Maintaining Categories & Items


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Categories and their associated Items are designed for tracking the "one to many" relationships between your members and "whatever."  In other words, most fields only allow a single value, i.e., you can only enter one status, one occupation, one entry in a given custom field; but a member can be assigned any number of Items.

This provides a flexible way of tracking things members (or groups) may have more than one of, such as achievements, awards, officer positions, duties, pledges, etc.  They can be used very creatively to track all sorts of information.

Perhaps your organization presents various awards to its members. You could create a category called "Award" and items associated to it like, "Member of the Month", "Queen", "1st Place", "Top Bidder", "Most Valuable Player", "Record Sales", etc. Then when member "John" wins the "Top Bidder" award, you can open his record, go to the Items tab, and add an entry for the "Top Bidder" item.  If he also wins the "Record Sales" award a few months later, you can simply add another item under the category of "Award" for "Record Sales".  Any item can be added to any member/group any number of times.

Categories and Items are related to each other, so they are setup at once.  The maintenance window displays all categories, and the associated items for each.

Maintaining Categories

1Choose Tools > Dropdown Lists > Categories & Items.
2The Maintain Categories and Items window is divided into two halves. On the left are all Categories; on the right are all Items associated to the currently selected category.

 In the Category section, icons are available to Add, Open, or Delete any entry.

3If you choose to Add or Change an entry, the following fields are available:

 Category Name - The name of the category

 Available To - The type of records with which this category can be used.

 When changing an existing category, you cannot change the Availability if doing so would invalidate items that are associated to the category and assigned to membership or group records. For example, if the category was initially available to All Records, you cannot change the availability to be only Membership Records after it has been used on a group record, because the Item would become invalid. In other words, you can always increase the availability, but you can't decrease it once items for the category have been used on records.

 Sort Order - The ranking of this category within other categories. The sort order is used on the Assigned Items report. If no sort order is specified, the order is assumed to be 0 (zero). All categories with a sort of zero will sort alphabetically within themselves.

4If you choose to Delete an entry, that has associated Items, all of the associated Items will be deleted as well, and the items will likewise be deleted from all membership or group records to which they were assigned (see below).

Note: When setting Sort Orders, it is a good idea to use increments of 10, so you have room to add another entry within the list. For example, if you have three entries, sort them as 10, 20, 30, instead of 1,2,3. That way, a new entry can be inserted between the first and second by giving it a sort order of 15.

Maintaining Items

1If you are not already on the Maintain Categories and Items window, choose Tools > Dropdown Lists > Categories & Items.
2The Maintain Categories and Items window is divided into two halves. On the left are all Categories; on the right are all Items associated to the currently selected category.

 Select a Category first, then in the Associated Items section, icons are available to Add, Open, or Delete any entry.

3If you choose to Add or Change an entry, the following fields are available:

 Item Name - the name of the Item

 Sort Order - the ranking of this item within other items on the selected category. The sort order is used on the Assigned Items report. For example, if you use a category called Officers, you can use this option to ensure that the "President" item always prints above the "Vice President" item.

 Note: When setting Sort Orders, it is a good idea to use increments of 10, so you have room to add another entry within the list. For example, if you have three entries, sort them as 10, 20, 30, instead of 1,2,3. That way, a new entry can be inserted between the first and second by giving it a sort order of 15.

 Active - If you do not want the Item to be usable yet, clear the Active checkbox. An inactive item will not appear in the selection list when adding new items to a membership or group record. However, the item will still appear on any records that were assigned the item when it was still active.

 Comments - General comments about how the item is intended to be used. These comments only appear on this window and are for your own information. You might want to enter the date it was created, or your initials.

4If you choose to Delete an entry, that Item will be deleted from all membership or group records to which it is currently assigned (because the Item won't exist anymore). If you want an Item to remain on existing records, but not be available to other records, you should clear its Active checkbox instead of deleting it.

Configuring Additional Fields/Labels

With MemberTies Professional, when an item is assigned to a member or group record, a number of additional common fields can be made available.  These include another date field, two text fields, and two numeric fields. Each of these fields can have a name you define.

1If you are not already on the Maintain Categories and Items window, choose Tools > Dropdown Lists > Categories & Items.
2Click the "Field Labels" button to open the Maintain Item Field Labels window.

3The Maintain Item Field Labels window enables you to set the field label for each of the six special fields that are available when assigning items. By default, only the first date field is displayed, but you can select the "Show" option for each field you want to use, and give it a name.

 In the above example, the first date field was changed to "Awarded", and the two numeric fields to, "Points" and "Placement".

4When you are finished, click OK to save your changes.

 Here is what the New Item window looks like when assigning an item to a member record, using the newly named fields.