Creating Complex Filters

How to use filters to create segments of contacts

Updated over a week ago

Once you’ve mastered the skill of building filters to pull the information you need, you can start to build more complex filters and pull more specific information in your reports. We’ll go over the most common options below.

Using "All" and "Any"

You can also broaden or narrow the results of your searches by using the “all” or “any” options with your filter. This is most commonly used if you have multiple “conditions,” or criteria, for searching, that you’re trying to use together within a filter.

If you select “all,” that means that the results of your filter will only reflect the donors or transactions that meet all of the conditions listed in the filter.

If you select “any,” that means that the result of your filter will reflect any donors or transactions that fit at least one of those conditions – but doesn’t necessarily meet all of the listed conditions.

You can switch between the two options by clicking the small drop-down menu and selecting the appropriate option.

Using "Groupings"

Groupings are a way in Donor Management where you can create complex filters – often, filters that might need to use both “all” and “any” at the same time.

You can add a grouping by clicking on the “Add a Grouping” text, located above the blue “search” button.

Adding a grouping creates a sort of “parentheses” around a specific set of conditions, which will be run first; then, other conditions will be run with the results of that first set of conditions.

Sound confusing? Think back to your Algebra 101 class, when you learned about the order of operations. It’s a similar concept here – you're running the filter’s conditions in a specific order, with one set of the conditions being run first.

Here’s an example:

This filter is first looking for someone who donated to a specific campaign (“Build a New Park in the Midwest”) OR who belongs to a specific group (“Face Characters”). The filter is then looking for those individuals who fit that previous condition – AND who hasn’t donated since January 1, 2021.

In other words, this filter is looking for someone who falls into one of these categories:

  • Someone who is in the “Face Character” group, AND has not donated since January 1, 2021.

  • Someone who has donated to the “Build a New Park in the Midwest” campaign, AND has not donated since January 1, 2021.

  • Someone who is in the “Face Character” group, AND who has donated to the “Build a New Park in the Midwest” campaign, AND who has not donated since January 1, 2021.

Using "Equals" vs. "Contains"

When building conditions for your filter, you often will have the option to select either “equals” or “contains” in the middle drop-down menu.

Selecting “equals” means that your filter will search for the exact specific information you’ve input as a search term ONLY. Selecting “contains” instead means that your filter will search for any instances of this information - even if it doesn’t match exactly.

It’s crucial that you select the correct option for your specific filtering needs – otherwise, you can run the risk of obtaining false search results.

Here’s a quick example – this filter is searching for any contact records with a full name that contains the word “Disney.” You’ll notice that there are six contact records that have the word “Disney” somewhere within their full name (or an organization’s name).

Now, if we look at the same filter with one change – we replace “contains” with “equals” - you’ll see that there are now 0 results. This means that none of the contact records is named “Disney”, with no additional words, names, or characters included.

It’s especially important to pay attention to the difference between these two options when you’re using particular custom fields – such as those that lets you select multiple options for that custom field, like checkboxes.

Think of if this way – perhaps you have a custom field you’ve built to indicate if a contact is a board member prospect, current board member, or past board member. If they fit one of those criteria, then it would be marked by a checkbox on their donor profile.

But what if a board member prospect then becomes a current board member – and both checkboxes are checked off?

If you were to create a filter and use “equals” to find someone listed as a board member prospect, the results would only include those contacts where “board member prospect” is the only box checked off. If someone has the board member prospect checked off, but also has another box checked off – your filter won’t include that contact, and your results might not be accurate.

Conversely, if you use “contains” to find contacts who have “board member prospect” checked, the results WILL include anyone who has that box checked – even if there are other boxes checked as well.

This is especially important, because we know that sometimes that kind of data isn’t consistently updated (which is understandable – you've got plenty on your plate already!).

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