Contact database recommendations?
July 13, 2004 3:26 PM   Subscribe

I need recommendations for a contact database [details forthwith].

I am a one-person outpost for a larger non-profit. A large part of my job is volunteer and business recruitment requiring multiple contacts (phone, email, fax, direct mail) and I am losing track of whom I talked to when and where. I need a general contact database that will track contacts and create call lists and reminders.

I have used Telemagic in the past and want something similar but hopefully free/low-cost. I tried the Outlook/Access route and wasn’t happy with the interface or options, but that may be due to my inexperience in creating it. I am using Win XP, Office 2000.

Advice and previous experiences appreciated.
posted by karmaville to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
For something a little different, but incredibly customisable, try the wiki Note Studio. I use the Palm+PC version of it for almost everything; diary, contacts, reference, project planning and text document storage.

Basically, you would add notations, in the form of page-links, to your one-per-page, free-form, searchable contacts list; these page links would then act as categories or tags, according to your own criteria, from which you would then generate lists via back-links. Geographical areas, call logs, comments: - you notate your list in order to create a useful database for you.

It's difficult to explain just how flexible and freeing something like this can be.

The product is fairly new but the support is fantastic, and the trial period is long. Highly recommended; changed my life and all that (really).
posted by suleikacasilda at 3:50 PM on July 13, 2004

Although you say you have tried and rejected it, the much-maligned Outlook sounds ideal for your use, but it does take some fiddling to get it working the way you want (as you seem to have found). In particular, turning on Journals/Activities can be problematic but, once working, they are excellent.
posted by dg at 4:28 PM on July 13, 2004

Outlook certainly has its fans and detractors, but I've been using ACT! to manage hundreds of contacts and all their to-dos, phone calls, EMs and proposals, ever since it was a DOS program back in the early Jurassic and I swear by it. It's designed for salespeople, incredibly inuitive to set up and use (Read: whoever designed the UI thinks exactly like I do.) No tweaking and fiddling; you'll be up and running a half hour after you install. And Act! is rock stable: in the many years I've used it daily as a primary application I've never lost any data using Act!. Not once.

However. The newest version, ACT! 6 , got an evil reputation upon its initial release as slow and buggy. It may have been cleaned up, I don't know. I've continued to use Act! 5 (AKA ACT! 2000 when it was a Symantec product) under Win XP and it does everything I need it to do, and these days you can get it real cheap.

One other thing. It's unlikely you'd do so, but do not ever consider using Goldmine, a wretched, awful program. I'd risk a felony assault rap for the opportunity to take a baseball bat to the fuckwit who did the UI for that sack of.....
posted by mojohand at 7:03 PM on July 13, 2004

I work for a medium sized web based CRM software company that has a very strong Foundation attached. We give away our software to non-profit companies. May be more than you need but I can attest to it being both convenient (all web based) and you can't beat free.
posted by Wolfie at 8:03 PM on July 13, 2004

Hmm. Seem to have touble with linking.
posted by Wolfie at 8:58 AM on July 14, 2004

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