Tag Archives: database

Leah Monica

Leah Monica

Who Should be in Charge of Your Membership Database Migration?

interlocked hands

I get asked this question a lot by clients and prospects: CEOs and Executive Directors who are about to embark on a move to a new membership database want to know who should be in charge
of the migration.

My answer: Not IT. Create a small committee that includes membership, meetings and IT, maybe one more department. Let me explain.

When IT is in charge of a project, the rest of the organization often tunes out the project. They assume the project is way too technical and they don’t need to be involved.

But a move to a new database is just the opposite. The entire organization must be aware of the details of a move to a new AMS (association management software): why you’re moving, what the new system is, how the organization will benefit, the process for the move, staff responsibilities, requirements and testing burdens, and the timeline.

Membership should be involved because, well, it is THE membership database after all. Membership needs to define the rules for who gets to be a member, who gets tracked, what information goes into the AMS, yada, yada. Membership also needs insight into why and how people and companies become members, which the database should provide.

Meetings should be involved because for more associations, conferences and courses are a major member benefit and revenue source. The new AMS needs to support the various events your organization sponsors AND have a user-friendly interface that encourages people to sign up.

If your organization has other, significant departments that must be supported by the database (e.g., publications, sponsorship, foundation), then by all means, give them a seat the table. In fact, insist they be at the table.

IT must be involved because IT can respond to the technical requests of your new vendor. Questions like: what version of SQL Server are you on? How does staff connect to the database to run reports? Can we get an export of all the data? What does this field mean? What are the legal values possible in this field?

Create a small committee, give the members joint responsibility, make them jointly accountable, and tell them they all need to love the new system before it can go live. If you need to assign one ultimate neck to wring, you decide which neck that will be. I vote for Membership. And tell membership to play well with the other departments in the sandbox.

Joanna Pineda

Joanna Pineda
CEO & Chief Troublemaker

The Best Membership Database for Trade Associations

If you work with or for an association, you know that a key difference in association types is whether the members are companies or individuals. Associations that have companies for members are typically called trade associations. While MatrixMaxx serves BOTH trade associations and professional societies, we have some unique features that specifically benefit trade associations.

  • Each company record can have one or more primary contacts. The primary contact can manage not just their own individual record, but also the company profile, and the profiles of all people attached to the company. Primary contacts can also mark staff attached to their company as former staff, retired or deceased, as well as add new individuals.
  • Companies can have relationships with other companies, which means we can support complex organizational hierarchies, e.g., a company that is a parent of three companies, and is it self the subsidiary of another company.
  • Individuals can have multiple affiliations because we know that in the corporate world, John Smith can be CEO of a holding company, President of the North American division, and Trustee of yet another firm.
  • We know that in many corporations, a single person must manage travel and event registration for multiple people at the company. This is why our Group Registration module allows a meeting coordinator to register up to hundreds of people from a family of related companies, pay with one credit card, and indicate who should receive the email confirmations and receipts.

There are many, many other ways in which MatrixMaxx is uniquely suited to the needs of trade associations. We hope you’ll request a demo to learn more!

Joanna Pineda

Joanna Pineda
CEO & Chief Troublemaker

Is It Time to Add a Gender-Neutral Honorific to Your Forms and Directories?

I was in the car a few weeks ago when I heard a story on NPR about Mx, a gender-neutral honorific that is being adopted by many organizations because not everyone wants to identify their gender in the traditionally binary ways (e.g., Mr. or Ms.).


In 2015, the New York Times wondered if Mx has gained the same stature as Mr. and Ms.; two years ago, the answer was “not yet.” But in March of this year, HSBC began offering clients up to 10 gender-neutral honorifics, including:

  • Mx
  • Ind (which stands for Individual, meaning free of gender)
  • Mre (which stands for mystery)

The MatrixMaxx database has a free-form Prefix field. This field is free-form because while most clients use traditional honorifics like Mr. and Ms., some use formal Honorifics like Dr. and Excellency.

It will be up to your organization to decide whether or not you wish to adopt gender-neutral honorifics. The good news is that your MatrixMaxx database already supports it.

Joanna Pineda

Joanna Pineda
CEO & Chief Troublemaker

The One Thing You Should Do to Make Your Database More Secure

Every day, we hear about another big data breach. Last year, Yahoo! revealed that 500 million user accounts had been breached. eBay had 145 million accounts compromised. The numbers are getting so big, we’re numb to them.

In some cases, sensitive data was leaked. In others, millions of emails are getting a new flood of spam.

If Yahoo!, the White House, eBay, Anthem, OPM and NATO can get hacked, how can organizations like yours stand a chance and secure your members’ data?

Here at Matrix Group, we believe that every organization needs layers of security so that if one layer (e.g., a firewall) is breached, there is another and another.

But here’s one simple thing you can do to make your database more secure: make sure your user passwords are encrypted.

Why do this? If a server has been compromised, aren’t the individual passwords that least of our worry? Not really.

It turns out most people reuse passwords. Which means if one of my passwords gets hacked AND the password is not encrypted, hackers can try my username and password combination on other sites, including online banking and eCommerce sites.

I hear from clients who say they get many customer service calls from members who forget their passwords. They want to be able to view a member’s password so they can provide good customer care. While I understand this, I don’t think helping out a few hundred members a year is worth the risk to the other tens of thousands. Any database worth its salt has a password reset, which you can easily send to members.

If the passwords in your membership database are not encrypted, please, please ask your vendor to do so ASAP. Don’t wait. Don’t hesitate. Do it now!