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Data Management Best Practices on Organizations?

  • 1.  Data Management Best Practices on Organizations?

    Posted 19 days ago

    In our CRM (Ellucian Advance 2015), one of our top data management issues that we struggle with is: Organizational Data.

    As an example – we have at least 5 organizational records for Xerox (all slightly different).


    What I'm curious about is –

    What are your institution's best practices when it comes to managing organizations within your CRM?


    (It could be anything from how you are managing corporate hierarchies (subsidiaries/business units/divisions/mergers and acquisitions) to industry codes/coding to org contacts or even handling prospect assignments)


    Looking forward to hearing what others are doing.


    With thanks,


    Christopher Amherst (he, him, his)

    Assistant Director of Advancement Information Systems

    University Advancement

    M 240.412.7929 P 585.475.2959 F 585.475.7004



    Rochester Institute of Technology
    116 Lomb Memorial Drive, USC 03401/Rochester, NY 14623




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  • 2.  RE: Data Management Best Practices on Organizations?

    Posted 19 days ago
    Christopher, does RIT have a formal data governance structure?  I find that without one, getting our arms around things like this is more difficult.  It is useful for the entire institution to abide by data standards which include record creation.  It also includes institutional name and address standards and the establishment of Data Stewards overseeing various data repositories.

    If not essential, I also find it useful for each division with responsibility for a primary database (Advancement, Admissions, HR/SIS) to establish formal Data Integrity Specialist positions.  These individuals seek and destroy non-conforming data.  Obviously, in Advancement, I believe that responsibility belongs in Advancement Services and, ideally.  Some organizations even have a Chief Data Officer within Advancement.

    If you are a member of aasp, you might want to look at the Best Practice on Data Governance.  It is located in the Advancement Management category.


    John H. Taylor
    John H. Taylor Consulting, LLC
    2604 Sevier St.
    Durham, NC   27705
    919.816.5903 (cell/text)

    Serving the Advancement Community Since 1987

  • 3.  RE: Data Management Best Practices on Organizations?

    Posted 19 days ago

    I only have a minute, and in some ways managing organizational records is as much an art as a science, but here are a few thoughts.  (I should add that our Advancement database, in Ellucian Advance, is a stand-alone database used just by Advancement, so we don't have to worry about how Finance or Career Services or HR or anyone else want to organize their organizational data.)


    Our starting point is that we try to create records only for organizations that are distinct legal entities, so we try not to create entities for the branch of a bank or a department at a university.  That separate entity might be the subsidiary of another corporation, but in general would be a distinct entity.


    Within that rubric, we try to create records mostly for organizations when having a record would support some Advancement purpose or activity, for example


    • when we have (or intend to have) and manage a relationship with the entity.  That may mean that they're considered a prospect, for example.
    • when they make a gift, with an organizational record created for the entity that Gift Registration identifies as the legal donor.
    • When it's useful for organizing other data, such as creating a record for an organization where we have employment information for a number of individual constituents


    Our current pan-institutional Advance implementation pulled together many individual museum/unit databases, so we had quite a few duplicate records to review and resolve, which we did using the basic rubrics above.  One red line was that we needed to maintain any record for any entity that was the legal donor for a gift.  We could merge it with other records for the same entity, but not, for example, merge it with the record of a company that acquired it (in which case we inactivate the legal donor entity and link it in an organizational hierarchy as merged/acquired.) 


    My US$0.02 worth; the usual disclaimers apply.


    Good luck!




    Alan S. Hejnal   

    Data Quality Manager




    Smithsonian Institution - Office of Advancement

    600 Maryland Ave SW Ste 600E

    PO Box 37012, MRC 527

    Washington, DC 20013-7012

    Voice: 202-633-8754 | Email: