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Calculating Salutations/Names

Overview

The creation of standard, institutionally-specific salutations can be automated using the Rules Editor. With the ability to reference any data point associated with each person, as well as information associated with each records' relationships, salutation rules can dynamically update based on new or changing information associated with each individual record. 

For example, an institution may leverage the Head of Household designation to determine the order of spouse names within various name types. Detailed information about class years and other educational history details may be referenced within a salutation. 

Like other rules, an override can be created to handle exceptional cases where a donor or alumnus has indicated a preference that falls outside of the standard naming convention. Each individual salutation calculation consists of four primary elements:

  • Creating the Salutation Field - A custom field will need to be created to house the calculated salutation.
  • Creating the Salutation Override Field - This custom field will need to be created and should be set manually, as needed, on records where the conventional name calculation should not apply.
  • Creating the 'Do Nothing' Override Rule - This first rule within the two-rule exclusivity group will reference the override field indicating that the calculation should not apply to a particular record.
  • Creating the Salutation Calculation Rule - This rule will populate the salutation field based on a formula for how the salutation should be crafted.

The steps below outline how to create a single salutation calculation. To add additional names, repeat the four elements for each salutation.

Salutations Overview

Important!

Create Head of Household rules prior to the creation of salutation rules. By creating this designation first, the Head of Household value can be referenced when crafting custom name rules.

Creating the Salutation Field

The first step in creating a name calculation is the creation of a field to store the value of the calculated name. In this example, a Formal Salutation salutation is desired. To create the field:

  1. Click Database in the top navigation bar and select Fields.
  2. Click Insert.
  3. Enter the following configurations in the popup window:
    • Scope - Person
    • ID - Provide a computer friendly and intuitive name for this field, such as 'formal_salutation'
    • Name - Provide a human friendly and intuitive name for this field, such as 'Formal Salutation'
    • Value - Select 'Store Value'
  4. Click Save

Click the Slate Scholar Lightbulb    in the top left corner for a complete listing of all setting descriptions.

Creating the Salutation Override Field

There may be records that do not fall in line with the standard naming convention and require a manual override. To exclude these records from the future calculation, an override field should be created and subsequently set on each record that will be an exception to the calculation. To create this custom field:

  1. Click Database in the top navigation bar and select Fields.
  2. Click Insert.
  3. Enter the following configurations in the popup window:
    • Scope - Person
    • ID - Provide a computer friendly and intuitive name for this field, such as 'salutation_formal_override'
    • Name - Provide a human friendly and intuitive name for this field, such as 'Formal Salutation Override'
    • Prompt - Select 'bit' from the list
    • Value - Select 'Store Value'
  4. Click Save

Click the Slate Scholar Lightbulb    in the top left corner for a complete listing of all setting descriptions.

Creating the 'Do Nothing' Override Rule

Each unique salutation calculation will consist of two rules, both within the same exclusivity group. The order of rules within the exclusivity group is important as it determines which of the two rules will take affect on a record.

The first rule in the exclusivity group is a 'Do Nothing' rule. The purpose of this rule is to find all of the records where the 'Formal Salutation Override' field has been manually set and exclude them from the subsequent rule. To create this rule:

  1. Click Database in the top navigation bar and select Rules Editor.
  2. Click New Rule.
  3. Enter the following configurations in the popup window:
    • Name - Provide an intuitive name for the rule, such as 'Salutation - Formal (Do Nothing) [OVERNIGHT]' 
    • Base - Select 'Configurable Joins Library (Preview) - Person'
    • Type - Select 'Field'
    • Trigger - Select 'Upon Person Update (Overnight Processing)'
    • Folder - Create or place the rule in a folder, such as a 'Salutations' folder
    • Exclusivity Group - Create an exclusivity group for this first rule in the group of two rules. Provide a name such as 'Formal Salutation'
    • Non-deterministic - Select 'Rule is deterministic and has an exclusive priority'
    • Priority - Set the priority to '1'
    • Status - Set the status to 'Preview'
  4. Click Save.

  Tip

Create rules in the Preview status. After testing select records and being satisfied with the results, modify the status to Active.

With the rule initially created, the next step is to filter to find records that have the Formal Salutation Override field value set to 'Yes.' 

With these records identified, this rule can be configured with the selected action of No Action Rule. By selecting this action, Slate will skip the processing of other lower-priority rules within the same exclusivity group when the filter criteria has been met.

Formal_Salutation_Override_Rule.PNG

  Why upon overnight processing?

When crafting salutations rules, the calculated Head of Household field will often be referenced. If this rule were created on a 'Upon Update (Deferred)' basis, which is the same trigger as the Head of Household field, a record would need to have two updates in order to properly have both the correct head of household and name calculation.

Overnight processing allows, on a nightly basis, all records to be evaluated against any potential changes to a head of household status that took place during the previous day. 

