When app users download your app and login to the app, they have a variety of methods for authenticating:
- If they know their MP Username + Password, this is a quick and easy way to authenticate.
- If they choose to authenticate using their Phone Number or Email Address, this is another quick and easy way to authenticate. Using this method, PocketPlatform will attempt to find the person in the database and match them up.
- If the user doesn’t know their username + password, or if no match can be made, then they can always create an account. When creating an account, PocketPlatform will again attempt to find the person in the database and match them up.
In all the scenarios above, our goal is to match the data provided by the user to the right person in MinistryPlatform. Based on Think Ministry best practices, we match on the First Name, Last Name and either the Mobile Phone Number or Email Address. In many cases, we find that duplicates are created when users are providing phone numbers or email addresses that are different from the data in MP because they’ve changed / updated their phone number or email address.
We recommend that you communicate to your church members which data is most likely to already be in your database when they download and install your app for the first time. For example, if you have a very accurate and current email list that you maintain via MP, then encouraging your church members to authenticate via email address could be very effective at avoiding duplicates. On the other hand, if you think many Contacts in the database share email addresses or have old email addresses, but you’re more confident that mobile phone numbers are up to date, then encouraging your church members to authenticate via phone number could be more effective.
Whatever choice you make, it’s important to remember that duplicates will always be created, and there will always be some cleanup that is required. The good news is that each month when Think Ministry publishes their Data Honor Roll for MP customers with the “cleanest” data, the list includes several PocketPlatform customers that have been working with their church members in similar ways.