Membership database updates



I have created a membership database for our local branch of a charity and
designed various queries and reports to analyze particular trends. The source
table I called Members Jan 08 but I receive updates every quarter and when I
import the new membership list naming it Members Mar 08 and change references
to Jan 08 to Mar 08 in the queries and reports several of them fail to work.
I have had to recreate the queries and reports all over again.

I don't want to have to do this every quarter so is there an easier way of
doing this like running a find/replace query?



Duane Hookom

Why not just name your table "tblMembers" or "Members" without storing any
data values in the table name?


Duane is correct. Having multiple tables with the same data is never a good
idea. You are already seeing the side effects.

If you need to separate the data by quarter (can't imagine why), you can add
a field to your table that defines the Year and Quarter. I have such a field
in a table in one of my apps. I carry it as Text in this format: yyyyq (for
first quarter 2008 it would be 20081. I use an input mask and format of
@@@@[email protected]


Of course the other folks are correct, but you might want to start with a
couple fundamental questions:

Is membership status something that is tied to a particular quarter (i.e.
they are members for one quarter at a time) or is it just that you received
updates quarterly but membership is for a longer period (e.g. for 1 year,
until the end of the calendar year, indefinitely until modified etc.)

What specifically are you recording? Obviously, "membership", but that's
too vague. Answer in the context in the previous and next paragraph.

I run membership databases for a lot of organizations. For most situations
the best solution is table with fields for the other information such as
membership status. The table can either be such that the presence of a
record means somehtin g(like they are a current member) or, preferably, be a
list of current and past members with fields that contain relevant membership

Is it just "who is currently a member".


I'm guessing that when you receive your list, you don't know if the members
in your current table are also in the new list.
If you do have a way of identifying members (other than name and Date of
birth, which is never 100% reliable) like a unique membership number, we can
help you to make a query which sets a CurrentMember tickbox to True if the
member appears in your new list and all the other members in your Current
Table to False.
If you need to Archive your old records (because there are loads of names),
you can use an Append query to add all the 'False member's to an archive
table which will have a Year field so that you know which year they were
members. The False members will be deleted from your main table using a
simple delete query.
The Archive Table is created by copy/pasting your current table (without the
Add a Year field to both tables to contain the year number.

This method means that you have the option to retrieve a member from the
Archive table and append him back if you still want his data and even use a
Union Query to unite the Archive and normal table so that you can view eg a
membership history of your charity.

You can now use your table without any name changes for reports and queries.
You can also copy and pasted of some of your reports and queries, changing
their name to eg QryArchiveMembers, RptArchivePayments adjusting the table
in the query grid to your Archive table and adjusting the Record Source of
the reports to point to these 'Archive' queries

The only alteration you will need to do to reports is to add a Year field
and group them by that.


Yes you are correct. Each member does have a unique membership number which I
make the primary key. There is also a field Date Joined but unfortunately the
new list I receive has new members but not suspended members who may return
or those who have resigned.

From your explanation I think it is what I am seeking but I am not sure I
understand it completely. Could your solution mean I have one list of members
with a field for indicating "Date Removed" so that after importing the
updated list into a new table I run a query that adds new members to the
members table and for members not found in the update it adds the current
month/year in the Date Removed field. Some of those members that do not
appear in an updated list may simply be suspended because they have not paid
and are reinstated once they have paid up to date so I need to keep their
details on record.

I don't think I need to archive the data as we have only 1300 members in the
branch and we don't expect it to go beyond 10,000.

In a Report that I have created using the wizard the record source field is
blank and when I have added a different source record from the one on which
it was created I find it does not work. Why is this?

I do need help writing these queries as I am not an expert in Access, just a
guy who volunteered to do the job as I have some experience in using it.




The reason your report's record source is blank is beccause the table on
which they were based no longer exists. If you click next to RecordSource
you can then choose a different table or query from the list on which to
base your report. When you stop renaming your tables, this will no longer
If you don't have to remove non-current members then it is even easier - no
need for an archive table.

You definitely *don't* need a different field for current members, just
filter using your DateRemoved field or even a tickbox Yes/No field if you
need also need some other way to indicate someone has left.
Your unique membership number will ensure that you don't accidentally add
member twice.
I really don't understand why you have been renaming tables. Is it because
you need to look back to who was your member on any one year? I can see why
that could be tricky if a member is suspended and then re-instated but there
will be a way of doing that if it is needed.

You will create a query based on your members table. It can have all the
same fields if you wish. You could call it QryCurrentMembers
In the criteria line under Date Removed, type
Is Null

(for past members your criteria will be Is Not Null)

In Design View of your report, click next to Record Source and choose this
query instead of your Table.

Which are the queries you are unsure about creating? We can 'talk' you
through them if we know what you don't already know.



Many thanks, this is most helpful.

Yes you are correct the Reports do have a source record but the Charts do
not even though the query on which they are based still exists.

The reason I was renaming tables is that I built the database using the Dec
07 members list I received. I received an update in Feb 08 and created a new
table. Although I could easily establish who the new members were from the
DateJoined field I used the "Unmatched Query Wizard" to find the members that
were not in the list as there is no MembersRemoved field in the lists I am
sent (I have asked for this data but as yet I am not being sent it)

Now I have gone back to the first table I created and have created a new
query as you suggested and presumably I simply produce another copy with
different criteria depending on whether I want a list of new members or a
list of ex-members.

Now, how do I import the updated lists for Feb and Mar as there is no
MemberRemoved field? Even if I create such a field before I import it, it
will be blank. If I import the data into the existing table I won't know if
any members have been removed from the later list


If you don't mind bluntness that only intended to try to be helpful.

I run membership data / dabases for 6 organizations, 2 of them for over 20

You never explained the key points, but they are finally starting to come

Now it looks like there is something fundamentally wrong with what's
happening. It sounds your organization is running two databases that are,
doing the same thing. And they are sending you "updates" in the worst
possible way (just the whole list, with no useful fields about additions /
deletions) and then you are trying to go through contortions trying to deal
with this fundamentally mixed up situations. So, your efforts to deal with
that mess are a good tough workout for learning Access, but is much more
difficult that it should be.

The best thing would be for your organization to decide who is running the
membership database, and for that function there should only be one database.
All CHANGES should then get entered in THAT database. And all data and
reports that people need should come from that database.




I don't mind bluntness but I did explain that the list I am handling is for a
local branch of a charity. The main database is in HQ and they send me a list
of members in my branch. HQ can do all sorts of things with the database but
the branch needs to understand its members so that is why I want to look at
local trends. I was able to create all the necessary Reports and Charts but
the difficulty I have is when I receive an update from HQ. that omits
ex-members but may have address changes and other changes that means I cannot
use the members table I have currently.

Perhaps what I need to do is
a) import the update into a new table and name it NewMembers,
b) run the "unmatched query wizard" with the CurrentMembers table to
identify the ex-members ,
c) check the MembersRemoved field and delete the rest
d) merge this list with the NewMembers table
e) delete the CurrentMembers table and rename the NewMembers table as
CurrentMembers so that the Reports and Charts work.

Incidentally, when I rename a table does it automatically update all
references to that table because I tried this and it didn't seem to work.

If you can help me write a query to do this in less steps it would be


To supply a missing field, in the Append query add a column into which you
can type

(if Member Removed is a tick field which you want to set to Ticked)
or (for example)
if it's a date field and you want to put the date when they were removed (a
better idea than a tick field). If you haven't been given an actual date
then you can use the date when you received your new list or the Date
indicated by the table name in your Append Query if you are appending past

That will add your data from your old tables.

When you get your new data, you will use your Find Unmatched query to see
who isn't there, add your MemberRemoved field from your main table to the
grid, check you have the correct data, change the query to an UpdateQuery,
untick the fields you don't want to update but keep them in the query grid
if they are filtering something and put the date you desire in the Update
To line

Dates have to be surrounded by # and have the format month slash day slash
year in full

Having done that, you can now append your new members. Because your
MemberRemoved field is left blank, you don't need to do anything about that.

As you correctly say, you can now use filtered queries to show old and new

There is only one thing you may need to consider which will make the whole
thing more tricky. (but still do-able). I'm still wondering what the
thinking was behind having the different tables in the first place.

Do you have to keep a record of when members were removed and re-added? If
yes then we will need to change the structure of your database. As it is
currently, if a member was removed in 1997 and re-added this year but then
removed, you will have no way of knowing that he was a member in 1996.

Of course, if this doesn't matter, then all is well but if it is necessary
then you will need to add another table to your database where a member is
added and removed more than once so that you can see each time he was in the
club. (Yes, Old Howard has been with us for 35 years now - although he only
actually paid for 2 of those years!)

You will still need your members table, which will contain each member only
once and will have the date he originally joined the club but the members
Table will be added to this second table by MemberNumber field.
The new table could have an Autonumber Primary Key field. It will have
MemberNumber and your Members table will be linked to it via this.

.. So all members will be appended when they first subscribe but if they
lapse and are suspended, the date of their suspension will be recorded in
this new table and if they are re-instated they will be added again with the
new date of their re-instatement

Just something to ruin your sleep....

Any comments on this, Fred? You are the membership db expert. I'm assuming
that poor Pennington won't be able to insist on the updates that will make
his job easier. He may even be knocking his head against my pet hate 'We've
always done it this way!'




Many thanks, its a lot to take in and its getting late over here. Just a few
more details befiore I sign off for the day.

As I have a DateJoined field I don't need to know when someone left then
came back becuase if the re-applied they will have a different joining date.

You mention Update Queries and Append Queries but I can't find how to write
these. I am using Access 2000 and the Help does mention Design View having an
arrow next to Query Type but I don't see this. I also don't seem to be able
to reveal it on the toolbar either. When I click New Queries, Update Query,
Append Query are not among the choices given. Can you help?

In case you are still wondering why I have different tables, I explained
that in the previous post. The list I receive from HQ is as Excel file so I
have to import it don't I?

Many thanks for your indulgence - I weill be back on-line in 8hrs or so.


Phew, you outlasted me Pennington.
Update and Append queries:
When you open any Query in Design View, click on the toolbar just next to
the Query Type button (it looks like 2 rectangles in 'cascade' view and says
Query type on the Tooltip when you hover the cursor over it). There is a
black down-arrow where you can change your query to an Append or Update
query (plus a few useful others). If you don't see those choices, click the
double arrow at the bottom of your list to see the full list.
No need to learn Sql to create them.
I'm guessing that if you look at this fresh in the morning you will kick
yourself copiously for not having thought of it but having been 'raised' on
Win95 I too frequently forget about the darn double arrow.
This list will give you the choice of an Update or Append Query.
I thought you were already using an Append to put your imported Excel data
into your Access table otherwise I would have said so but now I see what is
happening. You are importing your Excel table, naming that as your current
table and renaming your old one.
No more, Pennington, no more! You will lose all your Default Values and
clever stuff if you do that.

To Append your data (ONLY once you have edited your Current table to get rid
of Ex members by updating the DateRemoved column with an update query)
Click on your Imported table while it is closed.

Go to Insert, choose query, choose Design View. Drag all the fields of your
imported table into the query grid. Use your Query Type button to change the
query to an Append and choose to append to your Current Table.
In the Append To row of the query, choose the fields to which you want to
add each column of data. Click the red Exclamation Mark to run the query.You
will be warned that you are adding x rows to your table. When you click Yes,
it will add. If you have any current members in your Import list, they won't
append and you will get a confusing message saying that Access didn't add x
rows because of Key violation. If you try to append your member's name to
your date field or something like that, then you will get the message that x
rows (all of them) weren't added because of Data Type violations.

I recommend that if you aren't used to using them that you make a copy of
your database (copy and paste in Windows Explorer) and practice updates and
appends there until you get used to them.


Can I also suggest that you add a new field to your Current Table. Call it
AppendDate. It will be there for auditing only and you won't need to put
anything in it yourself or see it in any of your forms or reports.
Make its Default Value :
and change the Format to General Date so that it automatically records the
date and time when a new record is added. Then, if you accidentally append
something you didn't mean to append, you can use this field to find what it


Good morning Evi. Well whatever you might think I should see on my screen, I
hate to tell you that I can't find the Query Type button and I have hovered
over every button, even added the Query Design Toolbar and no luck - I would
send you a screen shot if I knew how to attach it to this post.


Its OK. I have now installed the Query Type button using the Customise
feature - I can now proceed to follow your instructions Evi.




Couple of notes from the sidelines:

- Another way to get it is via the "query" dropdown menu when in design mode
in a query

- Sounds to me like your HQ is actually maintaining the membership database.
You are receiving and using copies of it. Can you just import and directly
use the whole thing that they send you each time?


I have now run Append and Update queries on a copy of the database and I am
now in the process of appending records for updates.

I only get a copy of the database filtered for my branch. I think I said
previously that in the lists HQ send me, they don't include those who have
left. I am trying to get them to denote deaths, resignations and suspensions
as I don't want to send emails to dead people pursuading them to rejoin. So I
need to compare current and updated lists to identify the leavers.

Thanks for your help. I'll be back when I have suceeded or failed.


I have encountered a problem.
When I run the Append Query it adds new members to the Members Table and
does not add duplicates which is fine but I want to also update the Members
Table where the data in a field is different (The Primary Key will not change
but titles, addresses and e-mails may change). I have looked at an Update
Query but this is not appropriate. What other type of query can I use for




An Update query can be used to do this.
When using Updates or Appends I always back up my database (s) first so that
if anything goes wrong, I can just go back to my original copy.

Add both your Current Table and your Imported table into the query grid.
Join them by the Membership Number (very important to do this)

Add eg Address from your CurrentTable to the query grid
Now (*changing the names to match your real data, of course*)
type in the Criteria row


That gives you a list of all the members whose addresses are different in
your current table from what they are in your Imported table.
Check visually.
Change the query to an Update Query. it will still be filtered
In the UpdateTo row under your CurrentTable's Address field type

This will copy the data from the Imported Table Address field for that row
into the Current Table Address field.

Note I've put 'boxes' around the field and table name just in case they
contain nasty stuff like spaces.

Eventually, this can be done more quickly using a macro to run the queries
one after another at the press of a button but for now, until you get used
to doing this, do it one field at a time, using a different query each time
so that you don't accidentally leave stuff in the query and check visually
after each update.


Pennington said:
I have encountered a problem.
When I run the Append Query it adds new members to the Members Table and
does not add duplicates which is fine but I want to also update the Members
Table where the data in a field is different (The Primary Key will not change
but titles, addresses and e-mails may change). I have looked at an Update
Query but this is not appropriate. What other type of query can I use for

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