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Case Study: How To Better Allocate Association Resources Using Data – Part 1

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Massa Inc Data Collection ImageAt Massa & Company, each of our projects begin with a data issue. Clients either need help with data management, manipulation, storage, cleaning, or sometimes all of the above.

We recently finished an analytic project for an international association with tens of thousands of members. While the scope of the work we did was on a large scale, associations of all sizes will benefit from the methodology we used to help this particular association better allocate resources across 100 different Special Interest Groups.

In this 4-part case study, we will reveal the four important steps we took to help our client streamline their SIG spending and optimize every dollar spent.

Step One: Gather Data

Before we could determine which SIGs were getting which resources, and whether or not those resources were being properly allocated, we needed to gather some data.

We found that across the 100 SIGs, there were many different processes in place for collecting and storing data. For example, some groups collected data using Excel spreadsheets, while others used Access or Word or via to HQ.

We also found that there were many different metrics being collected among the SIGs, and there was no one person “in charge” of the data collection process throughout the reporting year

In order to optimize the data collection process, we:

  • Created uniform organizational procedures that we carried out across all of the SIGs. When every SIG collects a similar set of metrics, it’s possible to greatly reduce the cost of the analysis.
  • Assigned each SIG a unique identifier so it was easy to tell which data came from which SIG.
  • Asked our client to assign a data wrangler who was in charge of overseeing the data collection process, and who would check in with each SIG quarterly or monthly to assure things were running smoothly.

Once the same data collection procedures were in place across all SIGs, each SIG had its own unique identifier, and an individual or team was tasked with tracking the data collection process, we were ready to move on to Step Two: deciding what to do with all that data! Details of this in my next blog post.

Food for Thought:  Porcini Risotto

Ahhh…risotto! I have been making it for years. If you’ve never made it, you’re in for a treat, but be forewarned – if you’re in a big hurry, it’s probably a good idea to make something else. There’s no room for impatience when making a good risotto!  It is a simple process that cannot be cut short.

Just as a great risotto requires patience, it takes patience to gather all of your data from different places in order to get an accurate picture of where you are right now, and where you want to be. But that patience pays off, so don’t rush through the process. Take your time digging deep into the data and gathering it from every server, filing cabinet, and clipboard where it’s stored.

In addition to patience, the other crucial ingredient for a great risotto is the right mushroom. If you’ve made mushroom risotto without using Porcini mushrooms, you’re missing out! The porcini mushroom has a deep, woodsy flavor that you just can’t get from those hum-dum crimini mushrooms.

This is Mario Batali’s recipe for Porcini Risotto and it will make your brains fall out!

Are you investing in any part of your business where you’re NOT collecting data? Chances are you may be leaving money on the table. Contact Massa & Co. today to find out how you can boost profits, slash expenses, and grow your business through the power of data. Find out more by calling (312) 463-1050 or contacting us online.

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About the Author:

Bonnie Massa is Founder and President of Chicago-based Massa & Company, Inc. She works with companies and nonprofits to make the best use of their information about customers, partners, donors and sponsors. With more than 30 years of experience in marketing and predictive analytics, Bonnie is passionate about helping clients make informed, data-driven decisions to increase the value of their customer base. She works with organizations of all types to attract new customers and constituents, segment existing customers and analyze customer behavior to predict future behaviors. She speaks fluent “geek” and is an effective translator between business executives and technology experts. Bonnie currently serves as President of American Marketing Association Chicago Chapter, a volunteer position leading the best marketers in the city. She strongly believes that making pasta and ice cream from scratch are worth the effort, and she spends much of her free time testing and re-testing that theory.