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Shitter Full? IT May Time To Clean Up Your Database

Updated: Jun 23, 2021

Is good old Uncle Eddie visiting your Association?

At our home, one of our favorite classic movies is “Christmas Vacation” with Chevy Chase from the 80’s. You know the show, that’s the one where good old Uncle Eddie shows up in his Recreational Vehicle (RV) and crashes the family vacation. Specifically, there is one scene that reminds us of something that we all have to do with our database systems, clean it out!

In fact, many associations may find it almost as bad as cleaning out the waste from the RV receptacle as depicted in the movie scene with Uncle Eddie “Cleaning out the Shitter”.

Data Management is Critical for Databases!

Shitter is Full

So, is your “Shitter” Full? If so, how do you cleanse and purge your receptacle of data?

Data cleansing is the process of altering data in your association database to make sure that it is accurate and correct. There are many ways to pursue data cleansing in various software and data storage architectures; most of them center on the careful review of data sets and the protocols associated with any particular data storage technology. Data cleansing is also known as data scrubbing.

In more complex operations, data cleansing or data scrubbing is a process for removing corrupt, inaccurate or inconsistent data from a database. Regular data-cleansing corrects records containing incorrect formatting, typographical mistakes, or other errors. Cleansing might also mean harmonizing records so that they are consistent with each other.

You could also implore various software tools in and out of your database. For example, Data cleansing software systematically searches for discrepancies or anomalies by using algorithms or lookup tables. It then corrects the issues. An automated process of this kind is much more efficient than trying to fix errors by hand.

Regular data cleansing operations are critically important as erroneous data records can ultimately lead to erroneous conclusions and misguided investments decisions.

A program could be set to delete all records that have not been updated within the previous five years, correct any misspelled words and delete any duplicate copies. A more complex program might be able to fill in a missing city data based on a correct postal code or change the prices of all items in a database to another type of currency.

Many association management systems today even have postal verification software like to help clean up dirty data. One example is AccuMail Verify which provides real-time address validation, utilizing powerful address targeting technology that allows the user to drill down through possible address options as an address is entered, arriving at the complete, validated address in as few as 9 to 14 keystrokes. It works seamlessly within CRM applications, Call Center software, Shipping and Fulfillment systems, Office applications and more.

Finally, you would hope that your AMS or donor database would have standard tools baked into the system to help with clean up processes too. Many do!

So, How Do You Know The “Shitter” is Full?

Below you will find the top questions to ask to determine if your database (Shitter) needs help from good ole Uncle Eddie:

  1. Can you rely on your data to send out your dues billing statements, email campaigns, or conference solicitations?

  2. Is your member data missing important pieces which make records incomplete?

  3. Does you staff have separate excel spreadsheets due to lack of “Faith” in the information stored?

  4. Does it suffer from having duplication of records?

  5. Does it have dead contact data and accounts which no longer exist?

  6. Is there something more you could add to enhance your Association Software data?

  7. Has it been more than 2 years since you reviewed or surveyed your constituents for current data?

  8. Do you feel comfortable sending important statistical data to your Board?

What is The Price For Not Cleaning The Shitter?

It is pretty simple. Nonprofit Association Management data is critical for your organization. Bad data costs time, efficiency, money & results. And, duplication & redundant Association Management data provides you distorted reports & business intelligence.

What is the best way to clean your data?

  1. Allow your members or donors access to their data online. It’s easier to manage the exceptions that input 1000 plus new or updated information by your staff.

  2. Purchase a software program to regularly cleanse and scrub your data regularly. This should be a task which your organization commits to each month and especially before large campaigns.

  3. If you have neither the resources above, hire a temp to do it! If you do not have the time in house, hire someone to do it for you.

For most, cleaning out your database is one of the last things on the list of “to do’s”.

But, if you don’t take the time to perform this very critical step in your nonprofit, you will likely have more than your fair share of problems.

We can help! Please Contact Us for more information on our data cleansing techniques and tools.


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