This may be telling a lot about me
- but as a full-time missionary I would often start in a new area by manually typing in a ward list into a spreadsheet (often on a Church or public computer). I would then sort by street and address number so as missionaries we could go down a street and hit everyone on that street. ... that perhaps a custom report could accomplish what often took me hours of manual work.
Several years ago when my husband was the Ward Clerk for about the 3rd or 4th time, Bishop gave him a file he'd had on his laptop. My husband then added everyone from the ward in it, name, street address, town, zip, the grid map coordinates and the missionary zone (we have 2 in our ward). You could sort it by last name, you could sort it by grid, you could sort it by missionary zone, whatever you need/wanted, you could do it. You have to keep it up to date though and he did a great job of keeping it updated.
When I became the RS President, I took that file, deleted the brethren (no offense to you guys) saved it as a different file so I still have the ward grid map, and used it for visiting teaching route purposes. That makes it a lot easier to plan a route by the grid map. I also then made up 2 other files that helps me and saves me time for different purposes. When there is a change to a route, I have a more simple file that I can copy and paste from it right into an email to send to the sisters with the new info about their route. If I copy and paste from the database, it's just too messy. Then I have another file that I keep the last 12 months of visiting teaching reports on. The District Leaders really like it! Some of the District Leaders can receive their file by email, enter their reports into the file and email it back to me. Some can't open the file, so they get a printout. Last month, I printed everyone out their lists from MLS and they were confused and said what is this? They didn't like it. Mine has a similar look to the old DOS printouts and really, it is easier to read and understand, especially for the older ladies. It's a 20 mile round trip for me to go to church just to print a visiting teaching printout, so I do it from home and it's much easier on me. But, everytime there is a change of any kind, I have to make sure I update all of my files. That's time consuming, but, it is a big help and I feel it is worth the effort. When it's time for me to be released and whoever takes over, she may not wish to do as I have done and that will be her choice. But in this day and age, you need to use the computer to your advantage!
I also have provided the ward grid map file on a disk to the missionaries and they got it onto a palm pilot and it was pretty helpful to them. One of our companionships have a cell phone. Palm Pilots and Cell Phones ... boy, they've come a long way! lol I've also printed it out, sorted by their areas and then by grid, and that has also been a big help to them. They can see who lives close to whom when they are out and about instead of doubling back and forth while they're trying to visit people and learn the areas.
These are just a few things I've done to help. But, I guess we've gotten away from the original title of this thread .... that does happen on here!