The Problem With Using Excel Spreadsheets To Manage Your Club


Did you know an elderly Japanese man has been using Microsoft Excel to paint amazing traditional-looking Japanese art? Tatsuo Horiuchi has been creating beautiful works of art using Excel spreadsheets for decades. I’m not playing; seriously, look at this. 


The Problem With Using Excel Spreadsheets To Manage Your Club


How? Literally, how is this possible? 

My point is that Excel spreadsheets are a handy tool and will likely remain useful for quite some time. They are great for crunching numbers, tracking trends, and, apparently, painting. However, Excel isn’t without its limitations. When it comes to membership management, Excel spreadsheets have some severe limitations. So today, we will discuss why Excel spreadsheets aren’t great for membership management and some better alternatives. 

Using Excel To Manage Your Club’s Data Leaves You Open To Errors

The primary issue with Excel is that it requires people to enter and edit its data, leaving it very open to human error, and if we know one thing about people, it’s that we make mistakes; think of the PT Cruiser, Coldplay, and the Titanic. 

When using Excel to manage your member data, you need your administrators to manually enter all that data and edit any changes to member information over time. Unfortunately, this opens you up to human error, someone accidentally entering a member’s details into the spreadsheet wrong, copying out the wrong person's details or accidentally deleting something. There isn’t really a way to solve this either. As long as you’re using Excel, you will need people to manually enter and alter data, leaving you open to mistakes.

Security Risks With Managing Your Club With Excel 

One of the major concerns with using Excel to help manage your club is the security risks that come with it. Excel is a secure program that is reasonably unlikely to be hacked or breached; however, that doesn’t mean there aren’t security issues with Excel. We’ve already talked about how open to human error Excel spreadsheets are, and this can result in some pretty major security concerns. 

Picture this: one of your club admins is sending an email to someone outside of your club, and they need to share a document with them. One wrong click, and they could accidentally send your Excel spreadsheet to that person. Your sensitive member details, names, addresses, numbers, and more could end up in the hands of someone you don’t know. This could be a significant problem for your club. All it would take is one of your club volunteers (who are potentially not the most tech-savvy people in the world) to click on the wrong file or the wrong recipient, and you’ve got a major leak on your hands. 

Excel Can’t Do Everything For Your Club

Excel can store your member data and make it relatively easy to view and export your data, but that’s about it. You’ll have to copy information from your spreadsheets to whatever other systems you use to manage your club. 

Most clubs that use Excel to manage their membership data have several sets of the same data across all their different systems. One set in their spreadsheet, one in their email campaign service, another on their website, and so on. Managing all this data and ensuring consistency can be a full-time job and a significant headache.

So What Is The Alternative To Excel Spreadsheets? 

Membership management software is a fantastic alternative to Excel spreadsheets for your club. Membership management systems are designed to provide a comprehensive solution to all your needs. 

These systems are all-in-one, which means that instead of using multiple systems and services, you can use one system. In addition, membership management systems can replace a variety of services, including: 


  • Excel
  • Website builders
  • Email campaign services
  • Event ticket sales services
  • Merchandise sales services
  • Online payment systems
  • Member Communication


With a membership management system, you can easily manage all aspects of your organisation without needing multiple systems or manual lists.

The Problem With Using Excel Spreadsheets To Manage Your Club

Membership Management Software Solves All Of The Problems That Excel Has

Membership management software can solve all the problems we have discussed today. 

Keeping Your Club’s Member Data Error-Free

Membership management software allows your members to enter their own details into the system. This means that the onus is on them to enter their information correctly rather than on your administrators. This reduces the chances of errors as members are less likely to enter crucial information wrong compared to an admin who has never seen that information before. Also, individual members can only add and edit their own information, so they can’t accidentally mess up another member's data like it is all too easy to do in Excel. 

Keeping Your Club’s Member Data Secure

We can’t speak for other membership management systems but Member Jungle has very strong data security. Not only is there very good data security with Member Jungle but it is impossible to accidentally send your member data and member list to the wrong person the way it is with Excel. 

One common concern that people have when considering moving to a cloud based system like Member Jungle is potential security risks. It’s a common misconception that cloud based systems are less secure than non cloud based ones like Excel. The truth is that this tends not to be true, cloud based systems like Member Jungle tend to take a lot of security precautions to make sure that your data is secure. There aren’t more security threats with cloud based systems, just different ones. 

Nonetheless, data security is something we take extremely seriously at Member Jungle. We have been providing web hosting and security services for over 20 years through our sister hosting company, AusTiger Hosting. We have worked with government agencies and large associations throughout Australia and the Pacific region. We have been audited and certified by the ACT Government. 

It is worth noting that if you are using Google Sheets instead of Microsoft Excel, or Xero for your accounting, then your systems are already cloud based. 

That is only a brief overview of how membership management software can keep your member data secure. For a more detailed overview, have a look at How does Member Jungle protect your data? and What is Two Factor Authentication & Why Is It Important in Membership Management

Membership Management Software Can Do Everything For Your Club

Membership management systems like Member Jungle are all-in-one systems that are specifically designed to meet all your club needs. This means that instead of paying for and using a range of different systems that all do different tasks and all need to have their own data sets that need to be updated and kept accurate. You just have one data set on one system that can handle all your membership management needs. 

Is Excel Or Membership Management Right For My Club?

Just because there are problems with using Excel to run your club doesn’t mean that you have to move to membership management software, but it is something you should seriously consider. Membership management can be a much more suitable way to manage your club than Excel, but Excel has its advantages too. 

If you want a more detailed comparison between Excel and management systems, you may enjoy reading Excel vs Membership Management Systems: Which is Right for Your Club?

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