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Intro to AI Webinar

Associations have a choice to make. As technology continues to rapidly evolve, associations can continue on as usual, relying on the same AMS/LMS/CMS and traditional member engagement tactics, or they can pivot boldly, embracing new technology and getting comfortable with experimentation, failure, and growth.

For those ready to forge a new path, understanding the importance of robust data management is crucial. As AI continues to reshape various industries, effective utilization of emerging AI tools hinges on access to and ownership of clean, well-organized data.

Clean, Organized Data

Clean, organized data refers to information that is accurate, up-to-date, and structured in a way that is easily accessible and interpretable.

Associations need systematic categorization of member information, engagement metrics, and operational data. Without this, associations face everyday challenges like misinformed decision-making, ineffective member engagement tracking, and hurdles in identifying trends that could inform strategic decisions. The importance of high-quality data escalates when implementing AI solutions, as AI models require good data for accurate training and insights.

Access to Data

Access to data means ensuring that the right people within the association are able to retrieve and utilize data when needed. This involves technological solutions, such as user-friendly data management systems, and procedural measures, like clear data governance policies.

Limited access to data leads to bottlenecks in decision-making, delayed responses to member needs, and a lack of agility in adapting to new challenges or opportunities, like AI. For AI tools to be effectively integrated into an association's operations, staff need to be able to interact with these systems and the data they process. Restricted access to data can significantly delay the effective deployment and use of AI technologies. With the pace of AI development, there’s no time for delays.

Data Ownership

Data Ownership involves control over your data sources and a lack of over-dependence on third-party platforms.

Does your association have the authority to decide how data is used, stored, and shared? Lack of data ownership can result in vulnerability to changes in third-party provider policies, potential data breaches, and limitations in how data can be utilized for member benefits. Owning data allows associations to tailor AI tools specifically to their needs, ensuring that AI-driven initiatives are built on a fully controlled data foundation.

The Solution: A Common Data Platform

A common data platform (CDP) is a unified system that centralizes all data sources, ensuring that information from different departments and functions is integrated and harmonized. It is a database under your control, that pulls in data from all other sources continually.

This platform becomes the foundation for analytics, inquiries, exploration, and AI initiatives. The CDP offers resilience and acts as a launch pad for AI, transforming it from a concept into a practical tool for associations. Imagine creating a system that's adaptable, resilient, and capable of incorporating new technologies like AI.

This centralized approach brings several key benefits:

  • Streamlined Data Management: By consolidating data into a single platform, associations can more efficiently manage their data. This includes easier updates, consistent formatting, and reduced redundancies.
  • Enhanced Data Analysis and Reporting: A unified data repository allows for more comprehensive data analysis and reporting. Associations can gain holistic insights into member behavior, operational efficiency, and market trends.
  • Data Security and Compliance: Centralizing data enhances the ability to secure sensitive information and ensure compliance with data protection regulations.
  • Facilitation of AI Integration: A common data platform is crucial for the successful implementation of AI tools. AI algorithms require large datasets to learn and make accurate predictions. A centralized data system provides the volume and variety of data necessary for effective AI applications.


As technology evolves, a CDP enables associations to quickly adopt new tools and technologies, keeping them ahead of the curve in a competitive landscape. By focusing on data management and establishing a CDP, associations can position themselves at the forefront of AI adoption, ensuring they are not only prepared for the future but actively shaping it.

Interested in learning more about common data platforms? Contact Hilton Gray, founder of MemberJunction, a common data platform specifically designed for associations and non-profit organizations.

Johanna Gundlach
Post by Johanna Gundlach
November 27, 2023
Johanna Gundlach is Senior Advisor to the Sidecar team and the first employee of Blue Cypress. She is passionate about helping grow leaders in the association and not-for-profit space. Outside of her work with Sidecar, Johanna loves exploring the mountains with her dog Laci.