How to Make More Informed and Strategic Decisions for Your Association

How can your association make more informed decisions? Put one of your most powerful tools to work: data.

Data can give you deep insights that help your organization think more strategically, make more educated decisions, and drive a better overall experience for your members. The trick is to become a data-driven organization – one that collects, manages, and analyzes accurate data and puts it to good use.

Here are three effective approaches:

1. Get a more accurate view of your data.

Data analytics no longer has to be an “IT thing”. By integrating your key systems, such as your association management software (AMS) and your career center software, you can help your entire organization collect, manage, and analyze your data more effectively:

  • View updated information – Data that’s in various systems and spreadsheets throughout your organization can get outdated fast. It’s ineffective to try to remember to update member data that’s housed in different spreadsheets and systems every time something changes. Integrating your systems can help ensure you’re looking at the most recent member data across your organization.
  • Run accurate reports – Without member data in integrated systems, running reports requires pulling together numbers and other data from disparate systems. Even then you can’t be certain that you’ve captured all of the latest, most accurate data. Using integrated systems allows you to pull quick reports that represent an accurate picture of your association at any given time.
  • Make consistent decisions – Without reports you can trust, you don’t have an accurate picture of the health of your organization. You can’t make informed decisions. And, if functions across your organization are housing data in different places, they might be making decisions based on inconsistent information. By using integrated systems, your organization will be basing decisions on the same information.

2. Review data regularly.

Set up reports for each department or function in your organization. These might include:

  • Membership report that shows membership trends (new members, lapsed members, etc.), a breakdown of key membership demographics, and even helpful lists, such as new job seekers from your career center who can be targets for member acquisition efforts
  • Career center report that shows job board sales, trends, data, performance, and user behavior that can be used to grow revenue
    Marketing report that shows website visits, email open and click-through rates, and online member community engagement that can be used to drive greater member engagement
  • Accounting report that shows overall revenue, a breakdown of dues and non-dues revenue, a breakdown of revenue by program, and other key financial data that can be used to determine the financial health of the organization

Schedule a regular meeting to review reports with managers of each department. Talk about trends, what the data is telling you, and what you might do to impact numbers that are tracking in the wrong direction.

3. Share data.

Provide data and analytics to other stakeholders across your organization at key times. For example, send board members relevant reports before each board meeting so they can review them and work more effectively when they meet. Or, share applicable reports and trend data with committee members to help them make decisions about their projects.

Learn more  

By integrating systems such as your online career center software with your AMS, you’ll have greater access to timely, accurate data across your association, helping you become a data-driven organization.

For more tips and techniques, watch the on-demand webinar, Analytics for Everyone: How to Become a Data-Driven Organization.

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