Your association’s member data powers your organization’s work.
Here’s how to keep it clean and ready to use.
Your association’s member data is a valuable asset for your organization. It powers your member recruitment, engagement, and retention efforts. It also fuels your reports, which give you insights into the health of your association and help you make more informed decisions.
Shouldn’t you keep your member data clean and ready to put to work?
Why clean your association’s member data?
Taking the time to clean and organize your association’s member data can offer multiple benefits:
- You’ll spend less time finding data. Just think: It’s difficult to find the data you need quickly if you must sort through a bunch of duplicate and outdated data to find it.
- Your reports will be more accurate. With outdated data, your reports will yield inaccurate information. You could easily spend just as much time cleaning up a report as you’d planned to spend reviewing it to gain new insights.
- You’ll waste less time and money storing and moving around data. There’s no point in wasting valuable space in your membership management software on duplicate and outdated data. And it’s not efficient or cost-effective to manage and move around data you don’t need.
Four tips for cleaning your member data
In an association trends study by Community Brands, only one-third of associations rate their organization’s data as excellent or very good. Why is that? In part, it might be because improving data quality seems like too much work, even when the benefits are clear.
Keeping your member data clean might seem daunting — especially when you have a small staff. But with a few simple approaches, it can be easier than you might think. And the effort can be well worth it.
Here are four tips for keeping your member data clean and ready to use:
1. Have one place for everything.
It’s nearly impossible to keep data current, deduplicated, and organized when it’s scattered across multiple spreadsheets and systems. So, make sure you organize your member data in a single system.
For example, moving to all-in-one association management software (AMS) like YourMembership AMS by Community Brands makes it much easier to collect, view, manage, and use your data because all of the data is right there in one convenient place.
TIP: Moving to a new AMS system might seem intimidating when you have a small staff. But it doesn’t have to be. Read the article, 5 Ways to Make an Easy Move to New Association Software for helpful ideas.
2. Clean your data in steps.
If you haven’t been cleaning your data regularly, tackling a data clean-up can seem overwhelming. So, start with categories of data. Make a list of the types of member data you want to deduplicate, update, and organize, and then work on each category one-by-one.
During this process, consider deleting or archiving old data that you don’t need anymore. Having only the data you truly use in your AMS will help to streamline your processes and make your use of the software more efficient.
3. Clean regularly.
Once your data is tidied up, remember that it will be easier to keep clean if you clean it regularly. Managing duplicates and updates regularly (weekly, monthly, or even quarterly) will keep your data cleaner. And if you only must deal with a handful of duplicates each time, the task will be quick and easy. If you wait to do this once a year (or not at all), the number of duplicates and outdated information will be much higher, making the task much bigger.
To find the right frequency for data cleaning for your association, start by cleaning weekly. Then, move to every two weeks, then once per month, etc. Do this until you find the right interval. It should be frequent enough that data updates don’t become overwhelming, and not so frequent that there are too few updates to make it worth the time spent.
4. Put data entry standards in place.
It will be much easier to keep your data clean if you have database policies and procedures in place. Create a document that includes processes and details for data entry, including consistent naming standards for things like campaigns, events, and exports.
Be sure to share these standards with anyone in your organization who adds/edits data or pulls reports. And be sure to have a process in place for training new employees or volunteers on your policies and procedures.
Also, be on the lookout for consistent data integrity issues, as this might be a sign that you need to re-train staff or volunteers. You might also need to update your data entry policies to make sure they’re clear and correct.
Keeping your member data clean and ready to use is critical to your association’s success. YourMembership AMS is designed for small-to-mid size associations and can help you manage your data more effectively. Learn more: Explore YourMembership.
By Kyela Bishop, YourMembership Marketing Coordinator, Community Brands