National Urban League — Affiliate Database Network

Background/Purpose — The National Urban League (NUL) requested a database to collect, track and report on activities from their115 member Affiliates nationwide. The database needed to be accessible by all Affiliates, have the ability to store, share and track information on Affiliate programs and services. In addition, NUL wanted a system that did not require them to hire a full-time person to manage. We recommended putting the database on the Web with built-in security and access levels.

  • Organization Size — 100
  • Time Importance — the design of the database was critical for the upcoming regional conferences which started in March. We went to the first regional with the Beta copy. We incorporated feedback from each regional into improving the design. The project began in January and lasted about 3 months.
  • Implementation and Design —We met with key NUL program staff and further defined the database re quirements. We also reviewed a breakdown of program categories and determined the primary and secondary tables database relations, and look-up tables. We designed the Access backend first and then proceeded with the web development. Midway in the project one key person (program staff) was designated as the main contact for the project. During the design phase, 10 Affiliates were selected to provide feedback on the database design, navigation, and ease of use. The end result was that each Affiliate could update and edit their information only and the National Urban League would have access to all Affiliate information to generate reports. All users could query data and view reports.
  • Training — a training manual was designed and sent to all Affiliates; we provided on-site staff training at NUL main offices for selected Program Staff; and training was provided for all the Affiliates at NUL’s four Regionals.
  • Maintenance and Support — after completion of the project–we provided a monthly maintenance and support agreement to provide on-going support for the database.
  • The Success of the Project — the National Urban League worked with all programs areas to define the various categories and groups for selection in their database; this was done in advance of the design; putting the database on the web created a central location for all Affiliates to share information and there was no need to purchase software for the project.
  • Challenges — keep the project on track while working with new staff who were brought on late in the project; how to increase Affiliate use of the database; keep abreast of staff changes at the 115 member Affiliates and provide them with timely training on the database program.
  • Long Range Plans — provide ongoing training at Regionals and Workshops, develop and design specialized reports by downloading the database from the web; and design a new module that will include an Events/Meetings module to keep the Affiliates coming to the site more often.


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