compilation of results. At an association meeting, renewed members were recorded as new, since that was faster than following the renewal process (I would have thought the reverse). So, if someone later ran a list of new members, their names appeared. But if the list was sorted by the date joined, those people did not appear. Not collecting information. A physician group wanted to affiliate with the American Medical Association (AMA) and was required to submit the AMA membership numbers of its members. Although a field existed for that info in the database, the information had never been collected. Members had to be contacted again just for their numbers. An 18-week class offered several opportunities for pre-registrants to pick up attendance packets. Those who didn’t, received them by mail, but not until after the start of the program. The database did not

Remember, if it’s not important enough to record, it’s not important enough to ask for.

include information about packet pickup. Records were kept manually. Miraculously, no errors were made. A group did not ask registrants for their meal preferences. It was assumed that vegetarians would simply tell the servers they needed a different entrée and it would be prepared in the kitchen. But the kitchen staff needed to know ahead of time how many veggie meals to prepare. IT’S REALLY EASY… Take the time to do things the right way. Collect the info you need, record it, and use it when necessary. That seems like common sense. But, apparently, not everybody has common sense.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR David M. Patt, CAE, is president of Association Executive Management, providing practical operational advice and strategy to not‐for‐ profits in management, membership development, programming, and advocacy. He can be reached at dmpattcae@gmail.com


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