For Valentine’s Day Let’s Celebrate … Data Mavens!

Every organization needs one – that person who keeps the data straight, ferrets out duplicate records, nags you to update the addresses you’ve kept in your rolodex and Excel spreadsheets – you know who I’m talking about … the Data Maven!

At WaterGrass we’ve worked with lots of them.  Picky picky picky.  

But so vital vital vital.

It’s time they were celebrated.

Nobody wants to be the data maven.  It’s an anxiety-provoking, devil-in-the-details job, constantly trying to maintain order against the natural entropy of information and the pressure of other things that need doing.  It would be so much easier for them to just ignore the little mistakes, but … at some point they suffer one time too many from bad addresses in a mailing list or donations attributed to the wrong family and they can’t stand it.  So they take up the burden for the whole organization.

Usually they feel a little guilty about it.  Often they’ll apologize for being so exacting when they ask us for corrections.  They worry about irritating their colleagues.  It wears on them.  It’s a hard role to play.

They need allies.

We’ve seen too many organizations where a data maven leaves and no one takes his or her place.  Soon, the remaining staff can’t get good reports or mailing lists.  Then they distrust the database.  They begin to keep important information in spreadsheets of their own.  Eventually fundraising can suffer, sometimes catastrophically.

So let’s use this Valentine’s Day to spread some love to people who don’t get honored enough.  Let’s celebrate …

To kick it off, here’s a poem for all the data mavens out there:

We know “Read” isn’t “Red.”

We know “Green” isn’t “Greene.”

You make us write out organization names fully without contractions

So our data is clean!

We hope you and your organization have your own data maven to celebrate.

Baird & Carl