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Just like children, we all need boundaries
17 October 2016, by , in Executive, No comments

Recently I was discussing with a client their rules for how they manage event registration. As my client described the different rules for how customers can register for their events, I complimented her on how clear the rules were. She responded: “We like to make the boundaries very clear. Just like children need boundaries, our members and customers need boundaries, too.”

And while this may sound a bit paternalistic, I think it actually makes a lot of sense. Really clear business rules help our members and customers make better decisions for engaging with us. Clear business rules also make the process easier for both customer and staff.

For example, some of my clients use online “wizards” (a series of questions) to help guide the member or customer to the correct membership type.  Rather than presenting ALL the membership types, with a few questions, the customer is pointed to the correct member type (e.g., based on level of profession, type of degree, etc.). These “boundaries” guide the customer to the right membership type, thus making it easier for them to join, and easier for staff to process (since there will be fewer errors).

So think about the “boundaries” you’re creating for your members and customers. Are they helping guide them to make the right decisions?

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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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