What do I do with my database?

10 tips on getting the most out of your database

Tuesday 1st September 2015

So you have got a new infoodle database, all your contacts have been entered but what else can I do with it?

This is a question a few have been asking me recently so I thought it was time to write something on the subject. Here are a few ideas for the starter module.

Throw away your old data base

Really! Get all your departments to delete their old excel spreadsheets or whatever you were using. It may pay just the check the data first, but after that get rid of it. Give the staff a login and they can go and update their contacts as soon as they know of a change. This way everyone has the same information and the most up to date information. Why not read our related blog "Getting a new system in place" as well. You now have a single version of the truth for all your contacts for everyone to use.

Send out Emails

Because all your contacts are in the same place it is easy to use infoodle to send out your newsletters, invites to events, information etc. It's easy to select a group and send individual private emails to everyone. There is no danger of others seeing who the email has gone out to. infoodle keeps a history of all the communication that has gone out to individuals in their profile page, even their replies. You can even use mailchimp templates to design your newsletter and then send it out through infoodle or integrate mailchimp with infoodle so you can send via mailchimp. Whatever works for you.

Send out Texts

You can send text messages too: how about reminding the youth to bring their togs because the weather is good and you have decided to go to the beach, or grabbing some volunteers quickly to help out.

Put people into Groups

This helps you see what people are involved with and makes it easier to stay in communication. They can be in Program groups e.g. 'Youth group' or 'After school kids club'; Administrative groups e.g. 'Newsletter group' or 'Membership group'. It's easy to send everyone in the group an email by only using one click. Having groups in your workflow helps you see where people are along in their process. Groups about events can help you identify who are the organisers, volunteers/helpers and also the attendees. After the event you know who to send a thank you email to for helping. You can also list the members skills and talents, handy for the band to know who can play keyboard or lead.

Use it as your directory

We often get asked about printed directories, the old phone book list. Whilst infoodle does do this, including printing with photos, controlling what contact information gets printed for each person, we suggest you consider how secure having printed directories around the place really is. To be honest anyone can come in and take one. You can give everyone an online directory by giving your members their own login with a restricted view. Yes I know there are still people who do not have computers or smartphones, so just print them as they are requested; also it saves you on printing costs. Less can definitely be more.

Say 'Happy birthday'

People love to be acknowledged on their birthday or special anniversaries. Sending a card, note, email or even a text tells people you care, that you remember them, know them and makes them feel special, and they feel they belong. It's a little thing that can mean so much. I do this for our clients. When their anniversary comes up on my home page, I send out an email. Job done in less than a minute.

Start tracking

Groups help you to keep track of where your people are at and what they are involved in - but there is more information you can track by using your own custom fields. For example you may want to keep a record of when people first became a member, you can then run a report on how long each person has been a member for. Maybe they need to renew their membership each year, by running a report or using the anniversary widget you know who needs to renew.

Explore your data

Use reports to explore your data. You can get really creative with this. For example, you could run a report selecting all the females aged between 13 and 18 that live in Bethlehem because you are starting a young girls mentoring group and want to invite them all along to the launch event. From the report page you can go straight to email.

Customise what data you collect

With the new reporting standards that took effect from the 1st April 2015 you must capture the data you will need to include in your end of year filing. For example you may have as part of your mission to help the less fortunate by giving food parcels. You could enter into infoodle the people who received parcels, when they received a parcel and so do a report on the number of parcels that where provided. By entering the names and details of those who you gave a parcel to you could follow up with them how things were going, invite them to a CAP course you were doing etc.

Automate tasks with workflows

Set up some workflows, for example when a new contact is entered into the database:

  • enter them into a new contacts group and send an email to them welcoming them and telling them a little more about your organisation.
  • set up a reminder to call or visit them or even send them an invitation to a new comers lunch.
  • add them to the newsletter group, and update your mailchimp email list.

The options are endless and depend on your own workflow.

Well thats 10 things to start you off with. We have found that the more people do with infoodle the more they discover how infoodle can help. Why not attend some of our free online training to learn about the latest advances we've made – we're always moving forward.

By Aukje - infoodle