Just like you need the right person in your organization to be the point person for your social media efforts, you also need to put the right person in charge of your most valuable asset: your data.
In 8 Tips to Strengthen Your Database to Help Build a Stronger Donor Base, Amber Marks outlines some great ground rules for nonprofit data collection and management. This list also drives home the fact that you need to put someone in charge of your database who is empowered to make data management an organizational priority – and who is excited about the challenge.
You want a data manager who is part guru, part gatekeeper. He or she needs to be:
Unrelenting about collecting the data you need. You can’t use it if you don’t have it, and capturing data is a task that requires focus and tenacity. In particular, you need someone who can develop strong relationships with your development people and “pull out” the things they know but aren’t recording so that you can add that knowledge into your database.
Uncompromising about accuracy and consistency. Close enough isn’t good enough. If you want to use variable data to customize communications across multiple channels and engage in 1:1 conversations with your donors, all the data has to be there and it has to be consistent. The person in charge of your database needs to provide quality control and oversight.
Committed to making the data available. Gatekeeping has to be a two-way job. If someone is so fanatical about safeguarding your data that no one can get at it, it’s not doing you any good. Collecting data is one side of the coin. You want someone who is equally excited about discovering what the data can do.
- Is your nonprofit in data denial?
- Doing more with data: talking to donors “where they are”
- Doing more with donor data: put each “thank you” in context