10-25-2011 2:15 PM, EDT
Really great workshop today, excellent topic and insightful speaker. I would love to know where to go for more nitty-gritty how-tos on how to merge constituent data with the new outsourced communications tools like constant contact, mailchimp etc. I would like to develop new processes for tracking and exporting data and ensuring it's synced across platforms, wondering what others' experiences are with this. Books to read? Websites to check out?
11-02-2011 2:09 PM, EDT
Kat, thanks so much for the question and for listening last week. You've asked a doozy of a question in that there are literally dozens of ways to go with this. The more data we track, the more potential data integrity headaches we're creating for ourselves!
If I understand your question, you're searching for some information on how to match data from one system to another. More robust (and unfortunately, expensive) statistics programs like SPSS do this very easily -- you find a matching variable in each data set (say, last name or constituent ID) and it will merge the files.
For something more cost-effective, Excel has a "Consolidate" function (under the "Data" tab") that can do the same thing, although a bit less intuitively. Look up the function in the help menu for more.
In either case a key point here is to make sure there is some variable -- again, last name, ID number, credit card number -- in both data files that can be used as a key variable to match cases together.
I continue to believe that for most applications, Excel is the way to go -- everyone already has it, it has some very powerful features, and few people are using it to the fullest. Spend some time learning it and you'll find it will take you a long way!