Disadvantages of a Client Database
for the Missoula Foodbank


Client Database.  The MFB ended up putting this Access database on a single machine located at the entry where clients came in.  It certainly helped their processing times and the reliability of their information.  They were now able to search and retrieve information on past clients and update or correct it.  They could have enhanced their processing capabilities somewhat by configuring two computers so that they could both access the database at the entryway.  But this really wasn't all that important.

It might not surprise to find out that even in a fairly small city like Missoula, with probably around 120,000 people in the metropolitan area, the foodbank was still seeing about 7000 different clients each year.  Though, most of them repeated visits during the year.

When any of the administrative staff wanted to look at the data they would copy the most current information to a CD and work on it back in their office.

So, all in all, it worked pretty well.

Web Database.  But what would be some of the advantages of a web database?

  • more people could access it simultaneously from more remote locations
    • other buildings
  • profile information could be maintained and entered by the clients and not require near as much processing effort from a volunteer or staff person
  • other databases could be integrated into one overall unified system with consistent interfaces
    • donors database
    • mailing and email list data

But, at least in this situation, the client database met MFB needs quite adequately.