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New White Paper Released: Nine Keys to AMS Success

I’ve posted a new white paper on my website, entitled “Nine Keys to Long Term Success of Your Association Management System

The paper is based on extensive interviews with eight associations who feel they have had successful long-term AMS implementations. The nine key findings:

  1. …a successful, long-term relationship with the vendor.
  2. …a stable staff.
  3. …buy-in from senior staff.
  4. …a willingness to spend on technology as needed.
  5. …pushing self-serve functionality.
  6. …standardizing processes and documenting them.
  7. …participation from key staff from implementation through to day-to-day use.
  8. …communicating with staff and board about the database.
  9. …decentralizing data entry.

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2 Comments on "New White Paper Released: Nine Keys to AMS Success"

Sam - 13 March 2009 Reply

I appreciated Ron Moen's comment that his association, AMC, often invests in outside resources to help them clean up the data in their database, to ensure its integrity. We've talked about doing that but haven't known quite how to go about it. Where do you find outside resources that do that sort of thing? What's a reasonable amount for them to charge (I presume per hour)? How should the contract be structured? By hours? By task? Besides duplicates, how will an outside person be able to spot data that has gone out of date or is inaccurate? I've seen you mention checking for bad email addresses and zip/state mismatches, but I'd love to find a more exhaustive list and explanation of such techniques. Tips would be much appreciated! BTW - I did search for and read some other posts of yours on this subject but didn't find answers to the above questions. I apologize if I missed anything in my searches. -Sam

Wes Trochlil - 13 March 2009 Reply

Sam, thanks for the comment. The best place to start would be to identify all of the data integrity issues you want to address. Are the issues around duplicate data, bad data, missing data? Once you've identified the issues, then you can begin discussing alternatives for addressing the issues. These alternatives may include changing your business rules, and/or hiring outside help to fix things. In addition you might consider an outside consultant to help you identify issues and alternatives. Also, are you focusing on the data you really need and actually use? Check out this article about collecting too much data: http://effectivedatabase.com/MoreDataisBetterRight.shtml Finally be sure to read these three articles on consistent data management: http://effectivedatabase.com/steady_as_she_goes.shtml http://effectivedatabase.com/consistent_keying.shtml http://effectivedatabase.com/greatness_thru_data.shtml Good luck! Wes

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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
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