What are the best practices for storing couples and households? Currently, every contact is an individual and a household is created for couples and families only. This causes two undesirable outcomes.

1) When creating labels, if I select the 'merge all contacts of the same household' option, the children are also included in the label. I just want the parents.

2) When making PDF letters for all my contacts, I only want 1 letter per household but I end up with one for each spouse.

How do you avoid this situation?

2 Answers 2


We have been going over this a lot with my fundraising team, trying to find a happy medium. When generating labels or PDF letters for one per household, be sure to create labels with only households. Then, you can even create a smart group that consists of individuals that are also part of a household and exclude that group from the rest of the "individuals" mailing list so that you don't get labels with both households and the same people individually.

Every time someone proofs the labels for duplicate members of the household, they should mark it up and have someone change the data in the CRM to add them to a household.

  • This is not exactly adding to the answer, but might be very helpful for anybody dealing with households: This extension here provides some more userfriendly workflows, e.g. merging contacts directly from search results into households: github.com/systopia/de.systopia.householdmerge Commented Dec 13, 2016 at 18:17
  • You don't say what version of Civi you are running but if you are running 4.7.x the extension that Martin posted above doesn't work with 4.7.x. I wish it did though.
    – frTommy
    Commented Dec 13, 2016 at 20:55
  • @Christia, It is definitely a correct answer but not the one I was looking for. We already operate in a similar way. I was hoping there was an easier more streamlined way of doing this.
    – Yossi
    Commented Dec 14, 2016 at 4:36
  • If you create one smart group with all the parameters, then you don't have to do all the work moving forward, you just print labels from the smart group. The smart group would be set up to exclude other smart groups that you created, such as people that are also in a household.
    – Christia
    Commented Dec 14, 2016 at 18:26

It depends on why you're using households. If your only goal with householding is to avoid duplicate paper mailing, then I find that you don't need them at all, you can just use the export option to merge contacts with the same address. I used the household contact type early on but then stopped using them due to confusion and have never found a reason to use them since.

  • Some people need to use households in order to acknowledge members of a household as donors, by recording a contribution or soft credit to the household, even though the contribution itself was made by one person or another. We found that just making labels from a donor list wasn't inclusive enough.
    – Christia
    Commented Dec 13, 2016 at 22:32
  • Yes, agreed that there are valid use cases for households.
    – Alan Dixon
    Commented Dec 15, 2016 at 16:24

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