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Taking Prudent Risks
26 July 2007, by , in Data Management, No comments

In this tip, I discuss how considering “worst-case” scenarios can help you decide whether or not to do something. There has been an interesting thread on one of the ASAE listservers about the “risk” of putting the membership directory online (and ceasing publication of a print directory).

Anecdotally, about five associations said they had moved to an online-only directory with little to no comment or complaint from their membership. Just one association had the opposite experience: They moved their directory online, stopped publishing the print directory, and got lots of complaints from their members. They ultimately decided to go back to a printed directory.

In all cases, including the one that failed, the association took a prudent risk and waited for the results. Whether they considered it or not, their worst-case scenario was one where the membership complained and they would have to move back to a printed directory; no harm, no foul.

These are great illustrations of how small risks can pay big rewards; and even when the experiment fails, the “damage” done is minimal and life goes on.

What risks is your association taking?

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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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