Raise your hand if your membership database is in perfect condition – no typos, no duplicates, and no outdated information.
Anyone? Bueller? Yeah, us neither.
That’s why today, we’re diving into five quick tips for cleaning up a messy database. But first, what exactly is a messy database? Well, a messy database contains data that’s outdated, formatted incorrectly, or suggests the impossible (for example, that one of your members is 200 years old).
To get things back in order, check out these five database cleaning tips:
We can’t stress this one enough. Always, always, always back up your database system. Trust us, backing up your database on a regular basis will save you from many data-loss headaches (and tears) down the road. If you’re working with an association management system, it should securely back up your database for you, giving you one less thing to worry about.
If you’re like most organizations, your database is probably pretty hefty. You can’t clean it all at once, so prioritization is key. Determine what lists or sections are most important. Is it your member list? Your donor list? Whatever it is, start there first and work your way down.
3. Make it a team effort
Just because you’re in charge of your organization’s IT doesn’t mean the rest of your team is off the hook. Database cleaning is a team effort, so divide up your lists and determine who will work on what and when.
And why you’re at it, why not make your members part of the team? With an AMS, you can invite members to update their own profiles and information, saving you time and trouble.
Running a database cleanse involves analyzing a LOT of data. Keep a close eye out for typos, formatting and accuracy. In addition, be sure to run a quick search for duplicate records. Having multiple records for the same person complicates the data-entry process by spreading out information among multiple records.
5. Keep it up
To avoid having to go through this painful process again, we recommend treating your database system like a very expensive car – with a close eye and a fresh polish every few weeks.
If outdated information is your main problem, why not ask your members to update their profile information when they’re renewing their membership? This will save you a lot of time and trouble down the road.
Need a better system for your organization’s database? Perhaps an association management system is right for you. What’s an AMS, you ask? See for yourself in our free guide below!