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“You can always add, but you can’t take away”

When discussing how much access staff users should have to the database and its functionality, I always tell my client “Give them the absolute minimum they need to do their job.”

My clients will often respond with “Let’s just give users access to everything and then over time we can determine what functionality they don’t use and turn that off.” This approach is understandable because it’s the path of least resistance. But it will also lead to trouble.

In my experience, if you give users access to everything at the start, but then take things away, users will be upset. EVEN if it is functionality they weren’t using! And I think the reason is pretty simple: Taking things away from adults, even if it is something they weren’t really using, is seen as an insult. The insinuation is that staff can’t be trusted with this. And staff will resent it.

But if you give them the minimum their job requires, and add new functionality as it is needed, rather than being resentful, staff will be happy to get the new functionality.

So remember: You can always add new things, but you can never take away what you’ve already given someone.

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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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