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“It’s a religious issue”
2 February 2015, by , in Data Management, No comments

I first heard this phrase 20 years ago from my then IT director at a small association I was working for. We were having a discussion about how to manage a certain set of data, and as we debated the pros and cons of a decision we were making, he finally said “Look, it’s a religious issue.”

When I asked him what he meant he explained: “This kind of thing is a religious issue, in that there is no empirical evidence to support one decision over another in terms of one being better than the other. Either approach will work, and both have downsides. But neither is absolutely right or wrong. More importantly, if someone strongly believes one way is right, you’ll have a tough time convincing them otherwise.”

I use the phrase a lot with my clients, because the reality is, for many decisions we make with our database, there is no “right” answer. Very often, the right answer will depend on the technology we have, the resources available to us, and even the culture of our organization.

So when you hear someone say “Well, here’s how WE do that,” remember that very often, it’s a religious issue. Just because it’s right for them doesn’t mean it’s right for you.

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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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