How Can Your Database Be More Useful?

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Leadership and Marketing Tip from H. LEINER & CO.

Whether you have a database full of donor information, beneficiary details, or both, your data can seem pretty useless if you’re not actively choosing to make your data worthwhile for your organization.

Here are 4 essentials for bringing your database to life:


  1. Use the data for decision-making: There is no inherent purpose to collecting data. It is only useful if it helps you make decisions. Before you create a database, you need to determine which pieces of data will be important to collect, which decisions will be affected by that data, and who will make those decisions.
    2. Emphasize simplicity and efficiency: Even though the more complex databases have better functionality, they are also more complicated to use and require a longer learning process to figure out how to properly use the system. The simpler the database, the better. Just include the basics so it will be easy to use and will not require a waste of time learning the kinks.
    3. Use data locally: The data collected at a local level should be used in that capacity. Instead of only giving the information to higher ranks within your organization, use it at the lower levels too. The people in charge of collecting the data should also be the ones who make the decisions based on that data.
    4. Design repeated cycles of data use: Data is only useful if it is still relevant. Make sure to analyze and use the data you collect in its appropriate time. Most things in your organization go in a cycle, so when you use information from your database for each cycle, make sure to replenish the data for the next cycle.

    By implementing these essential practices, your database will come to life and prove to be a relevant source of information to guide your actions within your organization!

    (“Data” Need Not Be a Four-Letter Word: Using Data to Improve Schoolwide Discipline, by Robert Horner, George Sugai, and Anne Todd)

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