We would like to use Constant Contact for our School PTA but are wondering how to set up this scenario. Child A has an email address (that of Parent A). Their sibling Child B (in a different grade) has the same email address (that of Parent A). Some communications are school wide (should go to both children) but some are grade specific (should only go to child in that grade). Since Constant Contact uses email as their unique key - how do I set up these two separate students.
Setting up the parent as the unique contact and then custom fields with each child will not work for us as some families have 4-5 children in the school and we don't know the parent linkage (systematically) - we'd have to somehow manually go through every single record and somehow determine all of the parent's children.
Is there not some way to use something else as a key field - such as combination of child's name + email address? Is there some other solution we are missing?
I just want to double check. Is it important that the recipient is addressed by the specific child's name? As in "This message is intended for [Insert Child B's Name]'s Parent" or is it more, "This message is intended for parents of all Fourth Graders?"
The custom field would be useful for addressing someone specifically or for data management, but if it's just that Child B is receiving general Fourth Grade messages, then just having the email address in a Fourth Grade-designated list would be enough. So for example, if they have a Fifth Grade child and a Fourth Grade child, the email address can be in both lists. When you send out school-wide emails and have selected both lists, the system will automatically only send to the email address once, even though it's on both lists.
I feel, though, I haven't quite hit the nail on the head with what you're looking for. I'm curious, how is the email address collected? Is there a form that parents fill out for each child, they put their email on it, and then someone puts it on a spreadsheet and uploads it into a grade-specific list? Knowing that might spark some ideas on how to solve it. I know you said custom fields would not work because you can't always tie the parent to the child, per se, but understanding the collection and upload process might help with solving the issue.
Thanks for the thorough reply and explanation of the thought process. I agree with you conceptually - just trying to figure out the best way to get to that end point. It's not that important that we address the child by name - just generally by grade. However, occasionally we might use this to look up a child to find out who their parent/email is - but that's a minor need.
We receive the data en masse each year in an excel spreadsheet where each row is a student and then in that row we can have between 1 and 5 email addresses. But for now we can just solve for one email address. The issue comes up with siblings so in our excel sheet we may have 3 rows (3 different students who are all siblings in different grades) and they all have the same email address (these are elementary students so we have a parent email). Grade is also a value on their excel row. So an example of 3 rows I might have are:
If I uploaded these 3 records as is, my understanding is I would end up with one constant contact record with the name and grade of whichever record is the final one processed. At a minimum what I need to end up with is a constant contact record with mamasmith email and then either tags for each grade they are in, or mamasmith to be in 3 different lists, one for each grade she has kids in. If we can get the kids names in too, great - but I could live without it if I can just tie the parent to grades in as automated a way as possible.
I'm trying to figure out the quickest way to do this without having to go one by one through each record and tagging each grade they are in before import. Truly appreciate any insight or advice you can provide. I'm quite adept at Excel so don't mind doing some pre-clean up work to the sheet before uploading if necessary - just trying to avoid the one record at a time.
In all honesty, if you have multiple students under a single email address, then the best methodology is going to require a reworking of the file upload. You'll need to set up separate custom fields for multiple children (e.g. Child 1 First Name, Child 1 Last Name, Child 2 First Name, etc.) From there, you'll need to rearrange the file to have the email address be the main point of each contact, then have the children's names added alongside it. An example of how it might look in a spreadsheet is:
For parents and guardians that want to receive separate emails regarding their children, they'd need their own individual email addresses to denote unique contacts, then have the children's names and other details included for each. Ultimately, siblings are what will likely cause the most work as far as reconfiguring the spreadsheet. Unfortunately, since email addresses are what denote a unique contact in our system for Compliance and billing, there isn't really an alternative way that the contacts can be setup for multiple children under a single email.