Mission of the Month: Q&A With GBCS's Michelle Whittaker on Constituent Database Management
FS: What advice do you have for other organizations exploring database management solutions options?
MW: You're not looking for bells and whistles; you're looking for functionality. You want to find a tool that really puts functionality at the forefront, something that makes sure things work properly, there's good ease of use for back-end and front-end users. You have to find a tool that works really well for you. Make sure you have a good sense of what's going on, that you're able to leverage the information and statistical data that you're getting as well as levering the real contacts and actionable items that people are taking. Then you need to be able to use that to affect change throughout the world.
The biggest thing people are struggling with, from my experience, is just finding a solution that allows staff to easily do the work it needs to do on a daily basis. Your database management system needs to allow your staff members to have the ability to easily set up an e-mail, set up an action alert, be able to understand who is in your database and be able to target the right folks with the right message. All of those things are key in terms of you being able to effectively do your work and having a good tool in your pocket for maintaining strong connections with constituents.
You need a tool that works well with your experience. You need something that is functionally capable of what you need to do and creates an experience that makes it easier for everybody to do their job. You want a tool that you're not thinking about the technology you're using; you're able to just say this work because it becomes second nature. You want your employees to become empowered by the technology, not hindered by it.