When I work with my clients on their data management issues (especially when choosing a new AMS), I’ll ask them about board involvement and awareness: For example, how involved is the board in this process? or How much do they know about the current data management system and processes?
Almost invariably, the answer resembles something like this: “Oh, the board has no idea how hard we have to work to get them the data they ask for.”
And therein lies the problem.
As one who worked on the staff side in associations for nearly a decade, I understand the impulse to “protect” the board from how the sausage is made. When the board makes a request, we should do what we can to fulfill it (assuming it’s a reasonable request!).
But we also have an obligation to keep the board informed of how easy or difficult it is to provide them with the information they’re requesting. And if the technology we have is holding us back from providing them what they’re seeking, we should let them know that. That’s not complaining, that’s being transparent.
So the next time you say or hear someone say “The board has no idea how much work it takes for us to provide that information to them,” that’s your cue to speak up.
“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.”
“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.”
Mary Pat Paris, Executive Director
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