5 Replies Latest reply on Apr 24, 2009 8:14 AM by TSGal

    New to Filemaker



      New to Filemaker


      Hello.. I am new to filemaker and I am trying to create a database that performs these functions...
      collect volunteer contact information...
      volunteers work for groups ... I need to track when a volunteer signs in and out and put these hours towards the group they work for...
      calculate total hours for the groups
      also know what area the volunteer was working in
      keep track of any equipment signed out to a volunteer... (Radio, Shirt, Cart.. ect...)

      Is file maker pro capable of this?...
      Also.. if it is .. would it be easier to just make more tables for the required information.. or seperate Databases for each task?
      Thanks for any help...

        • 1. Re: New to Filemaker



          Thank you for your post.


          Volunteer information can be put into a "Contacts" Table.  This is straight-forward, and it is available in any database product.


          -Volunteers work for groups

          Yes, this is also possible.  You may want to have a separate "Groups" table.  This way, there could be a lot of information about each Group.


          - I need to track when a volunteer signs in and out and put these hours towards the group they work for...

          Yes, you would create a "TimeCard" table that links to the Contacts Table as well as the Groups Table.  Here, you would select the Contact, the Group, and then the start and end times.


          - calculate total hours for the groups

          Since you have a link from the "TimeCard" table into the Groups table, you can list the Group table and view all volunteer hours in the TimeCard table associated with each group, where you can then count the number of timecard entries as well as total the hours.


          - also know what area the volunteer was working in

          I'm a little confused by this.  However, this may be better represented in the TimeCard table.  Since this relates to the Volunteer/Contact, you can see what areas the volunteer worked.


          - keep track of any equipment signed out to a volunteer

          Yes, you could have an "Equipment" table.  Create a "Equipment Tracking" table that would link to the Volunteer table as well as the Equipment table.  Fields would include sign-in and sign-out.  You could do this without using an "Equipment Tracking" table, but you would not have any history of what equipment was checked out the most amount of times.


          I'm hoping this gives you a good starting point.  I would advise downloading a free 30-day trial of FileMaker Pro from our web site and working with it to see if it is right for you.



          FileMaker, Inc. 



          • 2. Re: New to Filemaker


            Thanks for the quick response...

            I do have an evaluation copy of FMP...  and I like how it works so far.. although, I am new to databases and any info is of great interest... I have also purchased a book which has some good info...

            I am putting together a database for a non profit show and think this solution will work.. when I figure out some of the functions of the program...

            What I need to do is keep track of our volunteers, and the hours they accumulate for the group they are putting time in for... eg, it may be a softball team or a football team...

            I also have many areas in which the volunteers may be needed... eg... Security, front gate, Bar staff ect....

            So when they show up to volunteer, we assign them to the area we need them and when they leave they sign out.... They could sign in multiple times over the event weekend....


            I have started putting something together... just trying to figure out how to link the tables together....Also.. Do I need to have a serial number attached to each record? I have done this for contacts and called it Vol_ID  ... Do I need to do this with the other tables as well?


            Thanks for your input...



            • 3. Re: New to Filemaker



              When connecting tables together, you need some kind of unique identifier.  Some people use combination of Last Name and First Name, but you can run into problems if you have two people named "John Smith", or if a person gets married and the last name is changed.  Having a serial number is generally a good idea, because it is definitely a unique identifier.


              Vol_ID is good.  Since each group is unique, you would want to consider some kind of identifier, too.  For Inventory, you would need some way to uniquely identify each item.  Stores use a SKU code or Product Code.  Does this make sense?


              When a person is putting in hours, you have a date, time in, time out, and then you want to link this to a particular person and a group through the identifier/key field.


              Pull down the File menu and select "Manage -> Database...".  Click on the Relationships tab, and you will see a graphical representation of all of your tables.  If you click the Vol_ID field from the Volunteers table, and drag it over to the Vol_ID field in the TimeCard table (from my example above) and let go, a line now connects the two tables together based upon the Vol_ID field in both tables.


              Let me know if you have any difficulties setting this up.



              FileMaker, Inc.

              • 4. Re: New to Filemaker

                Ok... I have been playing around....  I have set up a couple of tables...   One for Volunteer information and one for groups...

                I have given volunteer info a primary key of  Contact ID   ... and a primary key for groups   group_ID

                What I want to do is when entering information about the Volunteer I would like to select the group he or she is involved with from a drop down list... I have achieved this so far  (But I am able to enter the field and change or edit the record of the group from the other table... I don't want to be able to do this...)


                Also I would like the groups table to keep track of the voluteers that are assigned to each group....  How can I do this?  So basically I want to be able to go to a groups record and see all the voluteers that have selected that group on the drop down menu...


                Thanks for the help....


                • 5. Re: New to Filemaker



                  If you change the drop down list to a pop-up list, you won't have the ability to change/edit the group record.  When you become familiar with Accounts and Privileges, you could leave the field as a drop-down and to only View the data (that is, not make changes).


                  Since you have a relationship set up between Volunteers and Groups, you can always go to a layout with the Group information, and create a portal back into the Volunteer table.  This would then automatically show you all the volunteers assigned to the group.



                  FileMaker, Inc.