Many things influence the nature of a labor or community organizing campaign — the industry of the workers, the culture of the community, the goals of the campaign, and so on.
Broadstripes has been built for maximum flexibility, to allow you to capture and work comfortably with the enormous variety of data that goes along with these different organizing needs.
To take advantage of that flexibility, it helps to understand the different custom data tools the system contains, and the purposes for which they were intended.
Where does the data belong?
The first thing to do when setting up a new Broadstripes project is to figure out what data you need to capture about the workers to organize effectively. With any luck, you already have a pretty good take on this question through your organizing work or work with the organizers to date.
The question facing you is where does this data belong in Broadstripes? Here is a short list of the options:
- built-in fields: data items associated permanently with people or organizations. A complete list with some explanations is provided in the Built-in data article.
- turf structure: a customizable multi-level hierarchy intended to allow you to capture the way the organizers see the workplace (or “turf”). Turf structure can capture “shops,” “departments,” and “sub-departments,” or “buildings” and “floors,” or “cities” and “neighborhoods,” or almost any other hierarchical information you have about where people work.
- events: one of the most commonly-used custom data types in Broadstripes. Events allow you to create a group of checkboxes that capture the status of a particular action or activity in the campaign. Some events track info that is highly time-specific (like confirming that a worker will attend an organizing meeting), while others help organizers check off each step of common campaign activities (like getting cards signed and putting them on file). Each of the specific yes/no questions captured with a checkbox is called an “event step.” For instance, you might create an event named “Card” with steps named “Signed”, “On file”, and “Email sent.” Events can be single or multiple-choice, and, if you want, events can also be tracked in the contact timeline. You can learn about creating and working with events in the Events article.
- custom fields: data that is permanently relevant about the worker (such as “Shift” and “Issues of Concern”) is best captured in a custom field. Broadstripes allows you to create an unlimited number of text, numeric, date, true/false, and memo (longer text) custom fields. Custom fields can apply to people, organizations, or both. You can learn more about custom fields, how to create them, and how they differ from events in the Custom Fields article.
- external systems: special fields created for capturing unique IDs from other database systems. Their advantage over custom fields is that they can be used for record-level matching during data import and updates. Learn more in the External Systems article.
- attachments: if you have data files (images, PDFs) linked to your workers, they can be stored as attachments in Broadstripes.