Data Quality Best Practices
The following is a list of ideas and best practices for keeping your MinistryPlatform database current.
Make having good data a priority for your entire staff
Encourage those who aren't likely to use the database to inform your heavy users of changes in marital status, living situations, births, death, etc. While it is easy enough to show people how to update these things, sometimes it is wiser to tell people it is OK to just email something to a key person.
Define minimum standards for adding records to the database
- Require two searches before adding a new person (name, phone, address).
- Require at least one or both parents before adding a child.
- Require some current contact information (email, phone or address).
- Do not enter records when the spelling of a name is unclear and research cannot rule out whether they are already in the system.
- Do not enter records without a last name by putting a "?" as the last name.
- Some individuals feel like they absolutely must create a partial record to do their work. Show them how to use the "Unassigned" or "Default Contact" records as temporary placeholders. They can assign themselves or someone else a task to follow up on that record.
Leverage the data that comes through Online Giving and Online Registrations for changes
- Frequency: Weekly
- Method: Each time a donation or a registration is received the information submitted by the individual online can be compared to the information on file for that person. A quick way to do this is with the Contact Log Tool launched from that open record. Another approach is to review the data for records that did not match a database record when using the Assign Donor or Assign Participant tools.
Leverage the Check-In process for changes
- Your volunteers in Check-In should be encouraged to complete a family's record and ask for additional information when the family is new or reports a change on the weekend. The Check-In system allows for changing basic information like phone, address and email.
Ask individuals to update their personal information on the Portal
- Frequency: Once per year
- Method: Send individuals an email from the Platform with a link to their User Account on the Portal
Ask ministries to update their Groups
- Frequency: 4 times per year
- Method: Require that all ministries keep at least one Group of type Ministry Team current with those serving in their area
- Select all current Groups for a specific ministry and assign a task to a staff person in that ministry who should review them then complete the task.
- Use the view on the group's page titled Group Stats to see when the last participant was added to the group. Groups that haven't had someone added to recently may have been abandoned by their ministry.
Define how long each type of person will be allowed to remain Contact Status=Active without activity
- Define your categories (Non-participants, Participants of type "Member", Participants of type "Attendee")
- Agree with your leadership regarding how long each group of records can remain Active without any activity (new groups, events, donations).
- Leverage the views on the Participants page called "Review..." to determine how long since the person or their family has been recorded as participating in the church.
Task and train specific people with handling the database records of those who have become inactive or deceased or who have been entered into the database twice
- The Inactivate Contacts Tool helps you to ensure that all those inactivated are fully inactivated in all areas of the Platform.
- The Deceased Person Tool helps you to ensure that all database objects related to the person are properly updated to avoid embarrassing emails or mailings with the decedent's name attached.
- The Combine Contacts Tool on the Contacts page ensures you fully combine duplicate records.
Work with Think Ministry Inc. to define a custom Participant Engagement process
- Categorizing your people based on how involved they are at the church. This can be automated.
- Changing the Participant Engagement for one or more Participant records from the past category to the new one. This is done with the Assign tool and views to make it possible for a human being to perform additional appropriate actions on that list of people at the same time.
- Most churches have some rules that relate to segmentation and movement, but their rules only cover new people or members. The goal is to have a comprehensive categorization process.
- Most churches have unique terminology and rules that make it impossible to copy another church's process entirely, Think Ministry Inc. has an excellent, generic approach that can be configured for your church based upon your rules.
Remedy records that come up in the "Fix" views.
- Frequency: at least once per month
- Method: a system administrator or someone on the Data Quality Team should work through the Data Quality Views to fix records as needed. Additional "Fix" views can be created yourself or with the help of Think Ministry.