Saving Your Searches in CiviCRM

Over the years clients have occasionally asked whether it’s possible to save searches in CiviCRM. Early in Civi’s development, one could save searches (e.g., in the navigation menu) but that functionality disappeared somewhere around Civi 4.x.  However, the Civi team has made efforts in recent versions to bring back that capacity.  It’s not yet comprehensive across all searches - only for events, contributions, and cases - but what has been developed to this point can be useful. 

Some of you may ask, why do I need this when I have smart groups?  You absolutely can save searches as smart groups, and there are a lot of reasons why this might be a better approach - for example, if you have other functionality such as mailings or tracking donor levels that utilizes smart groups.  Additionally, we always caution clients to use smart groups judiciously, as having too many of them can strain a site’s resources.  If you can save a search, and you don’t necessarily need to use its results beyond the normal functions with search results (e.g., one-time mailings, exports), then try some of these.

The Basics

The CiviCRM team has standardized a set of parameters that can be attached to search links and should work reliably over time.  These parameters allow you to specify criteria such as minimum or maximum receive date (of a contribution/payment), participant statuses (for event registrations), or minimum or maximum event date.  Some of the date parameter options also allow you to set a relative timeframe, such as this year or this month. 

We provide some examples below in both WordPress and Drupal formats; to use them, simply replace the relevant parts of the link in your own site. 

Conclusion and More Information

Hopefully these samples give you some ideas for searches you might want to try.  Once you have a search link working, you can add it to your navigation menu (Administer > Customize Data & Screens > Navigation Menu) for future use. 

If you want to explore what’s currently available for saved searches, here is the Civi documentation.  Questions?  Send us a support ticket and we’ll be happy to help you.

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