Creating the Salutation Calculation Rule

The next rule in the exclusivity group is designed to set the custom salutation field value.

To start the rule:

  1. Click Database in the top navigation bar and select Rules Editor.
  2. Click New Rule.
  3. Enter the following configurations in the popup window:
    • Name - Provide an intuitive name for the rule, such as 'Salutation - Formal [OVERNIGHT]'
    • Base - Select 'Configurable Joins Library (Preview) - Person'
    • Type - Select 'Field'
    • Trigger - Select 'Upon Person Update (Overnight Processing)'
    • Folder - Create or place the rule in a folder, such as a 'Salutations' folder
    • Exclusivity Group - Place the rule in the same 'Formal Salutation' exclusivity group that was created for the Do Nothing rule.
    • Non-deterministic - Select 'Rule is deterministic and has an exclusive priority'
    • Priority - Set the priority to '5'
    • Status - Set the status to 'Preview'
  4. Click Save.

Within the Action section of the rule, configure the following settings:

  • Field - Select the custom 'Formal Salutation' field
  • Action - Select 'Replace Values from Formula'

Formal Salutation Initial Setup

The next step is the creating of a formula to appropriately apply institutional naming conventions to the record. This calculation and concatenations will occur within a subquery export. This single export will then be referenced within the Formula section using the '@' symbol. 

Formula Overview

To create the salutation:

  1. Select the subquery export icon and enter the following configurations in the popup window:
    • Name - Provide a computer friendly name that can be referenced in the Formula section of the rule, such as 'Salutation'
    • Type - Dependent subquery
    • Output - Concatenate
    • Row Separator - Leave blank
  2. Click Join to add a new join to the Relations Linked Persons and Self base. Select the category of relationships that are intended to be evaluated along with each person record (such as 'Spouse'). By referencing values off of this join, names can be calculated to include data from ones relationships.
  3. Add a filter from the Relations Linked Persons and Self base to limit the results of this subquery to just the Head of Household. 
  4. Add exports from the Relations Linked Persons and Self base for the parts of the name that should apply to the head of household (including any literals for spaces or other characters, as desired). 

Formal Salutation - Head of Household Part

At this point in the calculation, the head of household portion of the salutation has been created. For example, if Alexander Hamilton had previously been determined to be the head of household, the formula would populate the Formal Salutation to be (for both Alexander and Elizabeth Hamilton):

  • On Alexander Hamilton's record - Mr. Alexander Hamilton
  • On Elizabeth Hamilton's record - Mr. Alexander Hamilton

In this example of a Formal Salutation, however, there is a desire to have the prefix of the spouse be included in the name but only if a spouse record exists. Since the spouse part of the salutation is conditioned on a spouse's existence, a subquery export will be leveraged to return the spouse prefix.

To add the spouse component of the salutation:

  1. Click the Subquery Export icon and enter the following information in the popup window:
    • Name - Provide an easy to understand name for the export, such as 'Spouse Part of Salutation'
    • Type - Dependent subquery
    • Output - Concatenate
  2. Click Join to add a new join off of the existing Relations Linked Persons and Self base. This new join should reach out to another Relations Linked Persons and Self.

    Spouse Part of Relation

  3. Click Continue. Select the category of relationship that should be evaluated (e.g. Spouse). Rename the join to provide clarity, such as 'Not Head of Household.'

    Renaming and Selection of Join

  4. Add a filter from the 'Not Head of Household' join where the Head of Household value is in 'No.'
  5. Add exports from the 'Not Head of Household' join for the spouse part of the salutation and rename the exports as necessary for additional clarity. In the example below, the export "Prefix" was selected and the name was changed to "Spouse Prefix." Add any additional literals as desired, such as spaces and ampersands.

    Spouse Exports

  6. Click Save.
  7. The 'Salutation' export now includes the appropriate exports for both the head of household and their spouse, should one exist.

    Final Formal Salutation Export Values

  8. Click Save.
  9. In the Formula section of the rule, reference this subquery export with the '@' symbol.
  10. Click Save on the overall rule. 

  Key Takeaway

Any element of the name that may be conditional (such as the spouse's part of the salutation, a class year, a degree/major, etc.) should be within a filtered subquery export.

At this point, the Formal Salutation calculation is complete. In this example where Alexander Hamilton is the head of household, the Formal Salutation field would be populated as follows:

  • On Alexander Hamilton's record - Mr. & Mrs. Alexander Hamilton
  • On Elizabeth Hamilton's record - Mr. & Mrs. Alexander Hamilton

  Tip

Start outside of Slate. Ask key stakeholders questions to help determine how many names are necessary to the overall business process. Ask questions such as "Is there an opportunity for consolidation?" and "How would we handle a situation where X happens?" In many cases, keeping the process simple and straightforward will yield the best results.

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