Be Able to Write Any Query with Altru

This video was taken from a previous tutorial. To view the full tutorial, click the link below.

How to Create an Automated Email from Start to Finish


Are you having issues writing your query with Altru? Are you trying to figure out exactly how to get the correct information connected to the email you’re creating? While Blackbaud has their own training on how to create queries from scratch–and we highly recommend you look through those tutorials if you have no experience creating queries first–we want to give you some tips and tricks for those who cannot seem to present the correct information; that way, you can get yourself back on track.

As a quick note, the video tutorial seeks to write a query for an automatically generated transactional email for General Admission tickets purchased over the phone, online, or in person.

Tips to Write a Query

Tip 1: Write Down your Question

Any guesses as to what a query is? That’s right–it’s a question! Though a highly technical question, it takes a similar structure or vernacular as saying “who purchased tickets today? I need their name and email address to send the tickets to them.” Of course, asking it on Altru is beneficial in that it automates “sending the tickets” automatically; with this in mind, it is crucial to ask the question correctly in Altru so the correct information is received, and the correct people get their tickets.

After you have your question defined, what data do you want to present with it? First and last name of the constituent? Email address and/or physical address? Membership status? Think about which data fields to present in your email.

Tip 2: Work Exclusions or Joins Out on Paper

If your question is broad and encompasses a large group of people, including some constituents you may not want to include or who are not included, keep a note of the exclusions or joins you may need to do in your query. Examples may include people who purchased tickets today for an event being held next week: you may only want people who purchased tickets today for the events held today. Along with this thought, do you want to include people who purchased tickets last week for the event today? These types of questions can result in a myriad of query choices–some with the exact same results–so if there are exclusions or joins, working them out on paper before Altru can eliminate plenty of roadblocks and save you some time.

Example of writing down query information for Altru

Tip 3: Experiment with Altru

After writing down your thoughts on paper, it’s time to get your query into Altru. This powerful software has countless options to drag and drop into each side of the query–the selecting side and the displaying side–so at first, the process can seem daunting. If this process is frustrating to figure out, here are some pointers to consider and  keep in mind as you familiarize yourself with Altru’s software:

  • It’s okay to create multiple queries. If one query doesn’t work, but 2+ does, the option is available to join multiple queries with Social Good Software!
  • Be patient. Because Altru has so many different values to display or check for, especially those four or five levels deep, it may take some experimentation to find which values will work best to solve your problem. Don’t be hard on yourself if you can’t find the correct values on the first or second try! 
  • Try the query one line at a time. If you know that someone has purchased a ticket from your organization, experiment your queries on that one person. Software works in such a way that if a case exists for one person, the case exists for all people. With this in mind, knowing it works for one person will give you the assurance it will work for everyone else in the query.
  • Practice! Test your queries over and over again; if you find a solution that you’re happy with, make note of the solution for your next query… Then, practice again!


Having more tips and tricks under your belt will help you as you write queries with Altru. Just keep in mind that it takes practice to learn these tools, so be patient and keep experimenting. If you have any more questions, especially about queries, contact us: we are more than willing to help you!