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Non person record coding

  • 1.  Non person record coding

    Posted 12-14-2021 12:20 PM

    Happy Tuesday!


    I am curious about how other institutions code their nonperson records and even looking for best practices.  I know we have to comply with CASE/VSE by having Foundations, Corporations, etc. but I am wondering if institutions are getting granular with their coding or keeping it high-level.

    We currently have the following but I'm wondering if it is too much or maybe not enough.

    • Corporation
    • Family Foundation
    • Foundation
    • Non-Profit Organization
    • Trust


    Do others differentiate between Family Foundation and Foundation?  Is it necessary to do so?


    If you have a Foundation that is also a non-profit, do you code the record as both?  Is it necessary to do so?


    Any information you are willing to share is very much appreciated as we look to enhance the data we have.





    Amanda L. Haney

    Director of Gift & Data Management

    Gift & Data Management



    University Advancement I Elliott Alumni Center I 9 Edgewood Rd I Durham, NH 03824

    Office: 603-862-2041 I


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  • 2.  RE: Non person record coding

    Posted 12-14-2021 01:14 PM

    The first answer, of course, is to make the distinctions that are useful to your activities!


    As you say, CASE/VSE reporting is likely one of those activities, so those distinctions are probably part of your baseline.  Corporate Foundations are counted in the corporate/business category of the VSE, so you would probably want either a Corporate Foundation record type (which, I think, is the most common approach) or I guess code corporate foundations with the basic Corporation code.


    It's been a while since I've completed the VSE, but I believe that there is a supplemental question that distinguishes personal and family foundations from other foundations, so that's probably a useful distinction.  And it can be a useful distinction in internal processes as well, in all likelihood.


    The Smithsonian is federal-adjacent, so we may have more reason to distinguish among types of government entities, which might not be as important for you.  On the other hand, we haven't had a need to create a separate code for colleges and universities.


    In any case, here is our current list:



    Corporate Foundation

    Independent Foundation

    Family Foundation

    Operating Foundation

    Community Foundation

    Donor Advised Fund

    Federal Government

    State/Local Government

    Foreign Government

    Other Organization


    I'm pretty happy with that list.  Left to myself, I'd probably add "Sponsoring Organization" for the sponsoring organizations for donor-advised funds, like the Vanguard Charitable Endowment Program, rather than use the DAF code for both DAFs and sponsoring organizations.  That would be useful in a number of processes, but the fact that there are relatively few of these means that I have thus far been unsuccessful in persuading colleagues to add that code.


    My US$0.02 worth; the usual disclaimers apply.


    Good luck!




    Alan S. Hejnal   

    Data Quality Manager




    Smithsonian Institution - Office of Advancement

    600 Maryland Ave SW Ste 600E

    PO Box 37012, MRC 527

    Washington, DC 20013-7012

    Voice: 202-633-8754 | Email: