As an association professional, you have all sorts of data at your fingertips (whether or not that data is organized and structured). And let me tell you, that data is POWERFUL. It has insight into what your members and potential members like, respond to, and gravitate towards.
But what are you doing with that member data? Are you analyzing it? Using it to make adjustments/improvements? Letting it sit idle until you can get around to it?
If it’s the latter, it might be time for a change. Here’s what to actually DO with your organization’s member data:
1. Put it front and center
First and foremost, your data needs to be accessible, and not only that, but placed in a prominent location where you can see it on a regular basis (without having to go hunting for it). If it’s something you have to work to get (scrolling through a membership spreadsheet, exporting reports, conducting manual calculations, etc.), you’re likely to put it off as much as you can, and out of sight = out of mind.
In other words, if you’re out of touch with your data, you can’t make improvements on your data or your organization as a whole - and that’s a guessing game you don’t want to play.
To make your data easily accessible (and in a format where you don’t have to conduct manual calculations), you may want to consider using an association management system. With an AMS, not only can you choose to display your member data prominently on a membership dashboard (how many new members you have, how many total members you have, how many people have registered for your next event, etc. - ALL at your fingertips), but the system will update that information FOR you every time someone fills out a form. In other words, as soon as someone registers for an event, that will show up on your membership dashboard - giving you (and your board) all the latest numbers.
The benefit of this? It brings things into perspective. It’s so easy to get lost in your day-to-day activities - sending emails, mailing new member welcome packets, writing copy for your newsletter, etc. But what really matters? Recruitment, engagement, and retention. That said, by having these metrics front and center, you can quickly tell where you need to focus your attention. Are registrations for your next event low? It might be time to crank up the marketing or offer a limited-time discount. Have new members declined over the past 10 months? It might be time to revisit your online member application forms.
Data guides your next steps, and the closer you are to it, the more quickly you can react.
2. Look beyond the numbers
Ok, so once you have the numbers, what do you do with them? Well honestly, data really isn’t about the numbers at all - it’s about what those numbers signify.
For example, you should be tracking numbers like how many new members you have (how many people joined within the past 90 days), how many people registered for you last event, how many people actually attended your last event, etc.
Then you should be taking those numbers and diving in deeper - asking why, where, and how.
Here’s an example: Let’s say you run a report and find that 400 people registered for your last event, but only 200 actually attended. Well it’s time to do some digging. What happened to those other 200 people? Were they sent reminder emails about the event? How many emails were they sent? Did they open those emails?
If not, maybe that means the subject line could’ve used some improving. Or maybe they didn’t receive enough reminders to begin with. Either way, by analyzing that data, you can then make changes/improvements the next go-round.
Data is all about making your organization better, so analysis is key.
Now we realize the thought of pulling all this data can be intimidating. But remember, an AMS can actually pull it for you. All you have to do is analyze it. (And even though that seems time consuming, it’s a lot better than going around in circles and guessing why your renewal rates and event registrations are low.)
Want to learn more about what an AMS actually is and how it can make tasks (like pulling membership data, sending dues renewal reminder emails, tracking event registrations, etc.) easier? Check out our free guide, What Is an AMS?, below!