The single most important thing for the administration when it comes to managing your member-based organization is data. This is why it is essential to maintain a clean database. As clean as possible, with member information ever-changing with new jobs, family status, relocation, and more.  

A clean database starts with your data import. As the saying goes, ‘good data in is good data out, bad data in is bad data out.’ This article will outline tips and best practices to help you have a clean import into your membership system.

Keep it Simple

When it comes to data, it is essential to have a purpose for every piece of data you collect. When you transfer or import data, ask yourself, why do I need this piece of information, and how will I use it? If there is no reason other than it was in our old system, it is highly recommended that you get rid of it. Do not fill your database with useless information. It is better to start fresh. Use this opportunity to analyze and determine what data you need. Have your members provide any missing or outdated data during the application or renewal process instead of large imports that will not offer any value for your association. Please keep it simple, or as simple as possible.

Consider Information Access

The next thing to consider is what information you want available for the member or contact to update and what information you want only to be able to update. Within many member portals, contacts can update their profile information, review and edit certification activities, events, and more. You need to consider this because you may want to house the information in a different location, which could mean an additional import if you do not want the member to access that information as it is only for administrators. 

Take Your Time

The most common mistake associations have is that they rush importing their data into a new system. Please don’t. Take your time to double-check. No triple check your datasheets to make sure they are correct. Ensure you provide the contact information you need to transfer and that the data is in the proper column and row of the import template provided. When importing, some of the most common mistakes people will have are states/provinces in one column, but no countries in the next. Most CRMs have intelligence that requires you the have both. Other times they will have the columns mixed up completely by putting states in the country column. Sometimes people sort columns and forget to expand the sort to the whole sheet, so the data rows get mixed up. This is why it is vital to double-check your datasheets and ensure the correct data is connected to the right contact and in the correct column.

Once your data is ready, you will be able to import it. Don’t forget before you import your data to consider the following:

  1. Make sure you keep it simple by only importing the information you will use.
  2. Consider who will have access to the data.
  3. Take your time complying and reviewing the accuracy of your import sheets.

To learn more about importing with Member365, check out our guide on the perfect import.