Daily Buzz: Hone Your Data Management Process

Drowning in data? Add these housekeeping tips to your data management plan. Also: improving the certification exam experience.

Your member database is a portal to a lot of information—like, a lot. Which is why, if it’s not organized well, it can be hard to find what you’re looking for or determine what data is even valuable.

Audra Hopkins from the Web Scribble blog says to think of your member database like a room full of documents. “You wouldn’t ever want to keep important information about your members strewn around, crumpled up, mixed up with other files and papers, right?” she says. “If your member database looks like a cluttered desk, you can imagine the frustration you’ll have getting any productive work done.”

So, get organized. And start with backing up your data. “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,” Hopkins says.

From there, your team should develop an organization-wide data management process. What exactly this plan looks like will depend on your association, but it should include items such as how to properly enter data into the system.

As for outdated data? Get rid of it. “It could actually be what’s creating chaos in your organization scheme,” Hopkins says. “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!”

Revamp the Exam Process

What makes for a good certification exam experience? For starters, your test takers need to accept the validity of the exam based on how well it incorporates content that squares with their real-life professional experience, says member researcher Amanda Kaiser on Smooth The Path.

“Given our members’ worries, I imagine developing an exam that suits every title, and every organization is difficult,” she says. “How can we create an exam that meets everyone, exactly where they are? We can’t. But we can make the exam experience better.”

Among other things, Kaiser recommends providing the right prep support to test takers, including information about how to prepare for the exam on their own if they can’t afford or don’t have access to a study group.

Other Links of Note

Need help with Instagram analytics? The Hootsuite blog shares six tools that can help.

The first step in building a digital-first culture: breaking down silos, says CMSWire.

Understanding what members are going through will help your association improve its value. Stay on top of industry trends with these tips from the WBT Systems blog.

(koto_feja/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Jeff Hsin

By Jeff Hsin


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