Tell them why you want the data

Tell them why you want the data

Because data is so easy to collect these days, there's a tendency to try to collect all kinds of data about our members and customers, in the hopes that "maybe we'll use that data eventually."

One of the (many) problems with this approach is that our members and customers are becoming increasingly wary about sharing data that isn't critical to the transaction at hand. For example, many associations are focused on DEI (diversity, equity, inclusion) issues, and as a result, are asking their members for lots of personal information (e.g., race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation). But if the association isn't absolutely clear about how that data will be used, members will be less likely to provide that data.

Case in point: I was speaking at a conference alongside an association executive. As part of the speaker registration form, the hosting association asked for sexual orientation. The association executive speaking with me refused to provide that info, emailing me and asking "How is this relevant?" She wasn't trying to be difficult, she simply was asking "How are they going to use this data?"

When we ask for data that is not directly related to the transaction at hand, we have to be very clear about why we want that data and how it is going to be used. Because if it's not absolutely clear why you're asking, or what the data is going to be used for, many of your members will simply not tell you.

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