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This is BASIC Stuff

We're approaching the end of the first decade of the 21st century and it seems some organizations still haven't grasped some simple concepts of data management.

I hate to pick on ASAE (OK, I don't hate it, I just don't prefer it), but I received two emails from them within two hours of each other, both of which contained glaring errors.

  • The first said "Dear First Name." That's right, just call me First from now on.
  • The second said "Dear Chicago area association professional." (Hint: I don't live anywhere near Chicago.)

The first error is inexecusable. Before any broadcast email is sent, it should be tested. And simple testing would have caught this merging error. (I have colleagues who also got the "Dear First Name" email, so I know that it was a merge error.)

The second error is just bad data management. I'm assuming the list was not queried properly or the person sending the email didn't use the correct list. Either way, it was wrong.

So what's the big deal?

  1. Email like this damages your credibility. The recipient thinks: "If you can't get your email right, how good could what you're selling me really be?"
  2. Now that I know you don't really know who I am ("Dear Chicago area association professional") I'll ignore any future messages from you.

Are you sending emails like this to your members and customers. Take the extra five minutes to make sure you get it right. One error every now and then is understandable. Two errors in one day is inexcusable.

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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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