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Champagne Tastes on a Beer Budget
1 May 2013, by , in Executive, No comments

You’ve probably heard that phrase before. Essentially it means wanting much nicer things than we can actually afford. Or expecting much more than what we’ve paid for.

In my 14 years of consulting, I’ve noticed that a small minority of associations suffer from this affliction. For example, I once met with an association who was having a lot of difficulty with their existing database and website. After discussing all the things that didn’t’ work, I asked, “How much is this costing you now?” Their response: “About $200 a month.”

Well.

Two hundred dollars a month is $2,400 annually. That comes out to a little under $7 per day. To run your entire association and website.

The problem here is that the association is expecting champagne when they’re paying for beer.

I’ve written before about how amazingly good and inexpensive today’s technology is, as compared to just five or seven years ago. For example, five or seven years ago, it might cost an association with just 10 staff well over $100,000 to get into a new AMS. And that didn’t even include the website!

So yes, today’s technology IS much better and much cheaper than the good old days. But we still have to pay for the value we’re receiving. For many associations, $200 per month will cover their needs. But for others, not so much.

So don’t fall victim to a champagne taste on a beer budget. Like another old saying goes, “You get what you pay for.”

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“Wes was able to come in and offer tangible, relevant advice that made us more productive immediately. I value his understanding of databases but more so, his understanding of how nonprofits work. There was no lost time educating him about how membership organizations are “different.” Wes recommended changes in processes as well as tips and tricks that were easy to implement made an immediate positive impact.”

Mary Pat Paris, Executive Director
International Registration Plan

“We came to Wes because we were very frustrated with our existing AMS and we wanted to improve our capabilities as soon as practicable. Wes very quickly helped us through a process of identifying our needs, identifying potential vendors, and selecting a new system that we’ll be able to move into very quickly. I especially appreciated Wes’s candor about our processes as well as the systems we were looking at. He was a great resource to have in a period of high anxiety for our organization. I would highly recommend Wes for any similar project.”

Jack Chiasson, CMP Executive Director
National Association of Life Brokerage Agencies

“Wes was able to come in and offer tangible, relevant advice that made us more productive immediately. I value his understanding of databases but more so, his understanding of how nonprofits work. There was no lost time educating him about how membership organizations are “different.” Wes recommended changes in processes as well as tips and tricks that were easy to implement made an immediate positive impact.”

Mary Pat Paris, Executive Director
International Registration Plan

Mary Pat Paris
International Registration Plan

“This is the second database implementation we’ve done since I have been at Western Arts Alliance (WAA). The first I did on my own. This time we engaged Wes Trochlil as our database planning consultant. Let me tell you, this process is a whole lot easier having Wes on your team! For a small association like WAA, it’s tempting for board and EDs to question the justification and expense of a database planning consultant. But it’s the small associations that need Effective Database Management the most. Wes strengthened our planning process, clarified our needs requirements, helped us steer around solutions that couldn’t meet our objectives, and saved us money in the long haul.”

Tim Wilson, Executive Director
Western Arts Alliance

Tim Wilson
Western Arts Alliance
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