How to Clean Up Your Chamber Membership Association Database

by | Apr 18, 2024

Old Library database filing system

Imagine this scenario: A member of your chamber of commerce creates a new business email, but because your membership database only has their old address on file, when the time comes to reach out to members to update their information, they don’t get the message. This member then misses out on important information, dates, and events – all the things they count on you for as their chamber. 

To avoid this kind of data decay mishap, it’s important to create a process to clean up your membership database regularly and accurately. Maintaining a clean and updated database of your members is critical to the success of a chamber of commerce. Your database is a measure of how the organization is functioning which allows the chamber to make informed decisions. 

Implementing a practice to upkeep a tidy membership association database will clear the path for efficient communication and enhanced engagement with members. This also will prevent staff from doing minor pesky administrative work, like tracking down missing information, combing through the data for duplicate or inaccurate entries, and eliminating members who are inactive, allowing more time for other tasks to get done. 

Ideally, if chambers don’t have the manpower or other resources to contact each member individually to verify that their information is correct, then members will personally contact the chamber to update their information. Realistically, we know this doesn’t always happen. That being said, there are several methods to lock down a system that will ensure your database stays up-to-date with accurate and reliable member information. Below are some membership database tips to clean up your data. 

  • Utilize your membership software to update members’ status and information. There are countless options for membership management software that are designed specifically for chambers, nonprofits, and other organizations. Current software can send automated emails to members to update their information and boost the readability of a database by keeping the formatting organized and consistent. 
    • Some chamber-specific web-based member systems are quite robust, with major players including ChamberMaster/GrowthZone, ChamberNation, and MemberClicks, among a few others. Older PC-based membership systems used by many chambers of commerce include ChamberWare and SBA. Be forewarned, these older systems are quite good at what they do, but they are not web-based, usually require a server or dedicated PC, and have limitations in how they interact online.
  • Reach out to members periodically at various times of the year, such as the end of the year or the end of a quarter, or when you send renewal invoices, to remind them to update their membership information. This could be in the form of an email, a phone call, or both!
  • Make it easy for members to update their information and contact you. This could mean sending out a profile update request email that would allow members to make any potential changes directly in the email itself. That being said, while sending out an email to verify member information is easy, it may not be thorough. If you have 1,000 members and the open rate is 30%, then only 300 people will have seen the message. Worse, if the click rate is 15%, then only 150 people will have reacted to the email. Keep in mind that emails get flooded, so email verification might not always be the most effective means to check in with members. 
  • An alternative is to outsource membership verification to a third party that specializes in chambers of commerce. For instance, Chamber Marketing Partners’ unique member verification program contacts members individually both by first-class mail and a phone call to verify and collect updated information and package the info into a neat document. For more information about our Member Verification Program, otherwise known as the “No More Angry Member Phone Calls Program”, click here.  
  • Bonus tips: Brainstorm some standards for members’ contact information and share them with your team to keep things consistent. For example: “Street” and “St.”, “Road” and “Rd.”, consistent area codes and phone numbers either with parentheses or without, (e.g., (800) 555-1212 or 800-555-1212 or 800.555.1212). Make sure PO Boxes aren’t in physical address fields, etc.  Periodically print out or scan through the member list on the screen and clean up the inconsistencies.  It’s these little things that may not seem that important and people may not notice, but they’ll certainly notice when there are a lot of inconsistencies in a printed directory or online.

All in all, your chamber of commerce mustn’t overlook the importance of cleaning up your membership association database. Not only will this keep things organized and running seamlessly, but maintaining a system for your database will also save you time and resources in the long run. 

For more information about how you can streamline efforts to clean up your membership database or further questions about our Membership Verification program, do not hesitate to contact us

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