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The Five Elements of Healthy Vendor Relationship (plus a bonus!)

I recently moderated a keynote presentation at ACGI’s Knowledge Days in Baltimore. The session, entitled “How to Keep a Healthy Marriage with Your Technology Vendor,” covered the five elements that I believe constitute a good marriage, and will serve you well in relationships with your technology vendors. Those five elements are:

  • You have the other party’s best interest in mind
  • Honesty, openness, and transparency
  • You’re more successful together than apart
  • You have a willingness to forgive
  • Always keep a sense of humor

I wrote more about this here.

After the session, Jimmy Steiner from the American Society of International Law, pointed out to me that I should add one more bullet point to the list: “Your last girlfriend always seems better than she really was.”

I think Jimmy makes a great point. Too often when associations switch systems, staff who had experience with the last system will point out all the ways the last system was “better” than the new one. And very often, certain elements of the last system may actually work better than the new system. But what’s important to keep in mind is all of the other things the last system lacked that the new system fixes.

So remember, along with all the points above, more often than not, your last relationship wasn’t as good as you remember it to be!

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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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