Valuing Your Data

I had started writing a blog on “How to Hire a Database Administrator” when I realized I needed to lay a little groundwork before that discussion. (Stay tuned – it’s coming!) That groundwork is about the culture you would hire someone into. Key to that culture is how you value your data.

At some point in your career you may have heard the truism: “You can’t make big money with bad data.” Imagine going to ask for a planned gift with no knowledge of what the donor has given to in the past, what her interest in your organization is, or what her family and business are like. All these details can be tracked in your constituent database (CRM).

Can be. But are they? Are details about donors themselves in the database or in someone’s head? Are gift details all in number code or only in your financial software? Are event attendees indicated as such in your CRM or is event information in Excel sheets?

A big step toward valuing your data is getting it all into your CRM. If staffers are keeping their own information on separate Excel or Word documents, urge them to transfer that information into your database. The more relational and interconnected the information in your database is, the more you can use it to engage your donors and make targeted asks for the resources you need to fulfill your mission.

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