Should we convert to ebase or stick with Excel?

Should we convert to ebase or stick with Excel?

Submitted by Lisa on Fri, 09/14/2007 - 14:46.
Getting started

Hi. We're a small organization with one director and a revolving small set of volunteers (I'm one of them). We have 600 records now in in our mailing list, and I'd anticipate that we'd probably grow to just 1,500. I thought ebase would be a good way to efficiently track payments and easily generate mailing labels. Perhaps we'd eventually start to track relationships such as volunteers, and we'd use some of the reports.

Now I'm not so sure that we should switch over from Excel. After reading through comments in the forum, particularly regarding the way families and individuals are handled, I'm worried that we won't be able to easily generate something as simple as mailing labels.

For example, will we be able to easily generate mailing label data for all people in our database including individuals who have no family links AND families, or does that require a bunch of special steps? I'm worried that we'd get seperate label data for individuals who are part of a family.

I realize that printing these labels may not be straight forward, but I can always merge the data into Word -- I'm worried about how complicated it is to generate something as easy as mailing label data. I'm pretty confident that I can set up our data in ebase, but I don't want to get our small organization into a database that is complicated to use given we'll be using only its basic features.

Your thoughts? Thanks, Lisa

ebase or Excel?

To start a lot of NPO's (nonprofit organizations) do start tracking with Excel, so you're in good company. Excel can track simple data, but it is not a relational database with the maturity and robustness of ebase.
Ebase excels at tracking multiple criteria about donors and constituents. It has some wonderfully useful built-in reports and features, all from the suggestions and real-life usage of other NPO's from several years of live usage to manage their organizations.

The specific label concern you have is handled by ebase in very cool logic setup.
One, ebase looks to see if the record is an individual, an organization/company, or a family record.
If an individual, it places the information on the label in the manner specified by the USPS addressing best practices.
If an organization/company, it looks to see if there's a Primary Organizational Contact, if so, it addresses it to this POC.
If it's a family record, ebase looks to the addressing fields used for family mailings.
So you can see, there's logic built into ebase that far out thinks and performs the abilities of a flat-file data set that Excel is capable of.

To not send to a family record AND the individual record... you can tag a record "Do not contact", or use a log code item, or eliminate address duplicates before generating an address list. Many ways of doing this.

So, grab a copy of ebase and start playing around... read the manuals too. Overall, you'll find ebase a far more intelligent, friendly, and more powerful way of tracking you nonprofit orgs data, people, donations, and more! Every day, some one finds a new use for ebase, because of it's free form data collecting/tagging methods.

Hope this helps -- Tim Leed