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We are migrating our homemade contacts-management software under CiviCRM and Drupal and we have some questions about the use of households.

In our current software, we have less than 10 % of our contacts which are identified as being in couple. We need this household notion for:

  • grouping the contributions by household for statistics purpose,
  • optimizing the management of addresses and snail mail,
  • and in 3 or 4 % of the cases, to connect children with a household.

In the forums, some advise to create a household for each single individual so as to homogenize the management of the contacts and so facilitate the lists report. Others say that the simple management of the relationships can be enough and is simpler to manage.

(A very interesting post but may be not up-to-date : https://www.civicrm.org/blog/eileen/households-%E2%80%93-a-bit-of-an-audit)

We are afraid that the first option increases the problems of duplicates : duplicates for the contacts and duplicates for households, and of the blow more time consuming for merging. And the merging will be more complex to.

Same thing for creation, even if solutions to automate seem to exist : Has anyone come up with an easy way to enter a household, the members, create the relationship, share the address, etc.?

In the light of your experiences of using Civi, do you think that, for our case, setting the option to manage households is a good solution or should we simply manage relationships?

For those who took the option to manage households, what types of complications did you meet and how did you solve them?

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We are a church and use Households to hold the address and to aggregate contributions.

We use the extension https://github.com/PalanteJon/coop.palantetech.module.automaticsoftcredit to automatically create soft credits to the household for all individual contributions. In my opinion this is how Civi should work out of the box (rather than allowing a household to make a contribution it should only aggregate the contributions of all the members of the household) I think the Household should simply be a container for data within Civi and that's how we treat it.

I wish, as Eileen points out on her blog post, that there was an easy way for an individual to update a shared address through profiles or manage their shared addresses.

We do create a household for all contacts even singles.

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I normally set up a Drupal webform to make adding a household, and everyone in it, and the various relationships a lot easier. The webform can be used by staff and volunteers to make data entry easier.

In my experience, there tends to be mixture of individuals connected to households, and individuals not connected to households. There are a number of searches/reports that aggregate data at the household level as needed (and can deal with singles in the same report.) For example: https://civicrm.org/extensions/aggregate-household-contributions-report and https://civicrm.org/extensions/family-friendly

Even if the staff/volunteers always creates households, singles end up in the database anyhow when people register for an event or donate money via a contribution page.

FYI: You should also check out the extension: https://civicrm.org/extensions/household-tools

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