Advanced: Custom Data

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Sometimes you want to collect data and there is no place to put it in your database. Custom fields allow you to add those fields. Profiles, on the other hand, are a collection of existing fields.


Think through how to collect data, how to organize data and how to engage your comrades in figuring it all out.

Understand the difference between profiles and custom data.


1 hour

10 minutes: Explain

We are covering both custom fields and profiles, which solve two problems:

  1. The "core" fields that come with Powerbase can't capture all the information you need. Solution: custom fields
  2. The form for creating a new contact is HUGE. Solution: profile

10 minutes: Custom fields

Custom fields are like dishes: you have to put them in something. If you have soup, put it in a bowl. If you have chicken, put it on a plate. Rice? Well, it's not always clear cut where everything should go...

Custom fields are the same: you can't just "put" a field in the database, you have to decide where in the database it should go.

The first step in understanding where it should go is to ask if it is it is “something about a person” or “something a person does”.

Everyone think of one piece of information your organization collects that most organizations don’t collect. Then, ask each person to say what it is and whether it is “something about a person” or “something a person does”. If it’s “something a person does” - is it related to participating in an event, making a contribution, or something else?

10 minutes: Pick one

Demonstrate how to choose from an existing group OR create a new group.


Profiles also require some thought:

  • Will the profile be used to collect contact information?
  • Will it be used to enhance a contribution page? An event participation page?


Pick a partner. With your partner, create a custom field in the training database, deciding together what kind of custom data group should be created. Then create a profile that uses it.