The data you have relating to members, prospective members, partners, etc. plays an extremely important role in organizational growth, so moving it all from one system to another is (understandably) a delicate and thoughtful process.

Talk about pressure! To help you breathe a little easier — and to make it a whole lot less daunting — try these three steps for preparing your data for the transition:

Step 1: Think about your goals. 

You may have some goals related to using (and maintaining) your membership management system, but be sure to consider your organizational goals as well. (How you use your database should be informed by those goals anyway!) Keeping these goals in mind will help you make confident decisions as you move through step two.

Step 2: Categorize your data into “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves.”

There are some things that you simply CAN’T lose (member data, billing information, open invoices, etc.), and then there are some things that you wouldn’t be worse-off to leave behind. It all comes down to what’s going to help move the needle on the goals you identified in step one.

Now, deciding to ditch a chunk of data is enough to make anyone feel uneasy. What if you end up needing it?? To help, one of our Senior Onboarding Specialists always poses two questions: “Is it important? Is it accurate?”

If it’s accurate but not important, it’s just clutter. If you’re not using it, no harm in leaving it behind.

If it’s important but not accurate, consider leaving it behind as well. If the new membership management system can’t track it in a usable way and it’s gotten messy, this may be a good opportunity for a fresh start!

That said, you may decide it’s too important to lose. Gut check yourself and your team by considering that data alongside your goals, as well as how long it’ll take to clean it up. It may not take as long as you think, which brings me to step three…

Step 3: Decide if you want to do any necessary clean up before or after it’s transitioned. 

Chances are, you’ll find you have some important but inaccurate data to clean up. It may seem like it’ll make more sense to do that work before you officially start transitioning systems, but consider what tools your new system may have that could help automate some of it for you. It may actually be worth the wait!

Another thing to consider: will the team helping to launch your new database identify areas of opportunity to clean up during the process? That could be another reason to hold off and see what crops up.

Whether you’ve been collecting data in a membership management system for years or manually through excel spreadsheets, work through these steps to get it all in order for a brand new system! Still on the hunt for that new system? Check out our buyer’s guide: