I often hear from my clients something along these lines: “We’d like that data but we don’t have it.”
I always respond with “Do you not have it because you’ve never collected it, or because you have no way to collect it and store it?” In other words, are you NOT doing something because you can’t do it, or because you don’t do it?
This is an important distinction, though often overlooked. And very often, when an association is not collecting certain data that staff thinks is valuable, the assumption often is that the data is not collected because the association is unable to collect it (can’t) rather than the data is not collected because no one is bothering to ask for the data (don’t).
“Can’t” means you need better technology. “Don’t” means you need different processes.
Understanding the difference between can’t and don’t will help determine how to address the issue.
“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