Contact Management (Thousands)

Hey MPU,

I know this might be only a ‘me’ problem. But wondering if there is a suggested course of action. My parish has 2,000 people in it, we have a database that we utilize that manages all the contacts. It’s web-based and we have developed an iPhone/Android app for it as well. In terms of that area, the data is managed and great. I can make calls and send texts through the app on my phone.

The dilemma is this scenario. John Doe sends me a text, however he is not saved as a contact in my phone. I just see his number. Of course, I either rely on my brain to help me associate his number, or I scroll up through some chats to see who it is, or I access the database to see which person this number belongs to. All of that is time wasted.

But then, is it practical to import 2,000 contacts into my iPhone. Even if I did, what would be the most practical way to manage and do all that.

Thought 1 - Export the contacts from our database into a Gmail account, sync the account to my phone. I then have all the contacts. The negative side is that whenever someone new is added to the database, I would have to do the import/export process each time which would then be time-consuming.

Thought 2 - I would need to ask our development team, if our Database can just auto-sync to G Suite somehow.

Any other suggestions that I am missing?

Edit* Also, in trying to think of importing 2,000 contacts, is it worth the hassle of trying to figure out the family relationships as well.

I don’t know how you’d import them but if you did I make them a smart list with some sort of tag in each address so you know where they belong in your system.

I also don’t know how addresses handles larger datasets. I’ve got about 1500 contcts in my system and it’d no problm but I don’t know what would happen if I doubled that number.

I’ve never been a fan of storing contacts locally. I would ask your development team for suggestions.

If they can export your database as vcard or csv then importing into gmail contacts would be easy. And when you receive a text if you know it’s “John Doe” and have his number creating a contact would also be easy.

However I’m guessing you aren’t the only person adding to the database so keeping up to date is the problem. If you could get regular updates of your database importing it and letting Google clean up the duplicates shouldn’t take too long (Google allows up to 25000 contacts). IF you could get regular updates.

I would ask your development team for suggestions.

What’s the likelihood all 2000 people are going to call you? I would just import the people you regularly have calls with.

@FrMichaelFanous that may depend on what they thought of his sermon. :joy:


Since you’re already using google workspace. I believe you could create shared contacts. Since you have a tech team, there are probably API’s to automate this process to the database.

Some CRM apps have an account you can add to Contacts so things stay in sync without cluttering your personal contacts. I think Contacts Journal does this.

Since you mentioned you have your own dev team, see if they can implement the CardDAV protocol. You’d then be able to add a CardDAV account to Contacts and keep things in sync without having to clutter your personal contacts list.


Thank you all for the advice!!! @lkhrs I am looking at the app that you sent. It does wonders! I will probably ask the developer to incorporate some of those features into the workflow as well as implementing CardDav.

@jcarucci highly likely, or me calling them.

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Choose Google Suite (gmail) or Office365 and load all of them in an addressbook and manage them there. Personally I use Office 365 to be compatible with most work and clients I have, but I know Google does very much the same.

I have no issues with 2k+ contacts in my Outlook Address book. I keep separate groups to distinguish personal, work, club and social contacts. Sync with Addressbook on all Apple hardware and I can select all. or individual Groups to only see what I need.

I do use and favour Cardhop over Contacts. Have used Contacts+ in the past to get updates, but stopped doing so as results were not consistent.

Is there a reason for this database, is it used for something else, or is it just a developed solution you still hang on?

If you use the database only to keep the contacts, I would think about a solution, where you can share the contacts, but also have them useful on your phones, without an extra trick.

The database is for the whole parish, it links up to the Diocese. The contacts are shared across the Diocese, sorry if I wasn’t specific. They contacts are all in the Diocese, then each parish has its own access to the congregation. Contacts, Events, Registration, Newsletter, Donations, etc its all in a platform.

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My phone tells me I have over 5,400 contacts on it.

They sync perfectly with my Mac and other devices. Contacts apps on all platforms are incredibly speedy. Search is fast, including when I’m looking for a term or faux tag in the notes field.

So don’t worry about efficiency. If it’s easier to have them all in your contacts, so it. Just use groups so you can replace or get rid of them all again if you want to, and you’ll be fine.