What to Know When Managing an HOA Full Contact Database
anAs a professional homeowner association (HOA) manager, data management is a very important skill. Managing an HOA requires you to organize your clients’ finances, vendor lists, maintenance schedules, resident fees, and more. In most cases, you will also have to manage a full contact database for the HOA. This can feel like a full-time job by itself.
When managing an HOA full contact database, there are several things you need to know. A full contact database is a valuable resource when managed properly, but if you’re not careful, this data can become overwhelming and disorganized. Learn how to manage an HOA full contact database and your association management business will thrive.
A full contact database covers all contacts related to your clients’ association, from board members and residents to vendors. By implementing a contact management strategy, you can ensure your clients run a successful HOA. Using a full contact database can help you promote your clients’ projects, streamline email communication within the association, and assist with marketing your own business.
If you’re not sure where to begin with managing an HOA full contact database, here are some key pointers to help you. When combined with association management software like CINC Systems, these tips for managing an HOA full contact database will take your business to the next level.
Tip #1: Create a Contact Management Strategy
First, create a management strategy for your client’s HOA full contact database. Together with your client, ask yourself the following clarifying questions:
- What are the HOA’s goals for the upcoming year? What are their long-term goals?
- What are some challenges the HOA is currently facing?
- How does your client prefer to contact its residents, vendors, and other parties? Has email been more effective in the past, as compared to mail and phone calls?
- What, if anything, has the HOA done to manage its full contact database in the past? What were the pros and cons of this previous strategy?
A contact management strategy will address these questions and more. After all, it’s not the quantity of contacts in your client’s database that makes a difference. It’s how you use them. By assessing your client’s goals for their HOA, you can determine the best ways to manage the association’s full contact database.
The best full contact management strategies for an HOA database use consistent communication, such as weekly or monthly email newsletters, along with information that engages the recipients. For HOA members, this could include a summary of recent board meetings, a community events calendar, home improvement tips, and more.
Work with your HOA clients to determine the best full contact database management strategy. Then, implement this strategy on a trial basis. It may take you a few months to experiment with the best strategy, but once you get it right, you’ll be using your contact database to dramatically improve your client’s association — and your business reputation in the process.
Tip #2: Enter Data with Accuracy
If you’ve been hired by an HOA that already has a full-contact database in the cloud, using association management software like CINC Systems to review the database and reorganize it, if necessary. But if you’re brought on by a new HOA that doesn’t have a digital contact database, it will be up to you to create it.
Data entry isn’t the most exciting work, however, this isn’t a job you can rush. Creating a full contact database inside your HOA management software will give you an opportunity to develop a solid organizational structure for the association’s future communications. But if the data is entered incorrectly, it can create numerous problems later on.
Avoid the hassle of reorganizing data by paying close attention to the details each time you add a new contact to the database. Accuracy matters. A typo in an email address or a wrong phone number can result in chaos. Go slowly, and if you begin to get tired or find your mind wandering, take a break or switch to a different task. After all, an HOA full contact database is only useful when it’s accurate.
Tip #3: Learn the Different Types of Contact Files
Managing an HOA full contact database will be easier when you understand the different types of contact files. Although association management software like CINC Systems stores its databases in the cloud, there are certain occasions where you may need to send or receive contact files with an outside party.
For example, you may need to import contacts from a new vendor. Understanding different file types will help with this.
There are two main file types used for importing and exporting contacts. One is called a vCard file, designated with the file extension “.vcf”. A vCard is like a digital business card. These files are only used for contact information, so the data on the file will be structured the same way in any computer program. In other words, vCards offer a universal format that will be accepted by virtually any contact database program.
The next file type is called a Comma Separated Value, or “.csv” file. You may already be familiar with this file type through spreadsheets such as Excel. A Common Separated Value file is much more customizable than a vCard. For example, you can add unique fields to each data entry, such as whether the contact prefers email or text alerts. However, because the data isn’t standardized, you may experience formatting issues when importing or exporting these files. Choose your file type depending on the needs of your recipient.
Tip #4: Keep Your Database Clean
Finally, remember to keep your HOA full contact database clean. This is essential for managing any contact database. Due to the nature of an HOA, your contact database will change over time. Board members will change, new residents will move in, and vendors may need to be added or updated as well.
In order to make sure you’re not sending emails to recipients who will move them to their “spam” folder, periodically go through your client’s HOA full contact database and check that the information is up to date. Although this may feel like a chore, it’s worth the success of your HOA management business.
Related Frequently Asked Questions
- How Can Association Management Companies Working with HOA/COAs Benefit from Association Management Software?
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- How Association Managers Benefit from CINC’s Accounting Software
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- Is My Association Management Accounting Data Safe When Using Software Tools?