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Managing members in Excel can be a nightmare

Updated: Sep 23, 2021

If you’ve thought about switching to membership management software, now is the perfect time to do so. Here’s why:

Take an example

“What happened to the membership Excel sheet?” Lara asked, trying to keep the panic out of her voice.

As the membership chair of a service club, Lara did her best to keep track of member data. She’d inherited the club membership Excel template, which she’d finally gotten organized and up to date (sort of), and now someone had… done things to it.

“Oh!” said Tina, the club secretary. “I think the volunteer committee added some fields.”

“I see,” Lara said. “And the... color-coding?”

“That was for dues, I think the finance committee did that to help track who needs to pay,” Tina explained.

“Great,” Lara sighed. “Would you please remind everyone that all spreadsheet changes should go through me?”

After she recovered from her initial annoyance, Lara had to admit that the Excel issues weren’t really anyone’s fault. It was the only thing they had for membership management, and different chairs and committees all needed access to the data.

The problem wasn’t the rogue color-coders. It was Excel. A spreadsheet could only do so much.

As she thought about it, Lara found that the club membership Excel template ate up a lot of her time. Half of the leadership team didn’t use it, calling Lara for the data instead. The only way to keep the data under control was to try and route changes through her — consequently, she was constantly updating things. There was no way to track current or lapsed members, and address changes alone accounted for a lot of her time. It would be nice, Lara thought, if she could spend some of that time on membership recruitment and engagement.

The fact was, the club had grown beyond the capabilities of a spreadsheet. They needed a membership database.

If you’re using a club membership Excel template, you probably have a story or two like Lara’s.

Maybe you’ve outgrown it, need more functionality than a spreadsheet provides, or are worried about data security.

Maybe you’re just tired of emailing files back and forth to team members, with your data getting messier with every share.

A membership database can solve all those problems, save you time, and help you function more smoothly and easily during the COVID-19 era and beyond.

At first, Lara hesitated to make any changes. COVID-19 had drastically altered the club’s activities, and it seemed like a weird time to try something new. But as she thought about it, she realized that an online database was uniquely suited to this particular time.

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