Search, Queries, and Reporting

Easy access to information in the system Easy access to information in the system rests largely on the effectiveness of the search function, the query builder, and the reporting tools. Some systems provide a global search available across all modules that will index and search numerous system fields. Each module (contacts, donations, reports, etc.) usually has a quick search as well to help locate information contained in those record types. Any system should let you generate useful lists of donors and potential donors based on different fields. There are three major components to querying: the ease with which nontechnical staff members can create queries, the flexibility with which you can create the queries you need, and what you can do with the lists once you’ve generated them. The first two components are nearly opposites of each other. It’s difficult to build a flexible querying tool that’s also easy to use. Some are easy but limit your options, while others are powerful but require sophisticated knowledge of databases and querying language to use them effectively. Some advanced systems do, in fact, succeed relatively well in both areas, though, with flexible querying that is not prohibitive for nontechnical users, either by using…