As I work with my clients it becomes clear that there are two “classes” of users when it comes to your data management system.
Some staff are managers of data (e.g., membership and events) while some staff are consumers of data (e.g., marketing, communications, government relations). And given these two classes of users, you have to strike a balance between them. If you focus too much on data management, you may make accessing the data too difficult for consumers. If you focus too much on providing data for consumers, you may turn off your members (e.g., asking for too much information too often).
What you need to do is establish business rules and processes that accommodate both data managers and data consumers. And your technology also has to support both classes (i.e., sophisticated enough to handle complex data needs, but easy enough for staff consumers to query the database and extract the data they need.
Look around your organization and see if you’re focusing too much on one class or another, and then figure out how you can better serve the underserved class.
“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.”
“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.”
Mary Pat Paris, Executive Director
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