Smart fields provide quick access to specific information that otherwise might take hours or days to compile. For example, you create a query of all donors in your database who gave $10,000, along with their first gift date. You routinely run this query, which takes a considerable amount of time to execute due to the size of your database and the complexity of the query—the server must calculate the total for every record in your database. As the number of records in your database increases, the time necessary to run the query also increases. When you replace the summary fields in the query with smart fields, you improve the time it takes to run the query considerably. The program automatically generates and caches the smart field values at intervals set by your system administrator. In addition, smart field updates consider only records added to the database since the last run date and do not reconsider records already included in the value.
You can use smart fields in a variety of ways throughout the program:
To build queries and selections.
To filter reports. With the Report Model Generator, you can use a smart field as the source view for a custom report.
To quickly view details about a constituent's giving history on the Smart Fields tab of their record.
To calculate the entry amount for ask ladders on marketing effort reply devices.
To calculate for renewal notices when memberships are set to expire.