I have been working with our synagogue's social justice committee on
a spreadsheet of people who are likely to come out for events, etc.
It's on Google drive, because that is what the leaders of the group
seem best able to access and use--tried Excel on Dropbox and that
just didn't work for this group of people.
But, for the information I'd like to track, we're starting to have a
messy spreadsheet, and I'd like to figure out how to do better.
Short requirements: has to be hosted--if I am not available, or move
away, it has to remain long-term usable, and the data have to be
exportable when turnover among leadership leads to a different
preferred platform. Has to be familiar enough, and easy enough, that
at most we spend two minutes with the "this is where the info from
this event will be stored" and we're off.
I did consider Salesforce, because it is free to non-profits, and
could eventually scale to the whole organization and many other uses--and one day, perhaps that's what we'll use. But I don't know
it well enough to make it sane to set things up for this committee
so that it is as easy as it needs to be, and that makes it every
expensive in terms of time and maintenance. Likewise, open source
tools like CiviCRM are incredibly expensive in terms of those same
two factors: time and maintenance.
I also do more than just note who is attending/attended events. When
planning for an event, I try to track who is committed to calling a
person, whether they got called, whether they are participating,
whether they followed through, etc. Once the event is over, I try to
store random info in a "notes" column, and when we add new names, I
want to indicate whence we got them (sign up sheet? conversation
with a member? volunteered?). I haven't yet figured out the best way to indicate members of a family when more are active. Short term, if two or more are similarly active (e.g., if both/all partners in a relationship come to events), I sort by the person we know best, and note the rest in "notes". Two people who are differently active, get their own entries, and we use notes to point to the spouse/SO/kid/parent/whatever.
It occurs to me that I can satisfice if I simplify what I do. If the
"who will call this person and did they promise to come" columns are
reusable--erased after each event--then I need store only whether
the person attended and/or how much they gave in a column for the
event. If they said they would participate and didn't, add that to
"Notes". If they are only interested in certain types of events,
that can go in an "interests" column (separate from notes, so that
we can rapidly target people who are actively interested in Criminal
Justice or Education or blacklivesmatter to make calls on a bill at
the local legislature, for instance).
For our scale, that gives us an ongoing, slowly growing spreadsheet
that makes it easy to see who is active, who =was= active but
dropped out (should be a conversation leading to "notes"
periodically if they are still connected to the synagogue--interests
change, life changes--but they also change further), and what moves people in our congregation in general
There are further refinements--people outside the congregation we
stay in touch with or with whom we work together, speakers, special
Does this make sense? Is there some hosted tool that makes this
easier? Does it sound way overly elaborate? What works for you and your organization? #nonprofit #nonprofitmanagement #organizing