Create Contacts and Accounts

Learning Objectives 

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Create contacts in EDA to build a 360-degree view of your constituents.
  • Manage account records in EDA.

If you’ve been following along with the Administer Education Data Architecture (EDA) trail (which we can’t recommend enough), you’ve learned about the EDA account model, configured your EDA instance, and set up your campus in EDA. Now, you're ready to add and define constituents. In EDA, students (as well as faculty, alumni, and other people in your campus community) are represented by contact account records. Once you create contacts, you can do all kinds of cool things to build a 360-degree view of your constituents. The 360-degree view helps everyone at the institution truly understand each person's journey and the ways they interact with the school.  

Want to Get Hands-On with Defining Constituents in EDA?

In this module, we show you the steps to build out contact records and define constituents in EDA. There aren’t any hands-on challenges in this module, but if you want to practice and try out the steps, you can register for a free EDA trial with sample data. (A Trailhead Playground doesn’t have EDA.)

Already have an active EDA trial installed from getting hands-on in previous EDA modules? Great! You can use that same trial org to practice defining constituents in this module.

Here’s how to get the free trial edition now.

  1. Click here to open the Education Data Architecture (EDA) Trial Page.
  2. Fill out the form completely. 
    1. For Email, enter an active email address that’s unknown to Salesforce. The email address you provide becomes the username in this new trial org. Usernames must be globally unique across all instances of Salesforce, so you must use an email account that is unknown to Salesforce or your installation won’t work.
  3. After you fill out the form, click Submit. A confirmation message appears.
  4. When you receive the activation email (this sometimes takes a few minutes), open it and click Verify Account.
  5. Complete your registration by setting your password and challenge question. Tip: Write down your username, password, and login URL for easy access later.


Don’t forget to complete the Power of Us application at some point during your 30-day trial period. Once your application has been approved, your trial version converts to a permanent Salesforce org. If you don’t complete your Power of Us application within 30 days, you lose access to your trial org.

Administrative and Household Accounts

There’s a full explanation of the EDA account model and the difference between administrative and household accounts in the Education Data Architecture Basics module (it’s linked in the Resources section if you want to take another look). Here’s a quick reminder of the key features of each account model option in EDA.

  • The administrative account is the account-level representation of a contact. It's a one-to-one relationship that exists mainly to fulfill the Salesforce data model requirement that every contact have an associated account. Higher education institutions might prefer to use the lightweight, individual administrative account during certain parts of the student lifecycle—recruiting, admissions, and while actively enrolled.

  • The household account represents the household a student contact belongs to. Unlike the administrative account's one-to-one relationship, a household account typically contains multiple contacts besides the student, such as parents or guardians, siblings, and other members of a shared household. An alumni or advancement office might prefer to convert contacts to a household account model after they've become alumni.

There are some strategic choices to make around your institution’s preferred account model and the information in the EDA Data Architecture Basics module mentioned above can help you make them. Not sure yet which account model is best for you? Good news: you can try both models now in your trial org. If you're logged into your trial org you’re in the right place to practice creating account records! Let’s start with administrative accounts.

Create a New Contact and Administrative Account

Once you choose an account model and make the selection in EDA Settings (we show you how to do that below), it will be the default account record for all newly created contact records. The default account model in the EDA trial is the administrative account model so you don’t have to do anything special to create a new administrative account. Creating a contact will automatically create the corresponding administrative account.

Follow these steps to create a new contact and administrative account.

  1. Click the Contacts tab and select New Contact.
  2. Fill in the contact’s first and last name and any other contact details. There is a field for Account Name on the contact record. Leave it blank. 
  3. Click Save.
    New Contact record for student Sam Huang.
  4. To verify the creation of the administrative account, you can click the Contact Hierarchy button on the contact record to view the contact hierarchy record.

    Contact Hierarchy button on the Contact record.
    Contact Hierarchy record for Sam Huang.

Create A Contact and Household Account

To practice creating household accounts in your EDA trial org, you need to change the default account model in EDA Settings. Here’s how to do that:

  1. Navigate to EDA Settings by clicking the EDA Settings tab and then click the System tab.
  2. Click Edit.

    Navigate to System settings in EDA Settings.

  3. In the Default Account Model section, click the dropdown menu and select Household Account.
  4. Click Save.

    Household Account selected as the Default Account Model in EDA Settings.

To create new contacts associated to household accounts, follow the same steps outlined above for creating contacts with administrative accounts.

When you view the household account record for your new contact, it will look something like this:
A household account record for the MacMillan Household

In this example, student Stella MacMillan is the Primary Contact on the household account that is automatically named MacMillan Household.

Your EDA trial org is a great place to practice creating a few new contacts with each account model. Practice in your trial org, and not when working with live data in a production org. When you finish creating a set of sample account records in your trial org, remember to go back to EDA Settings and reset the default account model to Administrative. That’s the model we use for sample data sets in other units in this module.

Contacts and accounts are the foundation of constituent management in EDA, but to create the coveted 360-degree view, we have to build out these records with the connections to other organizations and members of your institution’s community. Head to the next unit to learn more about the connections you can make with affiliations.


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