Setting Up and Using Households

Harry Brett-Jones
Harry Brett-Jones
  • Updated

Customers interact with your organisation in many different ways whether they’re donors, ticket buyers, or something else entirely  and not all customers exist in isolation. Many will have relationships and connections with others in your database, while some might be considered as single entities for the purposes of analysis and mailings  typically partners or family members.

The Households feature in Spektrix allows you to personalise and improve your relationships with your customer base based on these connections, and to understand and engage in the most appropriate ways with everyone who’s interacted with your organisation.

In this article, we’re going to look at how to understand and use Households, specifically looking at:

NOTE: Households is just one way of connecting your customers within Spektrix. Depending on your organisation’s goals, you might want to use Households in conjunction with other functionality such as Relationships, Soft Crediting and/or Facilitated Booking. Feel free to reach out to the Spektrix Support team should you have any questions on when you might want to use one or more of these options.

What is a household?

For clarity, in this article we’re going to refer to real-world groupings of customers as households (with a lower-case ‘h’), and the specific feature in Spektrix as Households.

In the context of your customer database, a household is a collective term for one or more people who interact with your organisation. That could be a single individual (what we’ll refer to as a single-person household) or a group of individuals (a multi-person household), which is likely to be two or more family members or partners.

What the Households feature allows you to do is keep a record of the relationship between a group of customers and choose whether you would like to consider each member of the household individually or as a unit. For example, you might have two people in your database who have each attended a performance once; depending on the circumstances, you might want to either consider them as two separate first-time bookers, or a household which has collectively attended twice.

What are the benefits?
Taking advantage of Households functionality where appropriate allows you to:

  • Create streamlined, personalised mailing lists, ensuring you send only one mailing per household.
  • Build a robust understanding of your customers by analysing and reporting on the behaviour of connected customers together.
  • Search customer records and orders by all members of a household together in a single view.

Setting up Households

The Households functionality is enabled in your system by default; however, because it will likely have a positive impact on most  if not all  facets of your organisation, we recommend that you communicate across departments and decide on a set of consistent practices before you start making use of it. We’ve provided some questions to help guide your decision-making.

Who will you join together in a household?
Partners or spouses and other family members are the most common examples, but that’s not the only use case. Do you have any other patrons whom you’d like to connect in this way for aggregated mailings or reporting?

What conventions will you set?
What will be the process for when you connect existing customers into a household or create new records for customers who should be in a household together? To start, think about:

  • How will you determine who is the Primary Householder? This would typically be whoever in the household has had the most historical activity with your organisation. See the section on The Household pane for more details of what Primary Householder means.
  • How will you determine what the Household addressee name should be? For example, you might want to use it as a mailing title, for both single-person households and multi-person households.

What about existing reports and customer lists?
Once you’re fully utilising Households, are there any customer lists or reports you currently use that should be adapted to aggregate by household rather than by individual customer? See more on using Households in Reporting below.

If you’ve already put a process in place in your system to account for something like households (such as a customer attribute, or specific relationships), we can help you transfer that information into the new feature by following the steps in this article: Importing Customers into Spektrix from a CSV. You’ll just need a list of your customers’ Spektrix IDs and the households they should be put into. Please reach out to the Support team if you’d like to consult on the best way to import any existing data as households.

How to use Households

Households are viewable on the customer record in both the Sales interface and the Opportunities interface. For the purposes of this article, we’ll mainly be referencing the Sales interface, but the functionality will look the same in both places. We’re going to cover a range of topics in this section, including:

The Household panel
When you’re on the Details page on a customer record you’ll see a panel on the right titled Household, which appears for all customers. A customer can only be in one household at a time; by default, each individual customer is in their own household (i.e. a single-person household), which looks like this:


When a customer is added to a different household with one or more other customers (i.e. they become part of a multi-person household), you’ll see all members of the household in the Household panel:

 The different elements of the Household panel include:

  • Blue customer icon(s): these indicate each member of the customer’s household, in alphabetical order. You can toggle between the records of all the members of the household by clicking on their names.
  • Addressee name: the shared name of the household, commonly utilised as a mailing address title.
  • Primary button: for a multi-person household, this indicates who in the household is designated as the Primary Householder.

Every household has a Primary Householder. In a single-person household, the customer is, by default, the Primary Householder. In a multi-person household, the record of the Primary Householder should contain the details of the household (for example, the address).

You can change the Primary Householder of a multi-person household at any time  simply select the radio button next to the name of the customer you want to be the new Primary Householder from any of the customer records. 

Joining and leaving a household
You can manage a customer’s household from the customer record using the Actions button above the Households panel:

From the record of a customer in a single-person household, you will see the option to Join a Different Household. This will bring you to the Customer Search page to find the record of the customer whose household you want them to join:

Once you’ve selected the correct customer to join, you will be brought back to the original customer’s record, now with the names of all household members in the Household panel. As a final step, we’d recommend that you make sure the Addressee name and Primary Householder are accurate every time you add or remove members in  a household.

