Searching for constituents, whether that’s individual, groups, or organizations, is one of the most fundamental actions you can perform in GAIL.

To perform a basic search, navigate to the constituents functional area from the blue bar across the top. Under the constituents section click the first link for constituent search. In the box that appears type the name of the constituent (firstname lastname for individuals) in the name/lookup ID field and the search button.

But what if you want to supercharge your search abilities? You don’t have to stop at a basic search! You can improve your results in just a few clicks with GAIL’s advanced search options.

Where are these Advanced Search Options?

When you open up the constituent search box, wedged below the search fields and above the results table is the phrase show advanced search options with two circled downward arrows.Click either the phrase or the downwards arrows to display these additional search options.

When you’re done making your advanced search option selections, you can hide these options by clicking hide advanced search options. Any option you selected will still be in effect even if it is hidden.

Which options should I use? Should I just check all of them!!?

Now that we’ve found these advanced options let’s go over what each of them does.

The very first row labeled search in allows you to pick which type of constituent (individual, group, organization) you would like to search for. If you’re only interested in individuals, for example, you can uncheck organizations and groups to return results that are only people.

Below is a chart of the remaining advanced search options. Whether you use them or not will often be situational. Some are super helpful and others you will more than likely never need. Read a description for each and find out which search options will work for you!

Advanced Search Option Description

☑  Check nickname

Sometimes the name you know a constituent by is not their legal given first name; individuals may, instead, go by a middle name or a nickname. You can use the check nickname option to tell GAIL to also search for the name you're looking for as if it were a nickname. It's recommended to leave this option checked as you may not always know that the name you are searching for is a nickname or not.

☑  Check aliases

On a constituent's personal info tab, there is a section for aliases. This is other names that the constituent may have taken at some point. The most common type of alias in GAIL is a married person's maiden name, but some people also have stage names or pen names here, too. Using the check aliases advanced search option will allow you to search for a person using their maiden (or stage) name.

☑  Check alternate lookup IDs

At the top of every constituent profile is something called a lookup ID. It's a unique number that GAIL assigns to every constituent and you can, instead of searching for someone by name, search for someone by typing in their lookup ID instead. In addition to lookup IDs, constituents may have other ID numbers listed under the personal info tab of their profile -- for example, alumni and students will have UGA's 81 number. If you wanted to search by a person's 81 number you use the check alternate lookup IDs advanced search option and type in that number (or any other types of ID numbers we have in GAIL) instead of the constituent's name.

☑  Check merged constituents

You will probably never need to use the check merged constituents option, so you can leave it unchecked.

When a duplicate profile is set up in GAIL by accident there will exist one constituent with two lookup IDs. To correct this, the profiles will be merged by the records team so that the constituent only has one profile: the duplicate is destroyed. If you know the lookup ID of the destroyed profile you can use it to search for the new merged profile by checking this option.

☑  Only search primary addresses

Y'know, you don't have to search by a constituent's name. You can search by entering an address in the address field too. When the only search primary addresses advance search option is checked and you search by address (instead of name) it will only show results if the address you entered is someone's primary address. If you want to search through all addresses (primary and non-primary) you can uncheck this option.

Note: If you uncheck this option and search by name instead of address you might get multiple search results for the same constituent. It's recommended to leave this option checked unless you're searching by address.

☑  Include deceased

By default, GAIL will not bring in constituents to search results that have been marked as deceased. If you need to find a deceased constituent, or can't find someone in GAIL and think they may have passed away, you'll need to use the include deceased option to pull them into search results.

☑  Include inactive

You will probably never need to use the include inactive option, so you can leave it unchecked.

Inactive constituents generally refers to organizations that have gone out of business and there is no future activity expected on those profiles. Or it could be that an individual that was set up in GAIL accidentally and so marked as inactive. To keep search results clutter-free, GAIL doesn't include these profiles by default unless you check this option.

☑  Include fuzzy search on name

Using the include fuzzy search on name will give you results for the name you entered as well as spellings and other names that are similar to that name. For example, if you're searching for a name "Hilary" it will also find the alternate spelling "Hillary" for you. You should only use this option when you get no search results; if you leave it on all the time, it will often give you far more results than is useful.

Do I have to select these options every time?

The advanced search options in GAIL are referred to as sticky. Whenever you select one it will stay selected until you come back and deselect it. This is useful as you don’t have to continually select options you regularly use.

It can also be confusing if you select or deselect something without realizing it and end up not getting the results you were expecting (or not getting any results at all). If you ever want to go back to the default search options, you can hit the clear button (under the search button) to reset all fields and search options and start over.