Sharing Data Easily Between Chapter and National

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Chip Deale Head of Society Relations for CFA Institute and Kimberly Fischer, an association consultant joined me for a conversation about sharing data in ASAE & The Center Connecting 08 Annual Meeting session“Chapter & National Databases: Do They or Don’t They Interface?” on August 19. The main take-away from the session was that we can create well-organized data sharing systems and we can harness the power of data being collected at national and at the local level.

Seven Measures of Success convinced most of us that being data driven is critical to being a great association. One missing link for many has been how to connect the data from the chapter and that from the national level to get a clearer picture of members – their behaviors, their demographics and more. In a session at Great Ideas, Peter Houstle and I led a discussion on the power to harnessing this data. Now with the help of CFA Institute and Promotional Products Association International we have two successful examples. Clickhere to view the presentation PowerPoint with screen grabs and details on both systems.

Some advice they offered can help navigate this option:

Co-creation with stakeholders is important; clearly define stakeholders’ values

Hit your deadlines; be staffed appropriately

Security is important; until it becomes a barrier

Keep the legalese to a minimum.

Rollout in stages

Training, training, training!

For some associations, the investment is too great at this time. That’s where a system like the one we use for our chapters becomes a reasonable Plan B. We use Microsoft Access into which we collect key demographic data along with data on registration, membership, volunteerism and sales. This can work when to take the time to have sharing protocols such as:

Select Key Identifier Field (Mbr ID)

Match Fields & Tables where possible

Set up regular schedule for data imports/exports

Use flexible, consistent format (e.g. CVS)

There are other web-based options too like MemberClicks.

So what if your association can’t tackle the whole database, consider starting with on on-line registration system like OLRS from the Appraisal Institute. One other easy option is a flexible on-line Membership Database with the option of providing chapters with additional editing, look-up and reporting permissions.

It all begins with the realization that the benefits of shared data translate into more robust & accurate data, operational efficiencies, lead sharing 24/7 and more members!

Mariner Management & Marketing provides association management, volunteer coordinator and leadership development information for associations and non-profit organizations.