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Keeping Accurate Data and why it’s Important

Kelli Brannen January 14, 2014

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dataIn today’s world of technology, churches and organizations have access to many valuable tools to help them interact with their members, record contributions, and share information on the go. In ACS OnDemand and Realm, you have all of these capabilities and many more. However, in order to get the most out of valuable resources such as these, you must maintain accurate data in them. Let’s take a look at a few examples of why this is so important.

Searches and Reports

Let’s say that in a few weeks your church is going to have a special event for the young married couples who attend, and you want to send out invitations or announcements to these couples. In order to find out who these people are, you need to run a search or query. If you use ACS or Realm and your data is up-to-date, you can search on marital status and age range, then send out a mass email or print out mailing labels to send out a letter about the event. If any of your young married couples don’t have a date of birth or marital status listed on their record, they will be omitted from the search results.

In another scenario, you may want to run a report to view statistical information on the individuals that make up your congregation. In ACS People Reports, there is a Census Report that displays age, marital status, and gender statistics among other information. This report is great if you have up-to-date and accurate information on your members, however, if you find that you are missing birth dates, martial statuses, member statuses, and other fields from your member records, this report will be skewed.

Contact Information

In addition to searches and reports, contact information is also key. If email addresses, phone numbers, and mailing addresses are not correct, your members will not receive contribution statements, newsletters, phone calls, and other communication sent out from the church.

Many times during my days in our support department, I assisted clients with one of the above or similar scenarios, and so many times after processing a search I would hear “there should be more results than this” or “I’m looking through the list of results, and I know of a name that is missing.” We would then go and look up an individual’s record, and sure enough that piece information we were searching on was blank. The same happened many times with reports.

Filling in the holes

The first question you probably have is, “How do I found out which records have missing information?” Just as you can use searches and queries to find out which records have certain information, you can use them to find out who doesn’t have certain information on their record. For example, you can process a search in ACS or a query in Realm on birth dates, member statuses, email addresses and many other fields that are blank, to see which individuals have missing information on their records or profiles.

The next question you need an answer to is “Now that I know who these people are, what is the best way to get their missing information?” The method you use to obtain missing information will depend on what software you use and what type of information is missing. In ACS People, if you process a search for those missing birth dates, and the majority of these individuals have email addresses, you may want to send out a mass email requesting this information, then follow up with the others via a phone call or a letter. However, if the search you  run is for those who don’t have email addresses on their record, you may want to send out letters or put an announcement on in the bulletin requesting members to contact the church to update and verify their information. In Realm, if you process a search on those who don’t have a phone number on their profile, you can also send out a mass email requesting your members to update this information. You can also set up an announcement asking your members to update any missing or out-of-date information on their profiles.

When you have up-to-date information on your members, your searches and reports will return accurate results, and you can rest assured that your members are receiving the communication you send out.

Kelli is a Technical Writer who began her career at ACS as a support representative. She has a degree in mass communications with a minor in Spanish from Francis Marion University. She and her husband Mike will always have a house divided when it comes to college football teams.

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