It is important to maintain a database of community members who attend your PRIDE organizing activities. Creating a database will help you communicate with your supporters following PRIDE events. For example, you may choose to invite these supporters to future events, keep them apprised of association activities, and make efforts to support your school budget through Get Out The Vote (GOTV) promotions.
A database is a collection of information that is related in some way. Your PRIDE database will most likely take the form of the names of community members who attend your events, their email addresses, and their home and cell phone numbers. You could also ask participants for their mailing addresses, number of children in the district, the schools that their children attend, etc. Keep in mind that the more information you ask for, the more hesitant people may be to offer it. We recommend that you keep your sign-in sheet relatively simple. Consult the “Members’ Only” section njea.org for examples of effective sign-in sheets under the “Parents and Community” tab. Select “PRIDE in Public Education” and check out the links.
There are many different types of databases available such as Microsoft Access databases, Oracle databases, MySQL databases and so on. Because Microsoft Office comes with Excel and Word, using Excel and Word as a databases is less expensive than purchasing additional software to house a database.
Excel may work better for you than Word because it offers users an easier way to extrapolate the data for email purposes. If you plan to email your PRIDE supporters, Excel may be the way to go.
If you want to house your database in Microsoft Word, we recommend that you create a table on which to store your information. Open a blank document and click on “Insert.” Then select “Table.” Consider the number of columns your table will have and place a heading above each. However, you will need to maintain a separate listing of email addresses outside of the table for the purposes of copying and pasting them into an email’s recipient field.
The remainder of this article will review how to create and maintain a database using Microsoft Excel.
Prior to reading the information below, you may be interested to learn that youtube.com contains some great how to videos on creating Excel databases. We recommend that you consult videos posted on the Youtube channel ExcelIsFun. For example, here is a great video titled “Excel Magic Trick #184: Setup Databases in Excel”:
Here is another video from a Youtube channel called freetutorials. This video is titled “Microsoft Excel #04: Excel as a Database”:
If you would prefer written instructions on creating a database, we recommend these Internet resources:
1. “Microsoft Excel 2007 / 2010 Step by Step Database Tutorial” from about.com. This article specifically targets Microsoft Office 2007 and 2010 users. It offers several screenshots and links to relevant information.
2. “How to Use Excel as a Database” from ehow.com. This article offers basic step-by-step instructions and includes information for Excel 2003 users.
3. “Create a Database in Excel” from Lock Haven University. This article includes a screenshots with arrows to highlight information.
Of course, more detailed resources can be purchased from your favorite bookstore or amazon.com. To find these resources, simply visit amazon.com and do a search for Excel.