How do you keep track of your members?

We’ve been keeping track of our members and parents using a Google Docs spreadsheet for the past few years. It works, is easily shared, and is very flexible, but if you don’t know the conventions we’ve chosen (and which aren’t well documented) then it’s confusing and easy to completely mess up.

I’d like to upgrade to a real web-enabled membership database that keeps the data consistent and up-to-date. I’ve been looking at standardized web membership database companies (e.g. and, and at customizable web database companies (e.g., but haven’t found one that really fills the bill.

Here’s what we’re currently storing in the spreadsheet:

  • First and last name
  • Role in the team (e.g. software, electronics, mechanical, PR, mentor)
  • Graduating year
  • Email, address, home phone, cell phone
  • Parent information (names, phones, cell phones, companies)
  • T-shirt size
  • Whether they’re planning on attending various events
  • Interests

This all works well if only one person uses it, but when we have multiple people then we get different data, different formats, the sorting gets broken, the headers are changed. etc. etc. etc. It would be wonderful to have a reliable, shared system that’s easy to use but doesn’t let anyone mess up the data.

So, what do y’all use for your teams?

I’ve had a little bit of a dream of moving our entire team over to WordPress.

The platform is customizable enough that we could have everyone enter in their contact details, availability information, etc, all in the profile fields. You could just create other forms for additional data that would get filled out (events, member agreements, travel forms, etc) and use the email/user as the unique identifier.

It would be really easy to add permissions to the people that need to work on the website. You could even put a message board (buddyPress?) on top of it. Plus, with how WordPress already works anyone could submit a post for consideration and publish by an administrator (website team members/mentors).

As of right now, we do Google Forms and Google Spreadsheets to host most of our data. We make sure we always ask for an email and name. We store name, grade, contact info, parent info, t-shirt size, availability. At about 30-40 people (depending on the day) we’ve avoided assigning people to ‘teams’ because half of the time we’ll get programmers or builders that are bored and want to work on a marketing project, or vice versa.

We ran into the same problem a few years ago, and grew tired of having to deal with data that was all over the place, especially when trying to keep different sources current and containing the same data. So when we move to our new website, which was built from scratch, we decided to integrate a member login - from there, we’ve expanded it to keep track of their hours and forms as well. You can see this in the screenshot attached. Things like STIMS registration, whether they’ve turned in their required forms and paid for t-shirts, number of hours earned, size can be seen at a glance for all the students. It makes it very simple and easy to manage.

(Those aren’t real people. There is not, in fact, a member on our team named CRyptonite McSwagg, this is just a developmental version.)

We use the system that I personally created to track our hours. In the user details, I have email address and a phone number placed in there and I just realized that I should probably put in tshirt size as well.

We don’t have any digital systems for this, we use a pen and paper. :slight_smile:

Our team was lucky enough to have our build space hosted by a custom database company, for whom I am now employed. We use a database from them to store our team members. Just ask your programmers to design a web front-end for a MYSQL database and there you go. (Don’t worry if you don’t know what that means, they should.)

That is precisely what I did. I host the database through our webhost though. I also custom created the front end. I would like to make it look much nicer though, as it is a VERY basic html page most of the time.

Just pick up a nice CSS/JS framework for it and work with that, jQuery UI is a decent place to start.

Here is a template of the Google Spreadsheet that we used last year. It worked quite well. Feel free to make a copy of it and adapt it as needed.

Template of Student Information

We used Google Groups but moved to Groupspaces about a year ago because of the increased member database features. We use Groupspaces to manage member information and communicate. Groupspaces has had leadership changes, and don’t seem to be flourishing as a company, but they have the best fit for of functionality for our team. Features like requesting updates of information, nicely formatted emails, event registration with easy followup emails to registered participants.
Wild Apricot shows great promise but is missing listserve (distribution list) capability. With Groupspaces each sub team has it’s own distribution list accessible via an email address.