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Ask Slashdot: Easy-To-Use Alternative To MS Access For a Charity's Database?

Keviniano Re:Is Access actually better for them anyways? (281 comments)

Agreed. If there is truly no IT expertise and no budget, then I'd say a spreadsheet is what will serve them best. You can help them set it up, and they'll be much more likely to be able to manage it once your gone. No doubt it will be more error-prone and cumbersome than a relational database, but they'll understand how it works. They can set up organizational processes to make up for the lack of built-in data quality checking.

A simple relational database with a simple front end is great if there's support. It's a bane if there's not.

about 9 months ago

Neurologists Shine Light On Near-Death Experiences

Keviniano Those 30 seconds... (351 comments)

are just what's needed to transfer your consciousness to the resurrection hub.

about a year and a half ago

Customer Resource Management For Non-Profits?

Keviniano Re:GiftWorks might work for you. (186 comments)

Yep, you're right, Salesforce is a serious contender too. Free is a very good price, but it too should be thought of as "free as in kittens". It's designed for people doing sales, not NPO fundraising, so it's missing a few things that really come in handy for many nonprofit, like tracking of couples/family units. There are good workarounds, however, which involve customizations that's best done by paying someone.

more than 5 years ago

Customer Resource Management For Non-Profits?

Keviniano GiftWorks might work for you. (186 comments)

I work exclusively with NPOs and databases, and donor tracking is one of thing that nearly every organization needs. As such, it's one of the few niches where for-profits can make some money off of non-profits. So there are a ton of vultures, I mean, solutions that charge way too much for what they offer.

A lot of people mention Raiser's Edge, and I would only recommend that for large non-profits, as in $100,000,000+ annual budget. RE works best when there's a person whose whole job it is to tend to it. The software is pricey and the official Blackbaud training is outrageously exorbitant, but if you're big enough it's mostly worth it.

CiviCRM is a good possibility, but think of it as free as in kittens, not free as in beer. Expect to spend money to get it set up well, unless you're really into being a do-it-yourselfer. DIYers can be a problem for the organization in the long term, though, unless they document their work well. I usually get hired when the DIYer moves on leaving little or no information on how their homespun system works.

One non-free yet affordable solution that I've seen NPOs have experience with is GiftWorks. They're very reasonably priced, and when I met a few of the principals at a conference a few years ago, they really seemed to have their heart in the right place.

Good luck!

more than 5 years ago


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