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Segmentation and Movement Best Practice

Implementing a movement and segmentation routine for participant engagement, activity level, participant type, congregation, parish, or any other automated process for categorizing individuals is one of the most valuable tools to have in your arsenal.

When I first became a Ministry Platform administrator, at the church where I was a SPoC, Participant Types were a mess. There were over twenty categories, none were mutually exclusive, and no one agreed on the definition of any of them. This issue was further compounded by the fact that Participant Type was being used to measure two completely separate ideas: Membership Status and Activity/Engagement Level. Keep in mind this was circa 2012-2013 and a lot has changed about Ministry Platform since then!

What to do? Here are my recommendations for best practices when implementing any sort of movement and segmentation routine.

1. Separate categories for separate concepts. Participant Type became Membership Status and a new Activity Level field was added to measure level of church involvement.

2. Clearly defined, mutually exclusive categories. If you aren't sure where to start, five is a good number of categories to aim for. Here is what I implemented when I was a SPoC. It is important that the categories be such that a person only qualifies for one category.

Supporting - other activity in past 90 days (e.g. response to opportunity)

Participating - in a group, attended an event, gave a donation in past 90 days

Engaging - in a small group, on a ministry team, gave 3+ gifts in past 90 days

Lapsing - no activity 90 days

Inactive - no activity 180 days

3. Automation. Write a nightly stored procedure to handle the movement. Set it and forget it.

4. Communication. Make the definitions available to your staff in a clear, concise document posted somewhere easily accessible.

According to Wikipedia, this is the definition of mutually exclusive:

In logic and probability theory, two events (or propositions) are mutually exclusive or disjoint if they cannot both occur at the same time. A clear example is the set of outcomes of a single coin toss, which can result in either heads or tails, but not both.

What are your suggestions for movement and segmentation?

Update: As of June 2019, Ministry Platform now has separate Member Status field and a standard Participant Engagement routine. Be sure to stay up-to-date on the latest at the Think Ministry Knowledge Base.


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