The art of good database management lies in the system’s simplicity and its efficiency of operation.
Many non-profit organizations use some kind of CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software system to help them to manage their lists of clients, donors, volunteers, vendors, etc. On the other hand, some smaller agencies are using Microsoft Excel, an excellent tool as well, to manage their lists. But whether you are using a CRM or Excel, there are a few database management basics that can help to make your database more effective which ultimately makes your organization more effective.
Get your staff involved in collecting good data
- Make sure they understand how important it is to the success of your agency
- Sell the idea of accurate data collection to your staff
- Gather as much info as possible
- Don’t just get a phone number
- Get an email and a mailing address
- The more details the better
Always try to keep your data up to date
- For existing entries update information whenever changes occur
- For new contacts get the information from a business card
- Don’t forget emails and other electronic documents to collect data
- Periodic purges and updates are a must to maintain accurate information
- Work on your database on a regular basis
- Remove duplicate contacts, clean up categories, add new fields
Originate communications through your database
- Use your database as the communications hub for emails, newsletters, phone calls, letters, invitations, announcements, etc.
- This will establish discipline and create a standard
- Also ensures that your contact history is complete and accurate
Be sure to close out actions and reminders when complete
- Close out tasks immediately upon completion
- Close outs often trigger follow up actions, reminders and next steps
- Helps keep your contact history up to date
A well-organized DB can help you to plan daily, weekly and monthly tasks and events. Throughout the year and particularly at the end of the year, non-profit organizations use their ‘databases’ in many ways.
v Membership management
v Tracking outreach campaigns
v Event management
v Payment processing
v Email and contact management
A well maintained, accurate database can help you reach your goals, spend less money and acquire more donations while staying focused on your organizational goals.
Becky Gregory is an Executive Virtual Assistant and the owner of Virtual Administrative Services (VAS) www.virtualadminservices.com