University Advancement Intranet

Constituency Groups

Constituency Groups
Controlling Contact
Group Lookup
Requesting Codes
Updating and Maintaining Codes

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Constituency Groups

Q: What are Constituency Groups?

A:  We refer to seven types of Advance records as Constituency Groups. They are groups of entities that UW as an institution relates to all in the same way for a given purpose. For instance, a group of people on a certain mailing list need to all be sent the same mailings at the same time, and people on a certain committee need to all be invited to the same meetings at the same time with the same advance agenda sent to them.

The seven types of Constituency Group records in Advance are:

  • Activities – Events sponsored by a UW unit. Examples: ESPA-Peace Corp Signing 2000, ICA-Donor Walk of Fame
  • Awards and Honors – Awards or honorific titles given either by a UW unit or non-UW affiliated group. Examples: Gates Volunteer Service Award, Nobel Prize
  • Committees – Groups such as advisory boards or volunteer teams, convened by a UW unit, which entail an ongoing period of membership or service. Examples: UWB-UW Bothell Advisory Board, UW Board of Deans
  • Interests – Hobbies or avocations. Examples: Astronomy, Golf, Wine
  • Mailing Lists – Mailing lists can be used for mailing, but are normally used to capture contact preferences, or groups of people who may have nothing else in common. Examples: College of Engineering Graduation Speakers, Friends of International Studies, Exclude from Donor Listings in Publications.
  • Sport – Intermural sports team participation while attending UW. Examples: Golf – Women, Tennis – Men
  • Student Activities – Groups or activities participated in while entity was a student. Examples: Airforce ROTC, ASUW, Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society

The groups are are part of people’s history of relationship with the UW. The data itself can be used to generate mailing labels or to seed another group.  For instance, you could use the list of Activity Participants to seed a Mailing List for a newsletter, then generate mailing labels for the newsletter by requesting that mailing list in an ad hoc report request.

Q: How can I be trained to use Constituency Groups?

A: Click here to sign up for the Constituency Group Power Users class. There is one e-learning module which will take no more than 15-30 minutes, and then a 90-minute class in the training room at UW Tower.

Q: What are Constituency Groups used for once they’re in Advance?

A: Plenty! Here’s a non-exhaustive list.

  • Tracking event attendance from year to year
  • Event overhauls: cost benefit analysis, retargeting
  • Ready-made populations for contact and discovery purposes
  • Affiliation codes
  • Broad-based engagement metrics
  • Data-based prospect discovery (called Business Intelligence, or “data mining”)

Note that departments within Central Advancement are also using your codes to further identification of new prospects (for your group!), as well as other kinds of research.

Q: We have a project we want to use Constituency Groups for. Where do we go for help?
A: Contact We will discuss your business needs and help you come up with the easiest, most efficient route.

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Controlling Contact with Constituency Groups

Q: How can I use Constituency Group codes to help control how and when our constituents receive or are excluded from contact by the UW?

A:  There are several broad tiers of contact control, which are detailed on this page. You can send constituent requests for contact or exclusion from types of contact to and the ATS staff will configure the proper codes to achieve the closest match possible to the request being made.

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Constituency Group Lookup

Q: How can I view all members of a particular Constituency Group?

A: Use the Advance Lookups.  Choose one of the following templates:  Bio – Activity Participant, Bio – Committee Participant or Bio – Mailing List, and choose the applicable list code.

Or, here is an alternate method.

  1. Close all tabs except the home page tab.
  2. Click the binoculars for the lookup page.
  3. Click Biographic and then the kind of code you are looking for, e.g. “Activities.”
  4. In the dropdown box on the lower half of the page, next to “Activity” (or whatever kind of code you are looking for), choose the description of the code you want to look at.
  5. Click “search.” Note: you may need to choose a different kind of output if your list is very long. If that is the case, you will have a dialogue page that will allow you to choose.

Q: How can I find all my department’s Constituency Groups?

A: At the moment we do not have a user process for finding all codes for a department or unit. But if you write to and ask for a list, we can make one and send it to you.

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Requesting Codes

Q:  How can I request a new Constituency Group code for my Mailing List, Committee, Event, etc.?

A:  Request a new code using the Request for Constituency Group form.  It will then be possible to use the code yourself for maintaining a list or through questions on the form, work with ATS to create and maintain the group membership.

Q: The description for my new code doesn’t look like what I asked for. What gives?

A: There are a couple of reasons why a description might look different.

