Keeping a membership database is an essential task of managing a sport club or association. A database of contact details of club members can be kept in many ways, right and wrong, safe and unsafe. People who manage clubs and associations are often concerned that they do not have good technology skills. As a result they may be inclined to keep membership data in Microsoft Excel and Word files thinking this is the limit of their technological ability.
The problem with this approach is that membership data can easily be lost or corrupted. One sports organisation, a Queensland state sporting organisation, had 54 copies of their membership database and could no longer determine which was the most up-to-date. Excel spreadsheets are most definitely easy to store membership data but information stored is easily corrupted or deleted. For example, a person could attempt to sort the membership data alphabetically and accidentally jumble the whole database.
In reality, membership data should be maintained using database software not Excel, and not Word. There are a many reasons and they include:
There are two ways to obtain a specialised club database:
The advantage of building your own database with software such as Microsoft Access is that it can be endlessly customised to meet the needs of your organisation. Once you have found someone with the skills to create the database, it is no really bother to add some additional fields, or create some new queries and reports to output information as required.
Nevertheless, the problem with this approach is that it takes time to get more or less what you want. While you can some basic together in a single day, it is likely to take several months to design and build all the components (tables, queries and reports, etc) that you are going to need.
Furthermore, even if you find somebody to create the database on a voluntary basis, there is likely to be an extensive amount of communication between the club administrators and the database creator until all issues are solved.
As you would expect, many people will have created specialised club membership database software. This software would have been created for real club membership situations and thoroughly tested. The basic membership information is often much the same in most clubs. The creator of this software can then on sell quite cheaply to other club administrators across the world.
The main real advantage of ready made software is that the club administrator can start straight away. You can import your existing membership data if it is kept on an Excel file relatively easy. In some cases, ready made database software will also allow some customising to suit your club's needs.
Probably for the average growing club where the membership database is becoming a burden, purchasing ready made software is the way to go.
The following link provides an example which is competitively priced at just $79.