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Having trouble with lack of 2-way sync functionality

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I’m using Airtable to organize an annual event, and something we do is track people. I made a set of bases last year that track what each person does and links to many other tables, but the problem lies in trying to make this abstract for every year.

I’d like to have a “contacts database” that is outside of each year’s airtable, and syncs contacts with “2023” status into the 2023 base, and same for other years. We need different bases for each year because a lot of what we do gets “reset” every year. I need to start with a blank slate and be able to easily copy people in.

The problem is that I also need to add new contacts every year. By setting up a sync, we can’t edit the basic info on each Contact in the 2023 Base – I can no longer have forms (either with Airtable or Miniextensions) which populate Contact info, which is a mix of the info synced from the Contacts database and year-specific info.

The closest I got is by having separate contacts tables for each year and using Multi-source sync to pull them all into a single Contacts database – But then I have duplicate contacts! The multi-source sync does not have any mechanism to eliminate duplicates, so I’ll have a copy of each contact for each year still, rather than having a single source of truth…

It seems I can use the “whalesync” extension to do two-way sync, but it’s crazy to pay $1200/year for a small volunteer driven organization, because Airtable has an incomplete feature.

I think for now I’m going to go with the multi-source sync, and write an automation that lets you push a button in the interface to copy a contact from 2022 to 2023, and just live with all the duplicates. But wondering if anyone knows a better way to do this.

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