Who 'Owns' the Data in Your Organization?
This is a politically charged area for many organizations. There are so many decisions to be made around data and databases. If the first point (above) is aligned — i.e., the purpose of the data — then this becomes much easier. But in my experience, the value of data sometimes gets lost in the amount of work/time/money it costs to manage it.
One of the worst things that can ever happen to an organization is when decisions about keeping, cleaning or managing data are made based on workload or only IT expense. Those decisions must always include the value of being able to use the data. Imagine sitting in a meeting with marketers and fundraisers and the topic of a specific metric or a specific data point comes up.
Now imagine the marketers and fundraisers saying, "If we had that, we could then be more customized (relevant) in our messaging," or, "If we had that, we would be able to track people as they do x, y, z and how they are engaging with us."
We've all been in these situations. Ready for the rude awakening? Now imagine the answer coming back as one of the following:
- "It will take XXXX (time) because there are 100 other things in the queue ahead of this request."
- "We don't have room in the database for another field."
No database, data management or data enhancement decision should be made, prioritized (or de-prioritized) without talking to the people who are in charge of putting that data to use. If you want to talk about the value of work hours or the value of database expense, the answer can only really be understood by asking the marketers and fundraisers what they can do with the data and asking them for "mission results." In other words, ask how much money can be raised, how can retention be improved, etc.
Vice President, Strategy & Development
Eleventy Marketing Group
Angie is ridiculously passionate about EVERYTHING she’s involved in — including the future and success of our nonprofit industry.
Angie is a senior exec with 25 years of experience in direct and relationship marketing. She is a C-suite consultant with experience over the years at both nonprofits and agencies. She currently leads strategy and development for marketing intelligence agency Eleventy Marketing Group. Previously she has worked at the innovative startup DonorVoice and as general manager of Merkle’s Nonprofit Group, as well as serving as that firm’s CRM officer charged with driving change within the industry. She also spent more 14 years leading the marketing, fundraising and CRM areas for two nationwide charities, The Arthritis Foundation and the American Cancer Society. Angie is a thought leader in the industry and is frequent speaker at events, and author of articles and whitepapers on the nonprofit industry. She also has received recognition for innovation and influence over the years.