How much data is enough data?

A database manager recently asked me how to get her staff to enter more data into the database when collecting leads. She was concerned that staff is only entering the “bare minimum” of information (e.g., name and email address) and not putting in other information like mailing address, phone, etc.

My response is simply this: Collect only as much data as you need to achieve your desired objective. For example, if the objective is signing people up for your e-newsletter, you may require an email address and nothing else. If the objective includes being able to contact an individual by phone or text, them obviously you have to collect that data.

My point is that you should only collect the data you need (See here for more on this.) But in order to know which data you need, you have to have a clear objective for how you’re going to use that data. If you know how you want to use the data, you’ll know what data you need to collect.

About Wes Trochlil

For a quarter century, Wes has worked in and with dozens of associations and membership organizations throughout the US, ranging in size from zero staff (all-volunteer) to over 700. In that time Wes has provided a range of consulting services, from general consulting on data management issues to full-scale, association-wide selection and implementation of association management systems.

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