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Hard Work is Overrated
27 October 2009, by , in Data Management, No comments

This post on the Fast Company blog got me to thinking about managing databases (surprise, surprise!).

The blog post discusses the idea that “lollygagging” may be the best way to find breakthrough ideas. That is, NOT working may help the creative process.

A similar things happens when it comes to managing our database versus actually using the data. Simply put, when we spend all of our time working on getting data in and out of the database, we don’t spend any time thinking about how we might use the data in the database more effectively.

For example, I frequently discuss with my clients the concept of “opt out categories.” That is, rather than having a wholesale opt out for all association email communications, the emails are categorized so that members and customers may opt out of certain types of emails, but not all emails. So for example, a member might choose to opt out of all government relations types of emails but continue to receive events promotions.

Most everyone I talk with agrees that this is a smart way to go. Unfortunately, this is usually followed by “We’re too busy just trying to manage the day-to-day data to set up a system like that.”

This is an example of working too hard. After all, if we spend all of our time processing data but little to no time using the data, what’s the point?

We’ve got to find the time to use our database and the data it contains in a smart manner. And maybe lollygagging is the way to go.

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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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