I often hear from my clients something along these lines: “We’d like that data but we don’t have it.”
I always respond with “Do you not have it because you’ve never collected it, or because you have no way to collect it and store it?” In other words, are you NOT doing something because you can’t do it, or because you don’t do it?
This is an important distinction, though often overlooked. And very often, when an association is not collecting certain data that staff thinks is valuable, the assumption often is that the data is not collected because the association is unable to collect it (can’t) rather than the data is not collected because no one is bothering to ask for the data (don’t).
“Can’t” means you need better technology. “Don’t” means you need different processes.
Understanding the difference between can’t and don’t will help determine how to address the issue.