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Things I heard at ASAE Tech Conference VII – Data you should NOT collect

12 January 2012, by , in Executive, 2 comments

At the session I presented at the ASAE Technology Conference last month, one of the points I made was that you should never collect data you’re not going to use. Seems obvious enough, but I still see many of my clients collecting data out of habit: “Oh, we’ve always asked for their highest degree attained. But we don’t actually use that data for anything.”

So I asked the audience if they could quickly think of any data they are currently collecting but not using. Several audiences, in near unison, responded “Fax numbers!”

What a GREAT example of collecting information we don’t use.

Look at the data you’re collecting in your database, especially “demographic” data. Is every piece of data being used for some purpose? And does that purpose add value to the member’s experience with your organization? If you can’t answer yes to both those questions, you’re collecting data you should NOT collect.

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National Association of Life Brokerage Agencies

“Wes was able to come in and offer tangible, relevant advice that made us more productive immediately. I value his understanding of databases but more so, his understanding of how nonprofits work. There was no lost time educating him about how membership organizations are “different.” Wes recommended changes in processes as well as tips and tricks that were easy to implement made an immediate positive impact.”

Mary Pat Paris, Executive Director
International Registration Plan

Mary Pat Paris
International Registration Plan

“This is the second database implementation we’ve done since I have been at Western Arts Alliance (WAA). The first I did on my own. This time we engaged Wes Trochlil as our database planning consultant. Let me tell you, this process is a whole lot easier having Wes on your team! For a small association like WAA, it’s tempting for board and EDs to question the justification and expense of a database planning consultant. But it’s the small associations that need Effective Database Management the most. Wes strengthened our planning process, clarified our needs requirements, helped us steer around solutions that couldn’t meet our objectives, and saved us money in the long haul.”

Tim Wilson, Executive Director
Western Arts Alliance

Tim Wilson
Western Arts Alliance
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