Thursday, June 04, 2009

Da Database Thing

Ok, here is a follow-up from yesterday's post on databases. I asked the question, "how should one structure a database?" so that it can effectively serve its purpose.

To start with, a database is structured as records inside a table. Records are composed of fields. Records and fields can be rows and columns in a spreadsheet such as Excel or Quattro (the one being distributed in Corel WordPerfect's office suite)

Let's assume that we are using a spreadsheet for our purposes. Here is what we should do:

1. Create a new spreadsheet.

2. Draft a title for your list that will be located in the first row of the spreadsheet. This could be something like: "Partner Information" or "Donor Contact List. Use whatever works for you.

3. On the next line, define your fields or columns. I usually breakdown a person's full name into three: first name, middle name, last name. By doing this, you can sort your database among these fields.

4. Next stop would be the address. You can choose to put a residential address, a business address, and a mailing (or shipping) address (something like a post office box). You can use just one or all of them. Using all of them provides you with flexibility

5. Next are the contact numbers. Again, you can choose to maintain a home landline, office landline, personal mobile, business mobile, fax, etc.

6. Now comes the email address. Personal email (gmail, yahoo, msn), Business email.

7. Websites. This could be the personal website and the website where they work for.

8. Make sure you include their spouse's name (if applicable), birth dates and anniversaries. You wouldn't want to miss that do you? 8-)

9. You can put a field containing what part of your organization these people are interested in.

You will do fine with a basic list like this. Obviously, you can add more. The complexity grows when you add giving information and histories in this same spreadsheet. A full time database program will help you solve this, but this would be for another post.

See you tomorrow and God bless!

1 comment:

JesuLalaine said...

Hi Edwin!

Wow! Thanks for sharing all these.. I'll be linking you in one of my blogs.. so, I could get updated.. very useful information.

Thanks! God bless!!