We have a database or two, but staff only puts in the minimal required data. We use spreadsheets to track our “real work”
Congratulations on getting a database going! You’re likely to have a “purpose built” system that’s designed for specific business processes such as donor management or case management. The complexity of your organizational processes is likely to be low, while the flexibility of your systems will also be low. Because systems typically don’t interact with one another at this stage, you will likely find it is still a manual process to synthesize information across multiple programs or connect the activities from one department (e.g., program) to another (e.g., funding or accounting).
At this stage, be careful about purchasing any “custom built” technology. You may not have consistent data compliance from your staff, and the total cost of ownership becomes prohibitive. For this reason, it is better to adopt a solutions that has very clear rules – even if they’re not a perfect fit fo your org.
You should also be thinking about basic data governance as an internal enforcement standard. Typically, this will involve some internal reporting and reconciliation of duplicates and entry errors. It should definitely be someone’s responsibility and be supported by leadership.