data collection, sharing, & updating

Thanks in advance for reading my LOOOOONG question :)

Basically, I am trying to figure out a simpler way to get and share information with people. Different people would need access to different sets of information.

Each year, the national Jobs with Justice office collects data from our local coalitions (affiliates) about what campaigns they have worked on in the past year. We collect different information for worker campaigns (eg union organizing) and community campaigns (eg economic development).

We store the information we collect in an access database, but it's really pretty much 2 flat files so it could be exported to excel or a google spreadsheet. However, because the information is fairly detailed, viewing the information in a flat file in order to update it is impractical.

We currently collect information on NEW campaigns that were not worked on in prior years via an online form and on paper (depending on who is filling out the information & what is easiest for them).

For campaigns that are ONGOING from the prior year, we currently merge the data we collected from the prior year into a word document and email a document to each coalition for updates. They either use the track changes function in MS word or make changes on paper & send back to us. We can then copy and paste information from the old database to the new one and make whatever changes are on the paper.

We also are starting to collect information about who their member organizations are, who key leaders are, etc.

I’ve thought about using something like google spreadsheets/forms to share the information that we want updated, which seems like it could be a good solution for lists of member orgs & leaders. But because you can’t display the data collected in any format but a spreadsheet (right?), that seems not very helpful for the campaign information. Though I suppose maybe if I “freeze panes” so that people could always tell what campaign they are on it wouldn’t be so bad. I guess I just worry that it will be a bit too confusing.

Can anyone think of other online tools that might help me do this? I’ve thought maybe some survey tool could help, but they seem to have some of the same problems…

To add another twist to this, ultimately, we’d like national staff who are working with our coalitions to be reviewing, sharing, and updating campaign information on an ongoing basis, and then having our coalitions review and add to it twice a year.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

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