I highly recommend that AMS administrators and users get involved with their software’s users group. iMIS folks should give serious consideration to attending one of more of the NiUG events held each year. I’ve attended quite a few NiUG meetings on the east coast, and this slate of sessions and speakers offered at the upcoming conference in Chicago on April 18-20 offers a jam packed lineup.
The pre-conference schedule offers 5 choices of full day training sessions for an additional fee. The extra fees are reasonable by comparison with other training centers. Plus at NiUG, you get the benefit of training with iMIS expert trainers on an iMIS Database with iMIS tables and fields. For new iMIS Database Administrators, these sessions can be eye opening, empowering you to return to the office and create new solutions to business problems at your association. The pre-conference sessions include the following offerings:
- Task Center
- SQL Server Intermediate/Advanced
- Crystal Reports
- SSRS-SQL Server Reporting Services
- Introduction to iMIS Membership and AR/Cash
The conference itself includes the following sessions:
- What’s coming in iMIS 15.2 -from ASI
- Trends and Engagement with Mobile Platform in Your Organization-Alan Atwood, TX Medical Assn and Kelly Flowers, Powered by DUB
- Social Networking Going Mobile: Becoming Social and Generating Engagement- Andy Steggles, Higher Logic
- A look at ASI’s Resources – from ASI
- And 18 additional breakout sessions over 2 days.
If you miss this event, start making plans now to get to the next NiUG event in Baltimore on October 19-21, 2011 at the Hyatt Regency Inner Harbor.
Is your association database full of duplicate records? Is your undeliverable mail bin overflowing with renewals and marketing messages that never reached the intended recipient? Does it take an army of editors to prepare a directory or similar list of members for public distribution? These are all signs that your database and your data entry team could benefit from use of formal data entry guidelines.
The heart and soul of all association management systems are the contact records for our members. So when considering a data integrity strategy, you must begin by considering how new data is entered into the software. For most of us working with US-based associations, the easiest way to get started is to adopt rules around contact information from a third-party source such as the United States Postal Service address guidelines. The full publication (Publication 28) can be used as a reference guide, but you’ll be most successful if you adopt a short set of rules that are easy to follow. Below is my simplified version of data entry rules based on their address standards:
- Spell out company names except Inc, LLC, LP, etc
- Do not use punctuation except the hyphen between the zip and the plus 4 code.
- Numeric street names should (almost always) not be spelled out (7th, not seventh)
- Abbreviate directionals before and after street names (123 S Main St NW)
- Abbreviate street suffixes (Ave, Blvd, Cir, Ct, Dr, Ln, Rd, St)
- Do not use the pound sign (#) as a secondary address unit designator, instead use standard abbreviations (Apt, Bldg, Fl, STE, Unit, Rm, Dept)
- Spell out city names (Fort Myer, not Ft. Myer)
- Use two letter abbreviations for US states
- Manage records in proper case and use uppercase formatting for mailing labels reports
- Add the plus 4 to US zip codes (use an integrated address verification service to automate this)