  1. We add a unit “tag” at the beginning of each description to make sure that your unit’s codes will all be next to each other in the dropbox lists in Advance. That makes your codes a lot easier to find! For example, let’s say we get a request from UW Libraries for an event called “Literary Voices 2014”, the description will be “LIBR-Literary Voices 2014.” If your tag is causing you problems, or if your unit’s tag is inconsistent across codes, please contact us. We will be happy to change or fix any tags.
  2. Also, we have only so much space for the description. Most of the time we can fit succinct descriptions in the blank, but if your event has a long name, we may have to abbreviate or cut words. If you don’t like how we abbreviated any of your codes’ descriptions, please contact us!

Q: Can code descriptions be changed?
A: Yes! Please contact us at and tell us which description needs to be changed. Please note that we may not have enough room for the description you want, but we will do our best.
Q: The code we wanted isn’t available. What can we do?
A: Usually, when a code isn’t available, we make up another one which (we hope) is close enough to the one you wanted. If we do that and you don’t like what we picked, let us know and we may be able to make a change.

It may help to know that the code itself has no actual meaning. Your code could be “12345” or “ZGFLX” and it would still work fine. But random codes like that are hard to remember, so we do our best to use combinations of letters that have to do either with the list itself or the unit that requested it.
Q: I requested an Activity code of “DEANC” but I got “DCA14.” What happened?
A: For events in particular, we try to include the two-digit year in the code. Many events happen over and over each year, so having the two-digit year as part of the code makes it easy to keep codes for the same event together.

In other words, if you have a Dean’s Club event every year, you can request a new code for next year with the same letters but a different two-digit year. Using the example of “DCA14,” you will subsequently get “DCA15,” “DCA16,” etc., which will make it very easy to find all your Dean’s Club events in Advance.

It is also possible that the code you wanted was already taken. When that happens, we try to use another one that is close to what you wanted.

Q: We want to look at all our event attendees at once. Why do we get a new code for each occurrence of a yearly event?

A: We treat each event as one discrete occurrence because of the participation codes.

If someone doesn’t go to an event one year, the participation code will be either “I” for invited or “RN” for RSVP No. But the next year, the same person might attend the event, and for that instance the code should be “P” for participated. If we have only one Activity code for that event, we can have only one participation code: that leaves us with no way to accurately represent someone’s attendance over the years.

Having one code per event also means that event codes don’t have to be maintained over time. So creating more codes actually means less work overall.

When you want to see all your attendees for a certain event over the years, use Population Chooser or Michelangelo to create a downloadable, customized list. (You can add any other available information you want, too!)

Q: I have a code already. Where can I send my list of people to be coded?

A: This document includes a link to our secure dropbox, where you can upload your list.

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Updating and Maintaining Codes

Q: Are Constituency Groups updated automatically?

A: No. we rely on the lists we receive from our users for Constituency Group coding. If you requested a code and you’re wondering why it hasn’t made it onto anybody’s record yet, it could be that we never got a list of people to be coded. (For help with getting your list of people coded, please see below under “How do I add a Constituency Group code to a large number of entity records?”)
Q: What are our Constituency Group maintenance responsibilities?

A: Maintenance depends on the code and its purpose.

  • Activity (event) codes will usually not need maintenance, because once the event is over nothing about it will change.
  • If you have an Awards & Honors code, you will probably want to either code your new awardees, or send them to us for coding, each successive time that the award or honor has been given out.
  • Mailing List maintenance will vary depending on each code’s purpose. For example, if your unit has a “VIP” code for people who are not quite prospects yet, you may wish to add or delete people depending on their status.
  • For Student Activity codes, you will want to code or send each new year or quarter’s participants.
  • Committee codes can be changed as the committee’s membership is changed.

Q: How do I add a Constituency Group code to a large number of entity records?

A: You have two choices.

If you would like us to code them for you, refer to this document for instructions on how to upload your list to our secure dropbox.

If you have taken the Constituency Group Power Users class, you can use the Mass Add utility in Advance. This document provides directions.

Q: We checked the “Spouse Attending” box on the entity records for our event attendees, but the spouses aren’t coded. Why not?

A: The “Spouse Attending” box can be used internally to identify entities whose spouses attended events. However, checking the box does not automatically add an Activity code to the spouse’s record in Advance. If you have a list of spouses to be coded, please upload it to our dropbox for coding. We can also quickly pull all the spouses and add them, so if that is what you need, let us know.

Q: How can I get the dropbox link?

A: It is in the email you received from us when you requested your Constituency Group code, and it’s also in this document. If neither of those options work for you, you can contact us at at

Q: We have an old code that we’re not using. Can it be deleted?

A: Yes! Please contact us at and tell us which code you want to archive, and why.

Q: We have an old code we want to revamp. How do we do that?
A: Contact and tell us what kinds of changes you want to make. We’ll be glad to help.

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