How to Use Access As a Donor Database

by Andrea Helaine

Non-profit organizations that accept donations from private donors or even private foundations should set up a donor database. Using a Microsoft Access database as a donor database is a method of managing donations and facilitating correspondence.

Using Access as a Donor Database

Step 1

Go to the Microsoft Office website and choose Templates, Industry Categories and Non-Profit. There is an option for the Charitable Contributions database. Choose the option and click on download. Read the user agreement as required and choose accept, then choose save.

Step 2

Open the file in WinZip or a similar decompression program to extract the files, then locate the folder where the files are saved and double click to open the template. Rename the Access template to donor database or whatever name you choose.

Step 3

When you open the donor database, take a few moments to familiarize yourself with the options. The primary areas included will be campaigns, contributors, donations, employees, events and tasks. Unlike some of the previous versions of Microsoft Access charitable donations, there is limited amount of work on your end to create the database as the template has been updated.

Step 4

Go to campaigns and personalize the page and type in any campaigns that you currently have. Enter the financial information of contributions to date. There will be a histogram that depicts the fundraising goals, campaigns, and events. This will help you track the total amount verses the amount raised.

Step 5

Track events and enter them by giving them names. If they are associated with a specific campaign, you will have a chance to enter the name of the campaign on this form. Events are also able to be kept as independent if it is not meant to go towards a specific project.

Step 6

Pull down the campaign details and go to report donations to enter any private donations or grants that are towards a specific campaign or purpose. Type in the name of the donor into Access and any promised pledge or paid amount. You can also enter a category for the donor, such as a charity, parent, individual or alumnus. This can help you sort out the contributors to create database reports.

Go to quick links and then employees. Click on add new contributor; then put each individual's pending tasks. Any employee who will have database access should have her name entered into the database. The area will have an option to have the title of the task, who the task is assigned to, the status of the project and due date. This can help you easily oversee and manage your employees.


  • There is a template help section on Microsoft, but be aware that the program often lacks technical support and that there are no courses to learn how the system works.


  • Back the Microsoft Access Donor Database up to a secure server and off-site system to help keep your organization's records safe.
  • Always ask if you can have a product demo or have a trial for a donor database before purchasing to make sure that you have all of the features that your organization will need.
  • If you want to add a home button on each page, this can help you navigate back to the primary page to keep open tabs to a minimum.


About the Author

Andrea Helaine has a Bachelor of Philosophy in theology and is currently finishing her thesis course for a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing. Helaine has been writing professionally for over 10 years and has been published in several anthologies and is currently breaking into the screenwriting market.

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