Today’s post was written by Karl Donaubauer, Microsoft Access MVP
|Imagine life as a child living and sleeping on the streets of Kolkata, hungry and barefoot, searching for trash to sell and begging to stay alive. This is reality for thousands of children today, and their future options are unimaginable.|
The Austrian charity ZUKI (abbreviation of “Zukunft fur Kinder,” or “A future for children”) has a clear mission: to support the India-based non-profit organization “Missionaries of the Word”, founded in 1998 by Xavier Raj Arul, a local hero who has dedicated his life to helping the children of Kolkata.
Thanks to the generosity of many long-time donors, ZUKI and Xavier are providing children with a secure bed, three meals a day, a pair of real shoes, a school uniform, education and professional training.
Since its founding in 2002, ZUKI has provided support for over 1100 children – providing them shelter in dedicated homes and sending them to schools in Kolkata and Sundarbans. ZUKI has also been able to open a day center for severely disabled children and run school classes for additional children still living on the streets.
This kind of work relies on appraising, social media, and transparent fund management, all efforts that require efficient and reliable data management. ZUKI volunteers and staff need to track a vast amount of information relating to the children they help, as well as sponsor details and the complex relationship between the two groups.
As ZUKI’s projects and administrative workload grew, they reached out to me asking me to provide technical consultation and build an environment that will support ZUKI’s evolving needs around managing and sharing data. Being an expert in Microsoft products and a long time Microsoft Access MVP (Most Valuable Professional), I built a solution based on Microsoft products and services that addressed ZUKI’s needs and kept costs to a minimum.
Microsoft provides ZUKI with the right technology at no cost. As an officially recognized charity (sealed by the government of Austria), ZUKI qualifies for the Office 365 Nonprofit plan, which provides us SharePoint Online and other tools for free. As ZUKI grows and continues to do great things, cost of management remains around one percent which is crucial for our credibility and success in fundraising.
To accomplish this remarkabe efficiency, ZUKI uses a Microsoft Access database application that provides them with a user interface to easily work with their data. ZUKI uses SharePoint Online as a backend for data storage, which lets us collaborate and work against the most up-to-date data.
Microsoft Access Form – Donor’s Details
Using Access as a frontend and SharePoint Online as backend also supports cases where we need to work offline, as Access caches information until we regain internet connectivity. Additionally, Access integration with Microsoft Excel is a great advantage for us, as we use Excel for additional reporting and data entry in the field.
We are proud that the cost of running this solution is almost zero for ZUKI. Our donors can be sure that all their money is used for those free places and the future of children in India.
About the author
Karl Donaubauer is a database developer, consultant, author, conference organizer and speaker based in Vienna, Austria. He works for clients in several European countries, runs the most popular Access website in Europe and has been a Microsoft Access MVP since 1998.