Archive and Thrive!

The spring months have been traditional times of "spring cleaning"—a term that refers to the yearly act of cleaning a house from top to bottom in the spring after the long winter months. Archiving data can be compared to a "spring cleaning" of your CDM+ database(s).

At the appointed time, you select and move (clean) some of your CDM+ data from the main database into an archive database. The data is not gone—just re-located! It's like moving furniture during spring cleaning from one room to another—the furniture is still accessible. It's just in a different room!

What is archiving and why do it?

  • Archiving moves selected data information out of your active database into a separate archive database.
  • It is used to section off historical information into logical sets—a year(s) of contributions entries, for example.
  • It helps keep CDM+ speedy by reducing the amount of information it must search.
  • It is part of a control process for your database, much like closing a year or creating giving history.

Important keys to remember when archiving!

CDM+ is a relational database program. This means much of the information in the different programs areas is interconnected. One advantage of these interconnections is a change usually needs to be only made in one place. For example, if an address is changed in Address Records, the address for any related Giving Unit is also changed, insuring the giving statement is mailed to the new address.

Since the records are interconnected, it is important to understand the relationships of the records. In a relational database these relationships are referred to as "parent-child" relationships. For example, the Address Record is a parent record and the Individual Record is a child to an Address Record. An Attendance Record is child to an Individual Record.

These "parent-child" relationships have major implications for the archiving process. Click here for an updated Administrative Tools manual that contains further explanation of these implications and a two-page chart detailing these relationships.


All record types in CDM+ can be archived by use of the Archive utility located under File on the menu bar. Preparation is required BEFORE the actual archive utility can be run. Address and Individual records must be marked with a searchable code; e.g., Address Record marked with a unique Mailing Code for each family record to be archived. Contributions program: Giving History must be created. Attendance program: Attendance History should be created. Decisions should be made on the date range of records to be removed from Attendance, Contributions, Accounting, Payroll, Event Registration and Roommate.

When to Archive

Archiving can be done at any time, but consideration needs to be given to certain reports that need to be generated at year end. Usually date-sensitive records such as contributions, ledger entries, and attendance are archived at the end of a calendar or fiscal year. Staff and leaders often find it helpful to leave the most recent 2-3 years of data in CDM+. It is easier to do comparative reports over those periods if they are in one database and not split between your active file and an archive file.

To assist you, CDM+ offers regular Group Online Training classes on the archiving process. Two classes are currently scheduled in May; see the CDM+ website for date and time.

So in summary, TRAIN — PREPARE — ARCHIVE and THRIVE!