Think about it. Where do the various departments of your association go to get their email lists to promote products and services to members? Where do the voting ballots get mailed to for positions on your board? When there is an urgent regulation that will affect your members, how do you contact them and are you reaching them 99% of the time? How do you announce the opening of registration for your annual conference? And if you monitor metrics, your reporting is only as valid as your membership data.
Membership data is the heart of your association!
So what do you do to make sure your data is accurate and reliable?
Methods to assure that staff enters data correctly into your AMS:
- Formal training for every new employee.
- Documentation that includes clear guidelines for data standardization.
- Data exception reports are run on a regular basis.
- Use a non-biased person or entity to do routine data quality checks.
Methods to assure that external data from 3rd parties will not negatively affect your member database:
- Identify the source of each new record that is created in your AMS so if something goes awry you can stop and correct the process.
- Assign staff to do regular quality control checks on data that is entered from external sources.
- Work closely with your 3rd party vendors who create and control the systems such as web services and other front end applications to clearly define your data standards. Assure that adequate testing is performed by both parties.
Other methods to control the quality of data:
- Send out regular reminders to members to update their data either online or even via old fashioned paper.
- Run scheduled scripts to find data anomalies and potentially correct from the backend.
- Use triggers to automate data, such as when a prefix is entered as “Mrs.” or “Ms.” automatically fill in the gender.
- Make sure to remove bad email addresses.
- Check mailing addresses using tools such as Melissa Data.
- Automate a confirmation email when a new contact email address is entered into your AMS. You will not only acknowledge the new contact, but you will immediately know if the email address was entered correctly.
Have any other data integrity ideas to contribute? Please share!