Fixing Duplicate Members

As I was looking up some information on our auction website, I noticed several 'duplicate' members so I added a feature to help clean them up.

This can happen when a check-in volunteer doesn't find someone who might have been entered with a slightly different spelling or name than they expected and re-adds them or is inconsistent from year-to-year assigning a paddle to various family members.

For example: "Viki Smith" vs "Vikki Smith" vs "Victoria Smith" vs "Vicky and Dan Smith" ...etc - you can see how it might get tricky if they just search by one spelling or another, it might miss the others. So from year-to-year, there might be variations in who gets the paddle, and make checking history difficult.

So, to help 'clean up' duplicates, I added a "Duplicate Members" report to help identify members with the same phone numbers, and a "Move" feature to move all Purchases and Payments from one member's statement to another member ID. This feature is only available if you view a statement while logged in as admin. It's a small "Move" link on the statement between purchases and donations. When clicked, it opens a form asking for the numeric member ID of the person to move purchases and payments to. (You can find member Ids by searching on the paddle screen). There is an 'Are you sure?' pop-up, then it takes you to the statement you moved everything to. (If that statement already had some purchases and/or payments, they will be combined). Note that it only does one year's worth at a time. Also, there is no undo (you can move everything back, but that's only an un-do if the target member was empty). Once you have moved all content (purchases, payments, and donations for all years) from a (duplicate) member, they can be deleted from the contact info screen (be sure not to loose emails - if you aren't sure, it's ok to list several with commas - it will try to use them all so if some are invalid the other(s) will work).

To delete someone, you don't remove them from the spreadsheet; instead, you use the paddle screen to search by last name and you'll see them both appear. Decide which one you want to keep (maybe one has email and the other doesn't).
Click each name to open their statement. From there, use the "Contact Info" link to see the address and email. This is also the page where you have a big "Continue" button and a smaller "Delete this member" button off to the right side - you'll only see it if you are logged in as admin, not just volunteer. That's how you can permanently remove the member you don't want to keep. If they have donated items, purchases (sales) or payments FOR ALL AUCTION YEARS, it will delete those too so be careful.

Be careful when deleting members (delete button is smaller button near save on member contact info screen, only visible if logged-in as admin) to check all years to make sure they have no items (esp with sales) - if you delete a member with items, it will permanently remove the items and their sales from other members' statements too. So if you are consolidating duplicate members, use the move item/sales features first to make sure the one you are getting rid of is really empty.

I just used this move feature on my own statement - when my wife registered, she got a paddle and bid on everything for both of us - then later, as we are getting email reminders, I noticed I wasn't getting them - that's because it's all under her name only versus the joint member Id we've used the last several years that has both emails on it.

(To recap, this is typically how we do it - each person might have some individual donations (she gave some items, I gave my motorcycle ride) as well as some joint items (we gave a few dinners jointly even though she does most of the work). So in our case that's three member ids with three corresponding statements all with the same phone number (note you can switch among them with links to 'your other statements' at the bottom of each statement). Then, we only get a bidding paddle for the joint one, and we look at the statements for the other two later to see who got our services.

I've had a feature in there for a while now to move a donated item from one member to another member for cases like this (It's on the item edit screen at the bottom and works similarly using a member Id you enter), so this new feature does the same thing now for purchases and payments after they have been recorded. Note the paddle number used on the sale entry screen to locate the member and record the original sale is not permanently associated with the sale, so there is no requirement that either member have a paddle number assigned. Sales, like payments, can also be recorded from the statement page (we use that feature for 'after-auction' sales so that no paddle number is needed.

For families, that's probably not too hard, but sometimes unrelated folks want to cooperatively offer items (Dinners usually) too - what I suggest is either to create a new member listing all donors, or pick a 'leader' and have them offer the item with a nod to the others in the item name and/or description - either way works fine.