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Member and Donor Data

A key asset that all associations have is their member or donor list. This, or a portion of it, is likely to be on or available to your web site for several reasons. If associations are to survive in the future of universal connectivity, an ever larger portion of member benefits are likely to be delivered via electronic means. Eventually all of your members will routinely use your web site; if they don't they wouldn't be members.

Delivering member benefits via the web will require private, member only areas for all member based association web sites. As this document is intended for associations that have large memberships relative to staff size, the logical conclusion is that it simply will not be feasible for association staff to manually set up web accounts for members. The larger the association membership is relative to staff size, the sooner automated mechanisms that draw on information in the member file will be needed. This data will be used to identify and authenticate members who wish to use the site. If different member types have different benefits, then more member data is likely to be needed by the web site and the complexity of the functions will increase as the rules controlling who has access to what become more complex.

Associations that are donor oriented and do not actually provide member benefits, will not need private member areas but will still face at least one related issue. As increasing portions of your prospective donors get more information form Internet sources and spend more time online, it will become increasingly important to be able to collect contributions electronically via your web site. In order to profile your donors and maximize your collection opportunities, contributions made via your web site need to be accurately matched with donation histories via other methods as well as with prior web donations. The easy way to do this in an automated manner would be to keep some key portion of your donor base data on the web site, and make the matches as they occur. A better way would be to collect everything that the website has regading the donor, including IP address and all cookie information and send it to a computer, with no direct or public Internet access, that has your donor data, and do the comparisons on this relatively protected computer.

Another reason that member oriented association's member databases are likely to be on their web sites is to provide an electronic directory as discussed in "What Is Your Web Site's Purpose". In this case almost all information that anyone would want about your members is in a location available to your web site. Over time as more functions are added to your web site and more of these are tied into your association management system, a larger portion of your member data is likely to be available to your web site.

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Copyright © 2000 - 2014 by George Shaffer. This material may be distributed only subject to the terms and conditions set forth in (or These terms are subject to change. Distribution is subject to the current terms, or at the choice of the distributor, those in an earlier, digitally signed electronic copy of (or cgi-bin/ from the time of the distribution. Distribution of substantively modified versions of GeodSoft content is prohibited without the explicit written permission of George Shaffer. Distribution of the work or derivatives of the work, in whole or in part, for commercial purposes is prohibited unless prior written permission is obtained from George Shaffer. Distribution in accordance with these terms, for unrestricted and uncompensated public access, non profit, or internal company use is allowed.

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