When should I hire full-time database help?

I get this question a lot from my clients, especially “smaller” clients (those under 25 staff). This issue becomes particularly relevant when the association has implemented a new organization-wide association management system for the first time.

As a very general rule of thumb, I think once an organization has reached 25 staff, it’s time to have a full-time database management person.

Note that I’m not saying hire an “IT” person. These days, outsourcing your infrastructure management is relatively painless. But active management of your database is critical, and I don’t think it’s something that can be outsourced or managed part-time, and I don’t necessarily believe it’s best placed in the IT department.

In fact, when I think of my most successful clients, most of them have responsibility for management of the database outside of the IT department (it’s often in the membership department).

Of course, my rule of thumb is just a guideline. Some of my  clients have a full time data management person with only 15 staff.

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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