We’ve all read headlines about companies getting their servers hacked, loopholes in SaaS services or “software membership,” and losing information via membership database(s), but what exactly is a membership database? 

How important is a membership database to an online membership business? What is the purpose of a company keeping a membership database? 

What Is A Membership Database(s)?

A membership database is a collection of information about individuals or entities who have some form of membership in an organization, such as a club, association, institution, or business. 

A membership database typically contains various types of data related to the members, including but not limited to:

Personal information: 

When databases are exposed, the most significant concern is outside access to members’ personal information. After all, this data includes:

  • Names
  • Addresses
  • Contact details
  • Birth dates
  • And other demographic data.

This information is vital to organizations, ensuring they can create focused messaging.  

However, they must keep this data securely locked away; otherwise, they could be liable to pay large fines. 

Membership details: 

When onboarding members to your community, you should note when they started, the end date of their current membership, the membership level or type, renewal status, and membership ID numbers.

Payment Information: 

It’s also important to record members’ payment history, dues or fees owed, transaction dates, and payment methods. 

Always ensure that you provide your members with payment gateway options. 

Communication Preferences: 

This is the vital opt-in or opt-out choices for receiving communications such as newsletters, event invitations, or promotional materials.

Activity History: 

These are records of interactions with the organization, such as event attendance, participation in programs or committees, or volunteering activities.

Various organizations commonly use membership databases to manage their membership programs efficiently. 

Now that we’ve listed all the elements associated with a membership database(s), let’s focus on why they are important. 

Why Is A Membership Database Important? 

A membership database is important because it can streamline membership registration, renewal, communication, and engagement tracking processes. 

Also, membership databases allow organizations to analyze member data to understand their demographics, preferences, and behaviors, which can inform strategic decision-making and targeted outreach efforts.

Access to a comprehensive membership database can be the difference between success and failure, so answering why a membership database is important is a big deal.

Considering this, how does one begin to create a membership database? 

How Do I Create A Membership Database?

To create a solid membership database, you’ll need to select a software solution as a foundation, define what data you need, customize the database structure, and maintain and update it regularly. 

The steps involved in creating a comprehensive membership database include: 

Select a database platform that will meet your organization’s needs and budget. There are several popular options, such as WildApricot

Define your database requirements, and specify what information you need to collect from members. 

Once you’re happy, it’s time to design the database schema, which requires a structured plan, or a database schema, which will outline the tables, fields, and relationships needed to store your members’ data effectively. 

It’s always in your best interest to train staff and users to use the membership areas safely and ensure that information stores are made securely. 

After you’ve created a solid membership database, you will need to maintain it, and stress test it. 

Now that we understand what is a membership database(s), you might be ready to create your own. 

Read next: How Do You Change Member Level In Wild Apricot?