How to Use Google Sheets as a Membership Database for Your Community

Use this free template to manage your membership data in Google Sheets.

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As you build and grow your community, using a database to keep track of members’ data becomes essential. A Google Sheets database provides a simple and free way to collect and organize community data. In this post, you’ll find whether or not Google Sheets is a good option for your membership database. We’ve also created a helpful Google Sheets database template for you to save time!

Can Google Sheets be Used as a Database?

As you may already know, Google Sheets is Google’s version of Excel. Spreadsheets in general allow you to add, read, update, or delete data, so they can be used as simple databases. Although spreadsheet applications were not designed to work as databases, they work very well for small communities that are still in their beginning phase.

Indeed, a database management system like MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle DBMS, or PostgreSQL increases the overall complexity of the project. This is because such systems usually require a lot of time and resources to install, configure, and maintain. Most of the time, when the data volume is low it makes no sense to have a complex database system.

And this is where a Google Sheets database can become your best bet. Google Sheets is completely free (unlike Excel) and allows you to store your database in the cloud for easy access from every device. Moreover, the app has a very useful access control system, which allows you to easily control who can view and edit the database. You also have many options to format and visualize the database the way you want.

Additionally, Google Sheets is great for collaborating with other people. You can view the edit history which makes it extremely transparent as well.

On the other hand, having a Google Sheets database has some disadvantages. As your dataset grows, it becomes less practical to manage and read the database. Additionally, Google Sheets doesn’t have the advanced query options of a database management system to analyze large amounts of data.

However, if you’re in the beginning phases of building your community, you won’t have these problems. As your community grows, you can easily export your data from Google Sheets to a database management system in CSV format. Meanwhile, if your dataset is small and you don’t need advanced query mechanisms, Google Sheets will work just fine.

How to Build a Membership Database

A good membership database helps you keep track of your community’s growth over time, and it includes diverse columns according to the data you want to track. For example, our template includes columns like members’ contact data, new members, memberships’ expiration date, and membership types and tiers.

If you’re building your own membership database, there are some things you’ll need to consider. Answering the question ‘What kind of data do you need to store?‘ allows you to know exactly which columns you need to add to your Google Sheets database. You may add any custom fields you want, but here are the fields we’ve decided to add to this post’s template:

  • Membership ID/Username: here is where you can assign a membership ID to each individual member, or identify them by the username they’ve chosen in the registration process.
  • Members’ contact details: this includes members’ names, email addresses, phone numbers, and locations. You can also include other useful information like their birthdays, gender/pronouns, job/role, etc.
  • Type of membership: if you have a subscription community, it’s useful to segment your members’ according to the membership tier they chose, as well as categorize them among free and paid members.
  • Date of joining: useful to know when each member joined the community.
  • Date of expiration: this field allows you to keep track of the date each membership expires, which will depend on the duration of the different membership tiers.

You can add other fields that are relevant to your community, for example, the members’ payment information or their referral source.

Google Sheets Database Template

Once you’ve decided to use Google Sheets and have clarity of the data you need to track, it’s time to start building your membership database.

Here is a very useful template for you to kickstart the process. You can always customize this template for your own community’s needs.

With this template, you’ll be able to keep track of each new member that joins the community, as well as retrieve data from existing members. Additionally, a template like this allows you to know exactly how many members you have in each tier, as well as when they’ve joined and when their memberships expire.

A membership database like this allows you to analyze your community and use the data for specific purposes. For example, you can view graphic representations of the data to know at a glance how many paid members you have or when their memberships expire. Additionally, you would be able to estimate your revenue in the following months, among other tasks.

How To Use The Membership Database Template

Once you open the template in Google Sheets, click on File > Make a Copy. This will save a copy of the template in your Google Drive account from which you’ll be able to start modifying the template.

Once you have the formatting and the data, it’s time to start learning how to leverage your database. Google Sheets includes many ways of sorting and filtering your database’s data.

You can sort the entire sheet or a range by numerical or alphabetical order. Additionally, Google Sheets allows you to create diverse filter views to filter your data by condition, cell value, or color, among other options. Indeed, the app’s sort and filter features are very useful for analyzing and managing your data.

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Another useful way of leveraging the database is by creating charts that visually represent the content of the database. For example, you could create a chart that shows how many members joined in the last month or how many members each membership tier has. To create charts from your data, click on Insert > Chart.

Lastly, make sure you share this database with anyone on your team that needs access to it. To do this, click on the ‘Share’ button in the top-right corner of the Google Sheets document and configure the sharing settings to decide who can view or edit the database.

Now that you have your database ready, make sure to maintain it and update it regularly as new members join or existing members update their information.

Paola Baselica

Paola Baselica

Hey there! I'm Paola, and I like to call myself a word wizard. Since 2018, I've been writing content for diverse places across the web. Now I'm rocking it with Unita's copywriting crew, where I get to explore, write, and polish up the coolest communities you'll ever find on the web. It's been a wild ride, and I'm here to make every word count and every story pop 🎨✨📚