The people record type in Beacon is the heart of most accounts. It's where you'll store everyone involved in making your organisation a success - donors, fundraisers, beneficiaries, volunteers, members... the list goes on!
A person record stores all the information inherent to them personally (like name, contact details, interests, date of birth, job title) and will also show any related information that is pointing to this person (such as payments made, events attended, subscriptions set up). It's your hub for seeing how someone fits into your organisation.
The name field is a special one - it's actually comprised of 4 smaller fields:
- First name
- Middle name
- Last name
If you have a strange title that's not in our list (We're looking at you 'Jedi Master Luke Skywalker'), Beacon will warn you that it might not be correct, but it will still let you store it.
When importing people, or getting new sign ups / donations via Beacon forms, we will automatically capitalise (name-case) people's names to keep your database clean and tidy - we even correct for things like 'McLeod', 'de Souza', and 'van der Waals' too.
Each person record should be one person. It's best to avoid storing couples together, as it can cause complications with your data (especially Gift Aid!). If you'd like to manage spouses or households, pop us a message and we'll give you some tips!
This is where you store top-level categorisation of what this person's relationship is to you. We've started you off with common ones like 'Donor', 'Fundraiser', 'Volunteer'.
This is intended to give you the broad information, and shouldn't be used to be hyper-specific. For example:
Set someone as 'Donor' instead of 'Regular donor' - You can easily see if they have a subscription on the right, and you can filter for people who are regular donors too: Related subscriptions greater than 0
Set someone as 'Member' instead of 'Adult Member' - You can see the type of membership they have on the right, and you can filter for people with adult memberships too: Related memberships greater than 0, where the Type is Adult
As a rule of thumb, if the specifics are stored somewhere else in Beacon, don't store it here! Keep this field nice and general, it makes it easier to keep accurate and work with.
Only properly formatted emails can be stored here, and people can have more than one email address. If you want to change which email is their main one, click the star to make it the primary email.
Beacon has an extensive database of phone number formats worldwide, and won't let you store incorrect phones (after all, what use is a phone number that doesn't work?). If you enter a phone for your default country, Beacon will add the international code automatically. To add an international number, add the country code first - e.g. +61 3 94163360
People can have more than one phone entered. If you want to change which phone number is their main one, click the star to make it the primary phone.
A nice long text field to add context and general information about this contact that you don't want to store elsewhere.
If you want to record notes about any contact with this person, or notes that are transient to a point in time, it's better to log them on the timeline.
Complete with a map! Add any number of addresses for this person, and set a primary address by clicking the star.
In the unfortunate circumstance that this person has passed away, check this box. You may want to periodically archive deceased contacts in line with your data retention policy.
Beacon has four options as standard:
- Prefer not say
However, much like most of Beacon, it's completely customisable to have the options you'd like.
link Date of birth
The circle of life begins! A standard date field to record this momentous occasion.
A general purpose field to store documents or images for this person. They might be identification, an application letter, or anything!
Don't add paper Gift Aid declarations here though, they can go on the Gift Aid declaration record itself.
link Contact preferences
This is where to store GDPR consents from your constituents.
- Direct mail
Several things will feed in to these consents:
- Beacon forms (such as donations, memberships or event registrations)
- App integrations (like Mailchimp, JustGiving, dotdigital, iZettle)
- Manual changes
We recommend leaving the core options here, and specifically not using a 'Do not contact' option. Having no preferences selected (field is blank) is the same as having no contact consent. If you'd like to record what people would like to hear about, use the 'Interests' field...
Used to indicate what extra topics this person is particularly interested in hearing about. Alternatively, you could set the default for the field to be all of these values if you'd like to use it to record things people don't want to hear about (by unchecking them).
It's good to edit this field to add the options that are most relevant to your organisation.
link Job title
For all the 'Accounting Ninjas' and 'Sandwich Technicians' of the world.
Unsurprisingly, used to indicate the organisation that this person works for or is associated with. Rather than storing the name of the company here as text, this field actually points to another record type: Organisations. You can simply start typing the name of the organisation and then select it from the list, or click to add a new Organisation if it doesn't already exist.
link Beneficiary notes
A simple place to record information about how this person has benefited from the services you provide. For more detailed case management, use our Cases record type.
link Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Website
The gaggle of social links here are all for storing URLs to the various platforms. Tweet, network, and scroll to your heart's content.
link Adding new people
People records can come from several different places. Many will be automatic (efficiency win!), and some will be manually created.
link Automatic people records
Most of your people will probably be coming from Beacon-powered donation forms. These donations will create (or update) a person record for each transaction, and automatically fill the relevant fields with information.
link Manually adding people
For people that you need to create yourself in Beacon, you can either add them individually, or if you have many people stored electronically you can import them in bulk.
link Individual person creation
You can manually create people from either:
The People record type, with the 'Add person' button.
Any related record card showing people, such as from an Organisation record. Just click the '+' button in the corner. It will automatically point the person at that record (in this case the organisation they work for).
You can fill in as much or as little information as you need, and click the Create button. Person entered!
link Bulk person creation
When you have a lot of people to enter, it can be much quicker to import them from a spreadsheet. You'll also create people when you're regularly importing payments from other providers.
Use your CSV file to create an import template, selecting People as your record type (or use Payments if you're importing those too!).
Tip: If you're importing from a platform such as Mailchimp, JustGiving or Virgin Money Giving, there may be a preset template ready to go!
You can then run your import and create the people all at once.