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Managing Contacts

Acoustic has multiple ways to store and manage contacts. Below are some of the more common methods used by sending units on campus.

University Communications, in partnership with other campus units such as Advancement Services, maintain databases of the following constituents within Acoustic:

  • Faculty/Staff
  • Students
  • Alumni/Donors

In most cases, relevant subpopulations of these constituents can be made available for groups on campus. Fore example, a specific college could have access to daily lists of faculty, staff, students, alumni, and donors associated with their college.

Sending units will also be able to upload and manage contacts that are now within the pre-established databases. Acoustic has three different constructs that help with this: databases, contact lists, and queries.

All contacts must be in a database. Contacts can then be segmented into subpopulations through the use of contact lists and queries. Contact lists are ways to manually group people from a database together. Queries provide a way to automatically group people together based upon information within a database.


Databases are at the core of how contacts are managed within Acoustic. All contacts must be in a database. Supplemental information beyond just email can be stored within a database. For example, first name and last name can be included, but so can information such as class year, type (parent, partner, volunteer, etc.), or program. Any type of data can be saved within a database to help segment different groups.

This information can easily be imported from a spreadsheet as a CSV file. That also makes subsequent data updates easy as constituent lists change.

Contact Lists

Contact Lists allow you to group constituents in an arbitrary way. This means that there is no data within Acoustic that would indicate that the people should be grouped together. If this data did exist as fields within the database, a query could be created to automatically segment.

People within a contact list must already be within a database. You may want to use a contact list to communicate with some of your constituents who have registered for a specific event or that are serving on a specific board.


Queries are one of the more powerful features within Acoustic. They allow you to automatically create segments that are filtered on specific information that is stored within the database. For example, if a database had a person’s email address, class year, and college, you could easily have a query that is always automatically up-to-date with recent graduates from the College of Sciences.

Knowing what types queries you might want to create will help you understand what fields would be beneficial to have within your database. Figuring out how to structure data within Acoustic is something that University Communications can help with.