Managing Multiple Family Members (spouses, households, etc)

You have several choices for what to do when creating a new donor in your PowerBase:

Use Household to group individuals

In general, we don’t recommend using the household function in CiviCRM because it’s more complex and it’s easy to lose track of individuals in a household. However, you can use this method if you want - please contact support to enable it.

Leave donors in one record

This method will often shove two names in the first name field (e.g. Juana and Jose).

This is how donor records were organized in many legacy contribution systems. While it doesn’t fit well with the organizing model, there may be good reasons why you might continue doing this – especially if the donors will not be involved in organizing activities of your organization.

Use Spouse/Partner relationships

We recommend this method because it provides the most control and does not require setting up an additional household record. This works best if you have one "main" contact in a household. You set it up this way:

  • The main person gets the “SPOUSE OF” relationship with the other spouse, which gets the “SPOUSE IS” relationship.
  • Set the contact with the “SPOUSE IS” relationship to share the address of the first contact.
  • Set the addressee and the postal greeting of the "main" contact (the one that has the "SPOUSE OF" relationship) to include BOTH names. We have tokens for this:
  • Here is the setting for Postal Greeting:

postal greeting

There is a similar one for the Addressee.

If for some reason you want to change it, you can use the “Customized” option to make it exactly what you want.

  1. Recording a donation – when recording a donation, you would give a soft credit to the other member(s) of the household.
  2. Reporting – if you want to do reporting by household, just select the “SPOUSE IS”  contacts.  Alternatively, put the SPOUSE OF people into a group and exclude them using an Include/Exclude search.
Collecting and Managing Contact Information