Database Development

El Centro de la Raza
VISTA Name: 
Mike Moore
Program Start: 
Program End: 
Project Description: 

Initially, the Vista member focused on database development to increase the technological capacity and efficiency of El Centro de la Raza (ECLR). Starting from scratch, Mr. Moore was able to build a centralized demographics database based primarily on Microsoft Access. In order to accomplish this, he needed to analyze previous systems utilized by staff, troubleshoot, and develop solutions to migrate the infrastructure in a manner that staff could utilize effectively. After completing this task, he completed a manual detailing usage and offered informal trainings to staff. The Vista member was also asked to update other databases (donor, volunteer, and grant tracker databases) in order to improve the tracking and reporting capacity of staff. Mr. Moore was also asked to monitored the server, install standard organizational computer configurations, update other technological systems, assist with events, and other software duties as necessary.

Project Outcome: 

Throughout the service year, Mr. Moore showed a great deal of flexibility by taking on new tasks and meeting agency needs as well as those specifically involving the databases. He also showed his development capability by increasing the effectiveness of our databases, and helping our staff increase their reporting accuracy. Mr. Moore’s efforts led to the following successes:

1. Developed a new centralized demographics database to prevent duplication in reporting to major funders,
2. Increased the efficiency of the donor database,
3. Increased the accuracy of the grant tracker database,
4. Increased the accuracy and usability of the volunteer database,
5. Began to rebuild ECLR’s homepage,
6. Helped fulfill ECLR’s server needs in the absence of a part-time IT Manager, ­
7. Helped to install standard software packages on new ECLR hardware, and
8. Assisted staff with Microsoft Office problems.

Mike Moore came to El Centro de la Raza expecting to primarily customize an existing system, migrate data, tutor users and monitor data input. However, by the end of the first week, our staff realized his experience and capabilities were well suited for so much more. Mike quickly realized that the database El Centro proposed to utilize was difficult to tailor to our needs. Compounding the problem was an IT Staff that was difficult to reach and slow to respond. Mike projected that this customization and full utilization process would take close to the entire year simply to implement, no less train staff and begin to migrate data. This was time that our agency did not have, as major funders pressed us to improve our accuracy and develop unduplicated counts of individuals served. Mike recognized the immediacy of our needs, and proposed to build a database specifically customized to track demographic data in a format we could fully utilize. Working alongside staff members from a number of different departments, Mike noted each person’s need and a series of solutions to maximize the database’s efficiency and usability. On top of accomplishing other tasks associated with his placement (tutoring and modifying other databases), Mr. Moore was able to complete a workable system in just under five months. This left plenty of time to migrate data to the system and meet all of our deadlines.

Transmission Project