GabrielSoft Database Standards for Entering Family and Member Records

The guide included below contains all the fields available within the Family and Member Records along with best practices and suggestions for building and maintaining your Family and Member Records in your database.  

Download: Gabriel Database Standards for Family and Member Records (PDF)

A clean and up-to-date database is important to maintain and will serve you well when you need to reach out to your parishioners, create documents, labels, envelopes, and/or analyze specific parish data. If your data is well organized and the use of each field is consistent with each and every record, your database will provide you with insightful information about your parish.  Good data allows the Pastor, the Parish Office, Ministry Groups, and the Religious Ed Office to personalize their outreach to specific groups and/or individuals in their parish as well as save the parish time and money.  Below are some additional best practices to help you with maintaining your database.   

  • Keep your database complete by adding new information directly as you receive it. 
  • Create naming conventions and set up an internal process for maintaining your database and ensure all your team members understand this process and the standards that have been established for data entry. Having a standardized format for the data helps you generate accurate reports and filter records based on the exact criteria.  Many of our Diocesan customers have established their own guidelines that may be different then what is in our attached guidelines. Please contact your Diocese for any guidelines or procedures.
  • Data can come in from many different resources, returned mail notifications, member portal, a parishioner emails you updates, census update, Religious Education, church function registrations, etc. and can create difficulty in maintaining an up to date database.  Granting access to many users can create havoc in your database.  Limit access to only the data that is necessary for them to perform the tasks they were asked to do.  
  • Download: Registration of New Users and Parish Administrators Guide to User Security (PDF)
  • An effective time for cleaning up your database is after you do a parish-wide mailing or email blast. Refer to our Email Exception Report in your Report Library.  This report accepts a date range and produces a list of all email exceptions (undeliverable, deferred, unsubscribes, bounced) for all emails being sent from your Gabriel database.   
  • When it comes to maintaining a healthy database, consistency is key.  Doing little things as part of your regular day-to-day tasks will help you keep your parishioner information up-to-date.  Looking at it on a regular basis will ensure it doesn't become a massive task.
  • Consider using the Member Portal function.  This will allow your parishioners to update their own contact information saving the parish valuable resources. 
  • Spot-check your data from time-to-time by checking for empty address fields, invalid email addresses, Salutation fields are filled in correctly and consistently across all records.  This can be done by using the Family and Member Download function.
  • Review all your data for duplicate Family and Member Records Contact Customer Support to merge duplicate records.
  • When you call a parishioner and while you have the Family or Member record open and you find they don't have an email or phone number in their record take this opportunity to get up-to-date information. 
  • Use the Family Tags and Committees function to group-specific families and members together that you need to contact on a regular basis.  For example, create a group for families who receive the bulletin by mail and/or create ministry groups for members of your parish.

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