Why practicing data hygiene can benefit your association staff and members

According to the Community Brands 2022 Association Trends Study, over half of association professionals say investing in business intelligence and data analytics is a top priority, yet only one-third would rate their organization’s data as excellent or very good. What is the state of your association’s data? You can take steps to improve the quality of your member analytics by investing in data hygiene across your organization.

Data hygiene ensures your analytics are up to date, accurate, secure, and optimized. Practicing good data habits grants your staff access to important member information and eliminates unnecessary roadblocks. Investing in analytics can also give your association revenue a boost, helping you meet and exceed your strategic goals.

Still have questions about the importance of data hygiene? Keep reading for more tips on why your association needs to invest in analytics.

Why is data hygiene important at your association?
According to McKinsey, 53% of the world’s top-growing organizations use data to drive success in lead generation, customer service, and e-commerce platforms. Likewise, your association can leverage data hygiene for member recruitment, engagement, retention, and e-commerce personalization. When your association prioritizes analytics, your staff will see increased productivity across your organization.

Cleaning your data can also improve its accuracy, helping to inform your decision-making process.

“The old adage about garbage in, garbage out, is really very relevant here,” says Ryan Stark, Nimble AMS Product Analyst. “At best, including irrelevant data is going to provide data that doesn’t drive your goals, making it difficult to interpret your dashboard. At worst, it can provide conflicting outcomes, not ultimately reflecting the truth of what’s happening.” 

Stark also cautions against including too much or too little data, again searching for that sweet spot of just right. This is why the process of data hygiene is crucial for your organization. Routine review and cleanup efforts will help to optimize your analytics, making them relevant to your specific organizational purposes.

When helping with the Nimble AMS Member Lapse Solution, Stark and other employees learned an important lesson in data hygiene. While feeding data from member accounts to generate value for the solution, Stark found a strong relationship between membership types and the likelihood of not renewing, to not renew, causing confounding results. Stark needed to take a closer look to review the analytics in the system. After doing so, he was able to remove the invalid metrics and clean up the data, providing better value to the Nimble AMS Member Lapse Solution.

How do you practice good data hygiene at your association?
Making a habit of data hygiene can greatly benefit your association. But how can you start the process? 

1. Bring all employees on board. It’s crucial to educate your entire staff about the importance of analytics.

“At the Council of Foundations, everyone is responsible for data hygiene,” says Tucker Rush, the Manager of Member Engagement and Analytics for the Council on Foundations (the Council). At the Council, all employees must log emails, track calls, and update Salesforce and Nimble AMS accounts.

2. Routinely audit your data. Whether it’s every three or six months, auditing your analytics should be an organizational priority. When you conduct your audit, look for inconsistencies, confirm your software standards are up to date and determine which metrics are most useful for your association.

3. Use the best tools. According to LinkedIn, 71% of surveyed staff reported wasting too much time on data entry. For successful results with your analytics, your association should leverage the best software. Use modern association management software (AMS) to help monitor, manage, and streamline your data entry process to remove any silos at your association.

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