Spread the word: PR for your database

Managing your database isn’t just about data; it’s about public relations.

How often do you hear staff speaking positively about your association management system? Seriously. When was the last time you ran into someone in the hallway and they said to you, “You know, I really like what you’re doing with the database. Keep up the good work.” Of course, more typically what we hear are things like “Why doesn’t the database do what I want it to do?” or “All the data in here is wrong.”

As database managers, it is our job to make sure that our users know what is going on with the association management system. It’s the PR side of our jobs, and it’s just as important as making sure the data itself is correct and the database works. After all, perception is reality.

So what can you do to ensure better PR for your database? Here are some suggestions:

  • Find excuses to talk about the database – There are plenty of ways to do this. For example, schedule a monthly email update to all staff, explaining to them all the improvements that have been made to the database in the past month. Improvements might include updated data, new functionality, more users in the system, more training, or any number of other things.Or, get on the staff meeting agenda – If you have regular all-staff meetings, make sure you get on the agenda to brief staff on what’s going on with the database. You’ve got to find “excuses” to discuss the database, to ensure that your staff is aware that you and others are working to improve it.
  • Establish benchmarks and demonstrate your improvements – In order to demonstrate improvements, you’ve got to have a base to measure from. What is your current bounce-back rate for email or snail-mail? Measure it now, and as your data integrity improves, measure it again, and report the findings. One association we’ve worked with improved their snail-mail bounce-back rate from 8% to less than 1% in less than two years! And the only reason the staff ever knew that is because the data records manager bragged about it. Find these and other benchmarks, and as you improve, let your users know.
  • Nip the bad PR in the bud – Inevitably, there will be staff in your organization that will bad-mouth the database. You need to address these issues directly and immediately. Go to the source and find out why they think the database is “bad.” Work with them to address their issues and concerns. It may be a matter of perception, or it may be a real issue. Either way, you have to address it so that their perception doesn’t become others’ reality.

Remember, perception is reality. If your users believe your database “doesn’t work” for them, it doesn’t. It is our job as database managers to change that perception and bring them a better reality.

This article originally appeared in Association Trends. Reprinted with permission.


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