For a professional member-based association, your database is your most valuable asset. The success of your association is dependent upon a robust association management system (AMS) to house your member data and perform essential functions like communicating with members, processing membership applications and renewals, providing event registration forms and more. Association marketers, meeting planners, as well as executive directors and boards of directors need accurate and up-to-date data and reporting to make sound decisions and reach members and prospective members. We know keeping your data clean can seem like an intimidating task, but with a little regularly scheduled maintenance, your AMS will start running like a well-oiled machine in no time. Following these tips regularly will make maintaining your database a snap:
- Back up your member database
Your database is full of valuable information that took a significant amount of time and resources to collect and maintain, and with one click or system crash…well, we don’t even want to think about it. To make sure you don’t lose your membership data, back up your entire database on a regular basis to a separate server. Having this information on file could save you from some serious headaches in the future.
- Clean up loose ends
There are going to be people who start a membership application form or conference registration form, and for some reason don’t finish. Instead of letting these incomplete forms hang out in your database for eternity, use the opportunity to reach out and close the sale. Send these users a quick reminder to finish their incomplete form. If there are a significant number of people not completing a form, take a second look at the form and make sure it is user-friendly and easy to complete.
- Update member expiration dates
Check that members have correct membership expiration dates in their profiles. Imagine if you were a member who just renewed, but were unable to access your association’s member benefits. Avoid frustrations by exporting your member list to see if there are any glaring errors (like a 01/2099 expiration date). If you see anything amiss, check your expiration settings for glitches.
- Monitor member profiles
Some associations have more complex membership structures than others. Pay close attention to how your member types, forms, and expiration dates are set up, and test the system to ensure member profiles are being created and updated correctly when members renew online or take a registration form. When you export your member list to create membership reporting, look for any duplicate member profiles, and merge their profiles in your Association Management System (AMS).