Associations are complex businesses!

Associations are complex businesses!

One of the reasons managing data at an association can be so challenging is because associations are very complex businesses. The simple fact is a typical association of almost any size is selling multiple product lines (e.g., membership, events registration, sponsorships, products, etc.) and very often these product lines have a broad range of variables within them (e.g., different membership classes, registrations with sessions, date-ranged pricing, etc.).

Compare that to most for-profit businesses. Most small businesses sell a very limited range of products and services. And even huge businesses selling millions of products (e.g., Amazon) have a very limited range of variables within those products.

Now consider that even the very largest association is considered a "small business" by for-profit business standards. It's a perfect storm of very high technology needs (the database needs to manage all of these disparate products, services, and options) with relatively very small budgets.

Is it any wonder that associations struggle with managing data?

This isn't an excuse, but rather an explanation. It's also why many associations will have multiple systems in place (e.g., member database, event registration database, abstract submission platform, etc.) which raises the technology needs (and costs!).

Ironically, the typical association is often facing much more challenging data management needs than even the largest and most complex member of the association. And it's important that our members, and especially our board members, understand that.

So the next time a board member asks "Why can't we be more like Amazon?" try to help them understand how much more complex your operations are!

Wes's Wednesday Wisdom Archives

Don’t manage to the exception!

April 17, 2024

Don’t manage to the exception! One of the universal truths about data management is, wherever possible, […]

It’s always about improvement

April 10, 2024

It’s always about improvement Talking with a client recently, she expressed frustration about one particular project […]

Don’t be a hoarder!

April 3, 2024

Don’t be a hoarder! The simple truth is that it’s almost “free” to collect data. […]

With data analytics (as with most things), keep it simple!

March 27, 2024

With data analytics (as with most things), keep it simple! Over the past several years […]

Don’t forget about periodic maintenance

March 20, 2024

Don’t forget about periodic maintenance Just as most automobiles need periodic maintenance, keeping your data as […]

Users Groups are ALWAYS Valuable

March 13, 2024

Users Groups are ALWAYS Valuable I am a huge fan of users groups. (Here’s a […]

But will you DO anything with that data?

February 28, 2024

But will you DO anything with that data? I frequently exhort my clients to always answer […]

It’s not what happens, but how you react…

February 21, 2024

It’s not what happens, but how you react… “It’s not what happens to you, but […]

Saying it and doing it are two different things

February 14, 2024

Saying it and doing it are two different things When I work with my clients […]

Benefits downstream are difficult to implement

February 7, 2024

Benefits downstream are difficult to implement In my 25 years of consulting, one of the […]

Scroll to Top