I am very new to this, and am a user and work for a charity and have very little experience in this field and would really appreciate some advice! I want to print labels to post invitations to all our donors who we do not have an email address for. So I made a search with email address "empty" and postal address "not empty". However, if we have an email address for a husband, the mail label will still print for the wife as she has her own separate record. Does anyone know how to avoid this? I have tried editing the criteria for the search but you can't seem to search on relationships. Thanks so much Louise

4 Answers 4


Two things:

  • if you want to only send one e-mail to a couple in a relationship who prefer to share an e-mail - whether husband/wife, married LGBT couples etc - create a new Household and add both to it, add the shared e-mail address to the Household and search Contacts in that household without an e-mail address but a postal address - like this in Search Builder -

Household Name IS NOT EMPTY ...AND... Email IS EMPTY '' ...AND... Contact Type - 'Household' .

  • I would prefer to have an e-mail for each of a husband and a wife, each of two married partners of any gender, etc - I have my wife and I in Civi with our own separate e-mails and we are also linked to the same Household. Sending to both e-mails or just a shared e-mail for a contribution ask depends of course on the couple's preference.
  • I think creating a household is the way civi was "designed" but to my knowledge that has to be done automatically or some code has to do it. IMO Creating a household for everyone is a chore that often gets overlooked and turns to messy data :( May 13, 2015 at 3:29
  • Actually, creating a Household is just like creating a new Contact - then you link the Household members in each Contact's Relationship tab. Tedious if you're doing a bunch manually, sure, but doable. May 14, 2015 at 18:20
  1. Use the search builder to find contacts where email is null. Add the results to a smart group called No emails
  2. Go to Advanced search
  3. In Basic Criteria, set Group(s) to No emails
  4. In Address, set Street Address to %
  5. In Relationships, set Relationship Type to Spouse/Partner and Target Contact(s) in Group to No emails
  • I tried this first as it seemed the simplest but i kept getting an error message saying - Sorry but we are not able to provide this at the moment. DB Error: no such field Return to home page.??? May 15, 2015 at 10:05
  • Maybe try where email is NULL rather than empty. I've tested on 4.6.2 and it's working as expected for me.
    – Nicholai
    May 15, 2015 at 16:55

Could you try with the Relations tab in Advanced Search? If you select Advanced Search, you can click the tab Relations open and you can then search on any contacts that have an active relation to their spouse? That does not immediately solve your problem but you could separate the problematic cases from the other ones?

  • thanks - yes i can find all the people with spouse relationship - and export the data to an excel spreadsheet and then sort to see who has an email, and who has an address, but i feel there must be an easier way to do this within the system - but maybe not?! May 15, 2015 at 10:08
  • Apparently not :-) May 15, 2015 at 10:40

What you are looking for is a common denominator, something a particular group has in common in order to include or exclude them.

One method: If you use the Membership feature and you want only one mailing to go to one spouse, then you can include in your address search the field in the Advanced Search> Memberships> Primary Member? choose "Yes" to arrive at one address for the two related contacts. You can then mark this group (tag, activity, etc.) in order to know which ones received the postal mailing.

  • great suggestion, but should not require membership feature. (as you noted.) May 13, 2015 at 3:30

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.