Where you acquire your supporters tells an important story about your organization. Understanding how people are getting involved, what kinds of contributions they are making to your mission, and how these factors change over time is critical to growing your constituency and reducing attrition.
How source tracking works
Each feature in AbleOrganizer includes tools for tracking sources. Sources are a field associated with activity records, and each activity type has it's own sources. You can feel free to add, edit and delete options from the list of sources, and you can even add new fields for tracking sources at a more granular level. Each feature also includes reports for tracking information by source, which can be used to understand your contacts and what motiviates them to get involved.
The benefits of this approach are easy to understand. By tracking sources at the activity level, you have a clear record of how people become involved in your site over time. You can look at aggregate source information to understand how involvement changes over time, and generate custom reports that graphically display the differences. You can use this information to understand the relative importance of different sources and focus your efforts on the ones that are most effective.
How to configure sources
Each feature in AbleOrganizer ships with a field for tracking sources. You can edit the list of available sources by going to the main administration page for activities, and clicking the manage fields link for the activity type you want to edit.
You will see a field called 'Source' for each activity type. Click the edit link to the right of the field name. There will be a field labelled 'Allowed values list' on the following screen. This is the list of sources for this activity type. You can edit the list of sources simply by entering new values or changing existing ones.
Best practices for managing sources
Just remember a couple of things about sources:
- Source information is not automatically added to activity records by default. When you are creating forms, you will want to add a field that adds the appropriate values for sources.
- You can feel free to edit the list of sources for each activity type. Once you have been using AbleOrganizer for a while, though, it is better to simply add to the list of sources instead of removing old values. This ensures you are not losing data about activites from a while back.
- If the list of sources for an activity type does get too large over time, the way to reduce the number is to update old sources before removing any values. you can do a bulk update of activity records to change a source.
- You can add new fields for tracking sources beyond the ones included in the software. Please understand this means you will also need to modify the reports to reflect the new fields.