If you’re in a record of someone already in a multi-person household, you will instead see the option to Leave Household from the Actions button. Upon clicking this, you will then be prompted to change the Addressee name of the household they’re leaving.

After changing the Addressee Name as needed and clicking Save, you’ll return back to the customer’s record, now in a single-person household, and their Addressee name will default back to their first and last name.

For your reference, any time a customer leaves or joins a household, this is tracked in the Customer Audit.

Other links between householders
You can view members of a household together in both the Customer Search and the Orders page on the customer record. Viewing these here may help you identify the correct customer when searching for orders or other customer details; for example, if you know one member of a household has purchased tickets or made a donation, but you’re not sure which specific person placed the order.

In the Customer Search, anyone who is in a multi-person household will have some additional text beneath their name and address:

If a customer is in a household with just one other person, then you’ll see the other householder listed here and will be able to toggle between the customer records directly from the search page by clicking on the underlined name. If they’re part of a household with three or more customers, you’ll see In a household with others, while customers who are in a single-person household won’t display any text in that section.

You can also view household details in the Orders section of the customer record. If a customer is part of a multi-person household then you’ll be able to see orders made by all members of the household, with the name of the customer who made each order clearly visible.

Households in Customer Lists
When building Customer Lists in Spektrix, you can choose how you want to include customers within households. You have two options:

  • Treat each customer as an individual entity and include every member of a household separately in the list.
  • Combine customers into households under the Primary Householder and include a single entry in the list for each household.

Which option you choose will depend on the purpose of each list, with the second option - to combine households - being particularly useful for mailings (so that you only send one per household).

There are three metrics which are particularly important to understand when considering Households:

  • Primary Householder: the criteria within a Customer segment which allows you to make sure you’re only including the Primary Householder within a household.
  • Household Addressee Name: an output field displaying the Addressee Name for the household.
  • Primary Householder ID: an output field displaying the Customer ID of the Primary Householder

Here’s an example of how to create a mailing list such that only one piece of mail would be sent to each household. If you’re not familiar with creating Customer Lists, click here for more information about the Customer List Builder.

In the Pre-filter or Main filter, create a new Customer segment and select the Is Primary Householder metric, making sure the tick-box is checked. You can add in any other criteria you need as well.


In the Output, include Household Addressee Name rather than the usual address name.

If you output this list as an Excel or CSV file, you’ll get something that looks like this:

Because any customers in a single-person household are, by default, their own Primary Householder, this list will include those customers as well as any who are grouped into multi-person households.

In this example, you can see that the household for Alex Applegate and Sam Simpson has been output as a single item. If you hadn’t included the Is Primary Householder criteria, there would instead be one row for Alex Applegate and one row for Sam Simpson.

Households in Booking and Purchasing segments
When creating or editing a Booking or Purchasing segment, whether in a Customer List or an Auto Tag, on the Statistics page (i.e. after choosing your metrics) you have the option to select Household from the When data is grouped by: dropdown menu.

In a Customer List, choosing this option rather than by Order owner or Order facilitator would achieve the same end result as in the previous example above, aggregating the data across all members of the Household and combining householder members into one line (whether or not you’ve included the Is Primary Householder metric in your criteria).

For example, let’s say you are creating a Booking segment for all customers who have seen 3 or more shows and you choose to group by household. If Alex Applegate and Sam Simpson are in a household, and Alex has attended one show and Sam has attended two, their household would be included (on one line) in your Customer List.

You will also see this option in segments for Auto Tags. Similarly to Customer Lists, if you choose to group by household in your Auto Tag segment, the criteria for the tag will be aggregated across all members of the household.

NOTE: the Auto Tag will only be applied to the customer record of the Primary Householder.

For more detailed information on Auto Tags, refer to this article: Auto Tagging.

Households in Reports
You can also create reports that aggregate data per household rather than per customer. If you’re not familiar with reports in Spektrix, click here for more detailed information on what they are, how they work and how to create them.

As noted above in regards to Customer Lists, you won’t always need to run reports aggregated by household. The main question to ask is: are you treating each customer as an individual entity, or would you prefer to aggregate householders’ data together? If your report is already aggregating customer data on the whole (e.g. the standard Donations Analysis or Ticket Sales Analysis reports, which analyse overall patterns), you likely won’t need to group by household. If you are looking at data on a per-customer basis, however, you might want to decide whether or not to combine householders’ information.

For some examples of looking at data on both a per-customer and per-household basis, take a look at the standard Customer & Household Analysis Report, which breaks down a variety of information on both levels.

A typical report where you might want to aggregate by household might look at this fiscal year’s donors, with cumulative donations per household. In that case, by utilising Household addressee name and/or Primary Householder ID in your Output, you can create an unformatted report with one line per household as such:

Similarly to how Customer Lists work, this allows you to output both single-person households and aggregated multi-person households.

As always, you can reach out to the Spektrix Support team for help with building a report or when deciding whether or not your report needs to be aggregated by household.


Now you have all the tools you need to deepen and personalise your engagement with your customers using Households. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Spektrix Support team if you’ve got questions about any of what’s been covered here, or would like to talk in more detail about Households.