Aristotle Support

Focus On: Database Maintenance

Article ID: 796
Last updated: 07 Mar, 2010

Focus On: Database Maintenance      


Welcome to our Focus On series. In this series of e-mail tutorials, we will show you a few overlooked features in our system. We encourage you to print this document to follow along through the lessons.


Tutorial: Database Maintenance


Database Maintenance is not something we like to think about. It’s probably doesn’t top our to-do list, especially when we’re in crisis mode trying to solve the world’s problems. However, when the short spurts of downtime do arrive, simple database maintenance will prevent headaches in the future.


In this tutorial, you will learn:

Lesson 1: Combining Duplicates

Lesson 2: Code Clean-up

Lesson 3: Making Categories Inactive

Lesson 4: Users and User Info

Lesson 5: Internal Procedures and Training


Lesson 1: Combining Duplicates  


In order to use the Mass Combine Duplicates tool, you must have the access permission level of Edit for Individuals/Organizations and Other Financial.


The Mass Combine Duplicate Tool allows you to search for all duplicate records in the system without having to search for a specific name. This is a great way to do a general check-up on your data.


To combine duplicates in your system, go to System àCombine Duplicates.


Important: I do not recommend selecting Automatic Removal of Duplicates. This will automatically combine duplicates without the human check. This is a permanent choice and can not be undone.

On the Find and Combine Duplicates page, you have several options.


Method: This is the way you want to search for duplicates in your system.

  • By Name & Address will only give you Individuals whose names are similar and addresses match.

  • By Name & Phone Number will give you individuals whose names are similar and phones match.

  • By Name & Email will give you individuals whose names are similar and emails match.

  • By Name Only will give you individuals whose names are similar.


Records Added Today Only: This checkbox allows you check only today’s records against pre-existing records.


Exact Name Matches: This can be combined with any method to use only exact names when checking.


Select the options you wish to use and click the Search button. If you have any matching records, those names will appear. Each name is a hyperlink which can be clicked on to view the record. Check the Combine checkbox to combine duplicate records and then click the Combine & Next button to move on to the next page. Once all duplicates have been viewed, you will see a page that there are no further duplicates to view.


Lesson 2: Code Clean-up


In order to add and delete codes, you must have an access permission of Edit for Individuals/ Organizations.


The Codes Manager isn’t just for adding codes. It’s a good idea to review your codes and to make sure you’re still using them and that they are valid to your committee.


To look at your codes, go to Management àCodes. This will show you all the codes that exist in your system.


You may be using some codes and not using others. Reviewing your code count can help you determine if this is a code you want to exist in the system or one that is no longer in use.

Review your code counts:

  1. Under Codes, click on Show Code Counts.

  2. This will display a general count for all your codes.


Some codes may not be used because the description is too vague or very restrictive. Once you have determined you wish to delete a code, simply click the X to delete. However, once you delete a code, it is permanent and can not be undone. It will be erased from the database and if there are any records coded with that code, that code will be deleted permanently from their record.


Also, we recommend reviewing your descriptions. Many times codes can not be fully utilized because only one person on the committee can translate them.



Descriptions should be used to fully elaborate the code abbreviation. This way, anyone can understand what codes should be applied to a record.



To change the descriptions, simply put your cursor in the description area and type. When you are finished, click Save at the top.


Codes are one of the best ways to utilize your database. Spending some time cleaning up unused codes and modifying vague codes will be well worth it.


Lesson 3: Making Categories Inactive


In order to make categories inactive, you must have an access permission of Edit for Other Financial.



Like codes, we encourage you to review your categories and make sure that they a decipherable to the rest of the committee.


Unlike codes, many categories have a shelf life. Categories can be used for particular fundraisers but once those fundraisers have passed, there is little use for them.


To remove categories from the drop down menu that appears in financial transactions area but not remove them from the system, you will want to make them inactive.


To make a category inactive:

  1. Go to Management àCategories.

  2. In the Categories Manager, find the category you wish to make inactive.

  3. Check the Inactive checkbox to make Inactive. Click Save at the top.


Making categories inactive is completely reversible as well. If you decide later that you want that category to appear in the dropdown menu in financial transactions again, simple uncheck the box and click Save at the top.


Like codes, you will want to come up with naming conventions that are used by everyone in your committee, every time. This can be like 2005-03-07 Fundraising Mailer, instead of July Fundraising Event. This can cut down on confusion and give you a streamlined database.


Lesson 4: Users and User Info


In order to modify user information, you must have Standard Administrative Privileges.


Keeping your Users and User Info up-to-date is one of the most important things you can do for your campaign. Each user should have his/her own log-in and password. Yes, even interns and volunteers! Once a staff member leaves the campaign, you should delete them from the system.


To delete users:

  1. Go to System àUsers

  2. Click Modify next to the User Name.

  3. Click Delete at the top of the user record.


To add users:

  1. Go to System àUsers

  2. Click Add a User.

  3. Complete the information, access permission and click Save at the top.


Periodically checking the User Info is also important. The email and phone number of a user is transmitted to us when you are looking for help. If you send us an email through our system (Help àContact Support), the information we use to get in touch with you regarding your support issue is the information you provided in the User Profile. If that information is out of date, it can take much longer to reach you on your issue.


For security and for support, updated user information can make a difference.


Lesson 5: Internal Procedures and Training


We can’t tell you how to run your campaign. However, we can suggest some internal procedures that we’ve learned over the years that can make your life a lot easier.


  1. Everyday Use. Okay, we know this can be a hard one. It is much easier to add a contribution in the day you receive it than to wait until right before your report is due. Not only will this make you more familiar with the system but there isn’t the crisis crunch time that it associated with so many support call melt downs.

  2. Training. We understand that not all new staff members have a training with However, new staff need to know what you find important. If you a diligent in coding and a new staff member doesn’t know what a code is, you’re probably losing important data. Spend some time showing them how to link spouses and add affiliations. This can give you better, more complete data in the long run.

  3. Periodic Review. Spend some time going through your system. Clean-up your duplicates, review your codes, and talk with your staff on what they want to see added. Spending some time on the same areas each month prevent them from becoming issues in the future.

  4. Designate an administrator. Making someone responsible for the maintenance of the database ensures that these things actually get done. Plus, making a contact person for new staff members ensures that everyone knows what’s going on.



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Article ID: 796
Last updated: 07 Mar, 2010
Revision: 1
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