5 Replies Latest reply on Feb 23, 2012 1:41 PM by TerryCoolidge

    best way to handle committees and sub-committees



      best way to handle committees and sub-committees


      I have a many-to-many relationship for tracking church members and the committees they serve on.  Out of 23 committees, three are so large that we basically have "sub-committees."  So rather than just being a general member of these three particular committees, a member has a specific role within the committee (for example, a member of the Sunday School committee is actually signed up to be a teacher, while another member on the Sunday School committee may be a staff member).  I do not want to treat these sub-committees as separate committees.  I want to have one large committee (i.e. "Sunday School"), and then be able to designate the members' function within that committee.  Again, it's only three out of 23 that require this additional designation, and the number of sub-committees is different for the three that have them.

      Ultimately I want to be able to send out an email to all members with a list showing what committees they will be serving on, and if a member is assigned to one (or more) of these three special committees, I want to be able to have the list indicate the committee along with the specific sub-committee.  Having just been helped by PhilModJunk to understand how to include a list within an email, I'm guessing that I can figure it out once I understand how best to handle the concept of sub-committees.  So I think this is mainly a conceptual question about how/where to store sub-committee information.  I'm thinking I'm probably going to need a brand new layout for these three committees that have subs, but I do want to keep things as consistent as possible and treat these three like the other 20 as much as I can for other purposes.

      Would love to hear your thoughts.  Thank you in advance!  You folks that respond here on the forum are awesome!

        • 1. Re: best way to handle committees and sub-committees

          Simplest approach that comes to mind would be to add a 'role' field that is left blank for all but the super committees. With those, you select a value to specify a role within the committee (staff, teacher, parent... etc.)

          If you have more than one super committee and very different roles for each, you can set up a conditional value list so that the roles listed in a drop down on the field are only those appropriate for the current committee.

          • 2. Re: best way to handle committees and sub-committees
             Ah... the dreaded "conditional value list." I know there are many forum threads devoted to this concept (even one of my own creating months ago), but I have yet to wrap my head around how this is accomplished in Filemaker. Rather than asking you to explain how to set this up yet again, is there a particularly robust thread that covers this better than the others that you could direct me to? I'm finally up against a deadline of sorts where I need to stop avoiding it and finally get it working. Perhaps applying it to this super-committee/role scenario will help me to grasp the concept so that I can then implement a conditional value list solution for other ares where I had been wanting to use such a device. Thank you, as always, for your quick and helpful response.
            • 3. Re: best way to handle committees and sub-committees

              First, check and see if any of these threads are new to you:

              Forum Tutorial: Custom Value List?

              Knowledgebase article: http://help.filemaker.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/5833/kw/conditional%20value%20list

              Demo File: http://www.4shared.com/file/f8NsU2DJ/ConditionalValueListDemo.html

              The demo file may be especially useful to you as you can download it and take it apart to see how it works.

              The picture in my head that helps me sort out conditional value lists is this:

              1. Go to the layout where you need your conditional value list or (if you need the conditional value list in a field in a portal) to a layout based on the portals table.
              2. If you can then create a portal that displays the values you want in your conditional value lists as individual records in the portal and it updates to show only the sub set of values desired when you change the value in the "category" field, then you have the relationship you need to set up the conditional value list. Your layout's table occurrence becomes the "starting from" table in Manage | value lists and you'd list your values using fields from the same table occurrence found in "Show related records from" in the portal's portal setup dialog.
              3. Thus, if you can get the portal to work, you can get the conditional value list to work. (That's why you can find a portal in the demo file listing the same values as the conditional value list.)


              If all else fails, remember two things:

              1) In your current project you probably can get by without the conditional value list. It's a "nice to have" not a  necessity.

              2) Setting up a conditional value list requires paying close attention to specific details in the structure of your database and design of the layout where you need it to work, so don't hesitate to spell out the details of your tables and layout so we can walk through those details together.

              • 4. Re: best way to handle committees and sub-committees
                Great info, Phil. Thank you so much. I'll be working on this tomorrow and will report back if I have questions. However, I'm hoping my follow-up post will simply be an acknowledgement of my success. :-)
                • 5. Re: best way to handle committees and sub-committees

                  A little knowledge can be dangerous.


                  I am very grateful to have figured out (sort of) conditional value lists, and I have successfully implemented them in several different places now.  When populating a committee with members, I am able to utilize a conditional value list to select from only active members (not a full list that includes withdrawn and deceased members).  I then was able to create a field on my committee layout for the committee chair, and the pop-up for designating the chair only shows members of that committee.  Finally, I created a separate table to store various "roles" within my three "super committees," and I was able to create a pop-up that allows selection from only the relevant roles once I have assigned a member to a committee that has specific roles.  All good stuff, right?

                  I now seem to have gotten drunk with power, but it's not a good drunk with power.  I'm now a mess.  I'm trying to set up what I feel is a similar scenario elsewhere in my database, but I'm getting nowhere.  Totally confused.  I'm going to create a separate thread explaining what I'm trying to do.  Again, it seems to be mainly trouble with understanding things conceptually.  I feel like I'm getting the hang of the tools, but I'm not understanding some fundamental concepts.

                  But thank you so much for helping me to get this sub-committee thing working.  This was a huge step forward for me, and I'm now able to deliver some results that were greatly needed.