The power of Shepherd’s Staff comes not only from its ability to keep and track data but also from the ability to find and report data. In order to get the most out of these abilities, it is imperative that you keep your data as consistent as possible. A few examples of why consistent data entry matters are shown below.
» Example 1: Say you need to set up a new room for where your church board meeting is going to take place. You could go ahead and create this new room, and call it Second Floor Meeting Room. However, before creating this new room, you may want to check first if you already have a room with this title. In this example, you have a room called 2nd Floor Meeting Room. The problem this can create is that with two records for the same room, you might inadvertently cause a scheduling conflict that Shepherd's Staff can't point out to you, because to Shepherd's Staff, these two room names are two separate rooms.
» Example 2: Another task that shows the value of using consistent data conventions is printing out mailing labels. On every Household record there are fields for label name styles. These are text fields containing data that has been typed in by a user. So the Smith household might have a style 1 label that says “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” and the Jones household might have one that just says “Bob and Mary.” Again, this could be fine until you run your mailing labels based on Label Name 1. At that point the Smith household label will look fine, but the Jones household label will not work because all it will say is “Bob and Mary” on the top line.
So by keeping your data consistent, you can see how it will save time down the line and also reduces confusion for volunteers and other employees that only use the software part of the time.
Tip: Making a list of these data conventions using a chart similar to the one below.