As a Raiser’s Edge consultant and trainer, it’s a question I ‘m asked often. I addressed the first-and most dangerous response in Part 1 (Excel is NOT a database!) of this series. Then we talked about trusting all of this to your staff. Here’s the third common response I hear when I talk to Executive Directors about database maintenance and training:
What if she’s a quitter?
I often hear Executives say they aren’t willing to invest in training because of high employee turnover. Firstly, that brings to mind the chicken and the egg, but that’s a fish for another fry. One of my favorite responses to this is that you can train your staff and risk they leave, or you can NOT train them and risk that they stay! Your commitment to asking the questions must be matched by your commitment to giving your staff access to what they need to provide you with answers. Sometimes that’s training; sometimes it means bringing in a consultant to help. Usually, it’s both. Be prepared to give them the tools they need to provide accurate answers to the questions you are asking. Doing so demonstrates very clearly your commitment to them and to the database. Ultimately, don’t you have a fiduciary responsibility to your donors to assure that their investment in the software is being properly maintained and fully utilized?