No matter what you do in Virtuous, the most fundamental concept that you’ll need to be familiar with is the structure of Contacts and Individuals.

Contacts are at the heart of everything in Virtuous. A Contact may be any one of three base types: a Household, an Organization, or a Foundation. You can even create custom types, to track schools, churches, clubs...anything you like. The key to remember is that a Contact is always a larger entity than just one person.

In Virtuous, Gifts, Pledges, Recurring Gifts, Gift Asks, Tags, Notes, and Tasks all relate specifically to Contacts. Giving is tracked at the household level because typically, a married couple would file taxes jointly, and would want a single year end statement of their giving for tax purposes. If it helps, you can even think of Contacts as tax entities.

Within each Contact, you’ll have Individuals. In Virtuous, Individuals are people. They may be the members of a household, or the employees of an Organization or Foundation. Even though most data in Virtuous is tied to Contacts, there are specific features, like Events, Volunteer Opportunities, and Email, that relate directly to Individuals.

Every Contact record in Virtuous must have at least one Individual. This means that even a single donor will still be part of a Household record, even if that Household has only one member. The nice thing is that this means your data structure will always be consistent, no matter what type of Contact record you are viewing. Within each record, you’ll have the ability to define the Primary and Secondary Individuals, both of whom are displayed in the header when viewing a record. These Individuals will be the default recipients of emails and other communication addressed to each Contact.

When viewing a Contact, you’ll see certain data points, like Addresses, are connected to Contacts. Which makes sense; a Household will have one primary address, after all. There are also other data points tied to Individuals, specifically Contact Methods, which may be email addresses, phone numbers, or social media handles or profiles.

Understanding which data relates to Contacts and which data is tied to Individuals is crucial. These concepts will inform all processes, including data entry, gift processing, reporting, and creating queries and automated workflows. Now that you’ve learned about Contacts and Individuals, check out our other videos to learn more about working in Virtuous.

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