Subscribe to my newsletter EDM News
Everyone’s experience is the same (Or, It’s just as bad everywhere else)
3 August 2007, by , in Data Management, 2 comments

After nearly 20 years of working with associations on their databases, I’ve come to one conclusion: No one loves their database. OK, that’s an overstatement; I’ve met three or four people over the years who truly loved their databases (these are strange people). The reality is, most of us tolerate our database programs, and many of us actively despise them.

But this is important to know. Everyone struggles with their data management sytems. There are a lot of different reasons for these struggles (see this post, for example). But the fact is, databases are “living documents,” forever changing, and ultimately created and managed by human beings. This means they will always be a challenge.

So it’s critically important to keep your database challenges in perspective. There will always be problems, challenges, and bugs (or there better be, or I’m outta work!). The important thing is to keep that in mind and focus on what is working. Keep working on what needs to be fixed, but don’t forget that you’re succeeding in spite of the problems. And that’s a good thing.

About author:

2 Comments on "Everyone’s experience is the same (Or, It’s just as bad everywhere else)"

Tony Rossell - 6 August 2007 Reply

Hi Wes -- I probably meet with 40 or 50 associations each year and I have never met anyone happy with their database. By the way, very few like their web sites also. Would you agree with what I tell them that 90% of their problems are usually staff training or people not fundemental problems with the software? Tony

Wes Trochlil - 6 August 2007 Reply

Tony, I'm not surprised to hear that. I think your answer is generally true, though certainly not always true. That is, sometimes associations really are using very old technology, and no amount of training will make the technology any better. But more often than not (I'm willing to go to 60% but not 90%), it's a training and documentation issue.

Leave a Reply

Archives

Sign-up for EDM News

 

 

Testimonials

“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
%d bloggers like this: