3 spreadsheets your association should get rid of right now

Tirrah Switzer

June 25, 2021

    Let’s talk about a little secret that no one likes to admit to: managing member data in spreadsheets.

    Here’s the reality: Staff at associations need to get their jobs done. When the organization’s systems and processes make that difficult, employees often find workarounds by using spreadsheets to track data.

    The problem with that approach is that you end up with member data in multiple locations (often called data silos), making it nearly impossible to keep the data updated, run accurate reports on the data, and use the member data for more sophisticated marketing and member engagement activities.

    So, what’s an association to do?

    Here’s a hint: You want to party like it’s 1999, not manage data like it’s 1999.

    The answer is to do away with spreadsheets and get that member data into a modern association management system.

    Moving data to an AMS allows you to collect and manage member data in one central location. This approach helps you easily keep member data updated and secure as well as gives you a complete view of your member data through reports and dashboards (plus use your data to accomplish more).

    Ready for some examples?

    Here are three spreadsheets to get rid of right away.

    Event registrations

    By moving your event data from a static file into a modern member management system, you can take advantage of predictive analytics tools to help you plan your next event by using past engagement data (such as who attended last year and who didn’t, or who registered last year but is not registered this year) to make predictions about and take action for your next conference or event.

    For example, you can determine expected registrations based on historical member activity, making it easier to anticipate attendance and associated event logistics.

    AMS: 1. Spreadsheets: 0.

    Why do members lapse? What can be done to bring them back?

    This guide has you covered with answers to those questions and more.

    Lapsed/potential lapsed members

    By getting your data out of stagnant spreadsheets and into an AMS with robust functionality, you can improve member retention. For example, you can use predictive analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) tools to analyze data about past member behaviors and predict if a member is unlikely to renew, and then intervene before losing the membership.

    An article about AI on this blog includes a real-world example of how an association is using AI to increase member retention by identifying individuals likely to lapse. When an at-risk member is discovered, team members are automatically presented with actionable steps they can take to encourage the member to renew.

    Try doing that with a spreadsheet.

    Member touchpoints

    How can you deliver a great, connected member experience if you’re housing data about member interactions in spreadsheets across your association? (Spoiler alert: you can’t.)

    When different departments in your organization are working with different sets of member data, your member experience suffers. Members are more likely to receive incorrect communications. They might have to contact your team multiple times to update their information. Eventually, you might lose them as members.

    By putting this type of member data into a modern AMS, you can see all information about a member in one spot. You can run more accurate reports and make more precise and informed decisions for your organization.

    What spreadsheet can do that?

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