Blog posting date icon
min read

Good Housekeeping: 3 Organizational Tips for Better Data Management

When it comes to your association’s member database, keeping a tight ship will help you steer member satisfaction and management in the right direction.

Holiday Shaped Cookies on White and Grey Textiles

When was the last time you to a good look at your association’s member database? Taking time to organize your member data can save you some serious time and energy in the long run, so you don’t want to miss out. Let’s take a second to picture your member database as a room with your member data as documents in this room. You wouldn’t ever want to keep important information about your members strewn around, crumpled up, mixed up with other files and papers, right?

If your member database looks like a cluttered desk, you can imagine the frustration you’ll have getting any productive work done. While a database doesn’t have that same physicality that a disheveled room does, it can still cause headaches if not properly organized. But don’t worry - you don’t have to be overwhelmed by the cleanup process. We know how stressful it can be to organize a mountain of data and information in a way that works best for your association. We’d like to help you set some housekeeping rules to make sure you can manage your data in a way that better satisfies your members’ needs. If you’d like to learn more about organizing your member database, keep reading on for our best “good housekeeping” organizational tips.

1. Always backup data

Before we get into the core of data organization, we want to stress the importance that backing up data holds for your association. Your team spends a lot of time getting to know your membership inside and out. With all of the effort taken to learn about members and collect the data you find, you don’t want it all to just disappear into the void with the blink of an eye. If your association isn’t backing up its member data, you’re playing a very dangerous game that could spiral out of your own control. This is why it’s important to frequently keep data safe by backing it up.

If you’re using a membership management software, it may automatically backup member data for you. This is great for associations that like to save time worrying about manually backing up data. However, if the tool you use does not automatically back up data, you should set reminders to update your backup database with new information. Putting a task on your calendar can make sure you never forget. Or, you can ask staff to update backlogged data every time they enter new information into your database.

2. Create a process

Now that you know for sure that your member data isn’t going anywhere, it’s time to set some ground rules for your association’s staff to uphold. If you don’t keep everyone on the same page when entering data into your member database, you’ll soon find yourself confused in a sea of different styles of data logging. While it’s great to have staff that can express their own style of work, it doesn’t help you keep data organized and well managed. In order to combat this, it’s great to have a process that staff has to follow when entering new member data. This should be something that everyone on your team has access to as well as something you enforce for all data entry sessions. You can start by laying out the proper way you want data entered. Names, occupations, addresses, and contact information should each have their own preferred format. If any notes are taken down about members, they should be put into their own designated area to avoid data clutter. There are tons of ways you can create a data entry process, so do what feels best for your association.

3. Sweep outdated data away

When was the last time you scanned your member database for outdated data? It could actually be what’s creating chaos in your organization scheme, so be wary. Sometimes, members leave. And while it’s heartbreaking to see a member walk out of the door, it doesn’t mean you should hold onto their data as a memento. Keeping their profile up for a year after they leave in case they come back is a smart plan, but hold onto it for too long and you aren’t doing yourself a favor. To avoid this abundance of old data, you’ll want to annually “sweep” your member database of member data that is no longer relevant. This also goes for data that has been updated or changed- out with the old and in with the new!

When it comes to your association’s member database, keeping a tight ship will help you steer member satisfaction and management in the right direction. Start the cleaning process by using our tips and put yourself on track for better organization today!