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Group Project starting in July

From: user 4.
Sent on: Thursday, June 28, 2012 11:48 PM

To All Members:

Starting at our July meeting, we will begin working on a "group project" which is intended to allow all of us to learn new skills in creating a database in Access from the ground up. I have been doing some posting on Craigslist, and I have been successful in making contact with an organization that needs our help.

This man, Charlie, who is a doctor by trade is a volunteer on the board of the organization and he is the treasurer responsible for keeping track of the donations and expenses for his group. He made it clear that he is not an accountant, so he needs an application that will make the management of their finances easy for him. In addition, they need reports that will make all this information easy to understand.

Below is the letter that Charlie sent me that describes his needs. I am asking you to review this letter and make notes of your ideas on how we can best construct his database that will make it easy to use.

I have also posted this letter on our groups message board in case you need to review it further.

We look forward to seeing you at our next meeting on July 16th from 6:00-7:30pm at the Berkeley Public Library, 2090 Kittredge Street, Berkeley, CA, 94704.


Steven Schuyler

Group Coordinator

Berkeley Access Database Users Group


======== MESSAGE FROM CHARLIE ==============

Hi Steve,


Thanks so much for your phone conversation yesterday and your offer to help me and my small non-profit organization, the Lopez Community Trails Network or LCTN.


Please check out our website for a glimpse at our vision, mission, goals and history. Basically, we live on a beautiful island in the Salish Sea in Northwest Washington and want to develop a network of trails throughout our small island.

As I mentioned I am the somewhat finance and computer challenged fellow charged with being the Treasurer of our fledgling organization. My previous background as a physician did not prepare me for this role in my retirement.

Our/my needs from you and the Berkeley Access Database Users Group may seem quite simple to you but complex to me. What I need is a program which will keep track of our finances both the income (from donations) and the expenses (for specific projects).  I’d like to be able to report this information on a month to month basis to the LCTN steering committee.

Associated with the income we need to maintain a data base of our donors with at least the following information; 1. Last name 2. First name 3. Address  (street number, street, city, zip code) 4. Telephone number  5. E-mail address 6. Amount of gift 7. Date of gift and 8. Date that an acknowledgment was sent (by e-mail or by letter).

I would like to be able to find the amount of money each donor has given each year and the total to the present. I would also like to be able to slice and dice in such a manner that I could look at the donors 1) by total dollar amount given and 2) alphabetically.

For some (usually the larger amounts) of the donations a tax deduction is requested. Because our organization has not gone through the expense and paperwork of requesting a 501(c)(3) status, we funnel the donations for which a tax deduction is requested through another organization, the San Juan County Land Bank. They are able to make these donations tax deductible under the Internal Revenue Service Code Section 170(c)(1)provision. The attachment shows a sample letter.

We have two types of acknowledgment communications for the donations. If an e-mail address is available and a tax deduction is not being requested for the donation, I will often send an e-mail acknowledgment. If I do not have an e-mail address, a written letter will be sent. If the donation is tax deductible a written letter is always sent. See attachment.

Our funds are held in two accounts. We have a Savings Account with our local bank, Islanders Bank in which we have all the money donated for which a tax deduction has not been requested. We also have an account held by the San Juan County Land Bank. I will need to have a column for each account and have a running total for each and for the two combined. Currently we have $1010 in Islanders Bank and $620 is being held for us by the Land Bank.

Our expenses are varied. For instance we have had some expenses promoting our organization which have included a survey which included a bulk mailing. We have had expenses for food for a picnic we hosted for the general island public on National Trails Day. And we are anticipating a rather large expense ($1600) for a specific trail building project. I would like to be able to note the date and the reason for each expense and be able to group all expenses related to a particular purpose.

When I have the program you devise I would like to enter retrospectively the donations and expenses data.

Hopefully this will give you a general idea of my needs and desires. Again, I want to thank you and the Berkeley Access Database Users Group very much for your help. I realize that it may take some time for your group to pull this together but sooner rather than later would be greatly appreciated.


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