take into account:
- Only users with Admin permissions can create custom fields. Not an admin? Then you'll need to check with your organization's Virtuous admin and ask them nicely to add a custom field for you. Offering them flowers or chocolate never hurts.
- Ask yourself if you really need this field. Many times, organizations create custom fields to track things that already have a home in Virtuous. Gift details may be something that would best be tracked using Campaigns or Projects. Contact data may be better suited to be tracked as a Tag. Talk to your Virtuous admin, or contact your Customer Success Coach for advice about the best way to track your data and take advantage of the existing features in Virtuous.
- Have a clear use case for your new field. How do you plan to track and use this data? Is it something that needs to be used in queries and segmentation? Or is the data in this field more informational, to be reviewed when looking at a single Contact record? Having a clear plan will make it easier to create your new field and select the right Data Type (more on that below) to meet your needs.
With these in mind, it's time to add a custom field. Navigate to the Settings page in Virtuous. There, select the "Data Customization" tab near the top of the screen and then click on "Manage Custom Fields."
If there are any custom fields already created for your organization, they will be listed on the screen. To create a new one, look for the blue "Create a Custom Field" button in the upper right and click to bring up the New Custom Field dialog box. Enter the information for your your new field. There are three fields, all of which are required:
Name: The name for the new field. Each field must have a unique name in the system.
Entity Type: In other words, where should this field live in Virtuous? If this a field for Gifts records, or for Contacts? This will always default to Contact -- just click to select a different value. The available Entity Types are:
- Contact Individual
- Event Invitation
- Volunteer Opportunity
Data Type: This field is critical; it determines the type of field to be created, or more specifically, the type of data that can be stored in the new field. For capturing a wide variety of data, an open text field may be best; in other cases, a simple True/False flag may be ideal and allow for easy querying and segmentation. To help determine the correct Data Type, consider the use cases for this new field.
Once a custom field has been created, the Data Type cannot be changed.
Bear this in mind when planning for your new field. The available types, and recommendations for usage, are:
- DateTime: Used for any fields that will be strictly for tracking dates. Using this option will allow for querying using date operators, like "Greater than" or "Before."
- Decimal: For fields that will only contain numerals. Again, this option will affect the query operators that can be used with a custom field.
- Link: This type allows for clickable urls that can be used to connect to other web pages.
- List: Use this option to create a drop-down list. Selecting this option will display a new field, "Domain Values," to create the list entries.
- Text: This option creates a general text field. Text fields are excellent for capturing data that could vary widely, but can be harder to query on than more structured data like that in list fields.
- True/False: A basic yes/no field, best used to create "flags" or indicators on a record. Use this in cases where a List field might be desired, but records may require more than one selection.
Once all the information for the new field has been entered, click SAVE to create the new field.
Confirm on the main Custom Fields screen that the new field is Enabled, and it will be ready to use.
Once a Custom Field has been created, it cannot be deleted from the system. Custom fields that are no longer needed may be deactivated. From the Custom Fields screen, click on the edit icon next to the field you wish to change and uncheck the "Enabled" box to deactivate a field. Under the "Enabled" column on the main Custom Fields screen, it should now show "No."
Custom fields will not be displayed onscreen unless they contain data. For instance, creating a Text field called "Employer" for Individuals will display that field ONLY if there is employer data. Click on the edit icon to see all available custom fields and add data.