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Articles > Managing Data > Prep your database for your incoming class of 2021 alumni

Prep your database for your incoming class of 2021 alumni

Tips for cleaning your alumni database and transitioning 2021 leavers/parents onto your database

As students enter their final term at school, it’s time to start thinking about how you can smoothly transition the class of 2021 records onto your alumni database, so that you can start engaging with them once they leave. Implementing good database practices in your development office can have a huge impact on how well you can communicate with your community; keeping a clean database means you can filter for precise segmentation, to make your comms as relevant as possible. Here are a few tips to make this years’ transition stress free!

1) Create a unique ID per person

Using a unique ID per record ensures that even individuals with similar information can be identified at a glance in your database, and is the only way to truly ensure that any new information is being added to the correct record. When importing into a new database, such as transferring over your current students from your school database to your alumni database, using a unique ID will help to eradicate duplicate records for the same person, as the same ID should not appear twice in your list

2) Ensure that your records are separate for each individual

While joining records or adding two people to one record can seem like a quick fix - for example, for parents - it can cause a whole host of problems when ascertaining which piece of information relates to which person, and can cause significant difficulties for consent management. Before you import your parent records, take a look to check that each person has a separate record. 

3) Use consistent mapping and picklists across your database

Using picklists (choosing from a list, rather than entering free text) is a good way to future-proof your data, as information is stored in a consistent, fixed format, even with multiple admins inputting data. 

4) Ask the experts 

As well as handling the initial data migration, the ToucanTech Data team are on hand to assist with regular migrations. By signing up for the data migration service, the team will be on hand to manage the transfer between your current school database, and your ToucanTech alumni database annually. 

Being new in my role and to the Toucan Tech database, it has been great working with Luke to update our system and backdate of lot of fundraising and records information that hadn’t previously been record on our database. Luke has made it incredibly easy the whole way through, taking the time to discuss timelines, what I want to achieve out of importing the data and how best we can go about it, all whilst being really clear about how the process works. We still have more to do but it doesn’t seem so overwhelming thanks to him and his team and we have signed up for regular data migration throughout the year to be managed by ToucanTech.

Kirsty Murdoch, Head of School Development, Notting Hill Prepatory School

5) Once your records are imported, ask your students to sign up to your online community

This will ensure that the records can be matched easily in the database, and gives students the option to update their contact information so that you have their personal email address for future use! Online communities are a fantastic way to encourage alumni to stay connected once they leave, and they can access opportunities such as events, mentoring and photo galleries. 

To find out more about data migration services with ToucanTech, and how you can benefit from an all-in-one software that encompasses a CRM, database and community, speak to a member of the team. 

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