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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2015

    Unanswered: Noob looking for brief advice

    Hi all, hopefully someone can give me a rough idea what I could be letting myself in for.

    This isnt a request for anyone to spoonfeed me an idiots guide (though I will need one from somewhere if I go ahead), just to find out whether I should buy an off the shelf program or build it myself (after learning how to!)

    I have zero experience with databases and all the language and features that come with them. I am however far more technophile than technophobe, use computers daily and am the usual 'go to guy' for any problem that has a plug on the end of it.

    I have MS Access 2010 and also Excel etc. but I can use a different program if necessary.

    I belong to a non-profit social club that takes memberships subscriptions annually. Each member has a number, they pay their fee and it gets marked in the book. Some members are elderly, cannot remember their numbers and lose their cards, and they always have names like Smith or Jones so I have to search through all the pages to find them (Member Number order)
    'All' I'm looking to do, is transfer this data onto a computer. Now I know this could just be dumped onto a spreadsheet, but it got me thinking I could make this far more intelligent.

    I'd like something that can hold their names and contact details, but also can tell you how long they've been a member for (after 25 years the annual fee drops so I'd like some automation or at least a flag)
    I'd like something that can keep track of each years payment because sometimes a member may not remember to pay and so the membership fee simply rolls over to the following year (we dont chase up fees, members simply become lapsed after 3 years and would become new members on return)
    We also have other optional pass cards that allow entrance to other clubs of the same association which cost a separate annual fee if they wish, so this would be nice to log.
    It would then be nice to print out all the necessary condensed information for the annual audit.

    Ultimately my question is "Can this be learnt and accomplished by myself in a reasonable time once I find out how to do it?" or are we talking lots and lots of learning and we're better off purchasing software/sticking with the lousy books.
    It seems relatively simple on the surface but considering I've never constructed a database, especially from scratch, I need to factor in everything. I'm practically talking myself out of it as I type this but all of the off the shelf software I've seen so far just seems overkill;

    Thanks for taking the time to read the above ramble.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Giving this some thought, you could manage this through 1 table or even a spreadsheet (if you are more comfortable in Excel). What you describe is member information and then a mechanism for updating their payments. While you could do that with 2 tables (one for membership and the other for payments), this seems straightforward enough to manage within 1 and some calculating between the date they joined and the last time they paid their fee.

    So your table would look like MemberID, FirstName, LastName, Address, City, State, Zip, Email, Phone, DateJoined, LastPayment

    In Excel, you would have an additional column to calculate any outstanding fees and you would just need to update the date fields.
    In Access, there would be a control/field which would have those same calculations on outstanding fees, and either you can (again) manage updating the date fields manually, or a button with a small procedure to update the record in acknowledgement of a dues payment.

    To answer your ultimate question, the bulk of your time would be spent on the calculations and possibly building the functionality of the button.

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