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» Non-Profit Membership Association Case Study

The Problem:

A New Jersey membership association, was left with an unorganized and possibly out-of –date database of members and prospects when their database manager vendor disappeared and did not leave behind any of their data.  They were in need of a centralized database and someone to help them collect and manage their existing data.

Overview:

In late 2006, the Executive Board of this organization realized they had no formal process for managing their members and prospects in a database.  They had someone managing this for them, but that person was no longer available and disappeared with their most current information.

The Board contacted DB Pros to help them gather their current information and help them manage it internally.  Their greatest concern was to ensure the data was accessible to multiple people, so there was no danger of the data ever getting corrupted again.

The organization received periodic updates of database information from multiple sources – emails, the National Board’s Member updates, and personal notification at meetings from members and/or prospects.

In addition, the chapter was using fax and phone to collect event registration information, instead of having an online system that would allow attendees to sign up through a website to attend and pay for an event.

Analysis of the Problem:

By using an outside resource, someone who is not a member of the organization or a Board Member, the organization was open to inconsistent service.  To no fault of their own, they were faced with a situation that was out of their control and unforeseeable – no database and no database manager.  The organization was forced to gather as much of their information as possible to redevelop their own database and come up with an ongoing solution that would eliminate this issue occurring again in the future.

Recommendations:

DB Pros came in to assess the organization’s current situation and determine the best route to move forward.  It was determined that a centralized database system that all Executive Board members could access was the best solution for them.  However, because the organization is a non-profit organization, they were not in a position to spend thousands of dollars on a full-fledged CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system.

The initial solution was to develop an Access database that DB Pros managed until a more permanent and centralized solution could be determined.  This database served as the core database the organization used for meeting announcements, reporting/analysis, and member management.

To find a more permanent solution, extensive research was conducted, which found several web-based solutions that would match the organization’s needs.  From the research rose one product that fit all of their needs – a centralized, online system; a batch email system; online event registrations; print management for event badges, reports, etc.; event/calendar management; and discussion boards.  This product is MemberClicks.

Conclusion:

After several months of research, memos, and Board Member discussions, it was determined that the organization would purchase MemberClicks to help the chapter manage their database of members and prospects; to begin utilizing online event registration; and expand the chapter’s capabilities by adding survey capabilities, bulletin boards, an online calendar of events, just to mention a few key features.

Testing was done within the Executive Board to ensure the system was functioning as expected and it was then launched to their database of contacts.  Online event registrations will begin being used for the chapter’s March 2007 event.

By using MemberClicks, the issue of losing their own data was eliminated.  Each Board Member has their own login to access the data and features appropriate for him/her.  It has also brought the chapter up-to-date with the technology to run a membership organization efficiently and effectively.

MemberClicks, over the course of the first year of use, will also save the organization money, as it eliminates the need for their existing email marketing software contract.  They can also reduce fees paid to service providers that take the faxes and phone calls for event registrations.

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