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Meet our new database manager, Diane

Hello, I’m Diane Zempel, the new database manager here at the Community Foundation.

The best way for me to tell you about the talent I bring to the Community Foundation is to describe my kitchen pantry. In it, you will find canned vegetables grouped together by type with their labels facing forward. Likewise, in my refrigerator, drinks are with drinks and cheese with cheese, labels facing out or up.

Consistency, reliability and efficiency. That’s what a database manager brings to data. That’s what I will be doing with the Community Foundation’s donor database.

While I mostly will be working with donors’ names, contact information and relationships rather than the donors themselves, I feel it is very important to treat their data respectfully. I am here to make sure the database tells the story of our donors and does it respectfully.

That means mail addressed to them should use their formal names, not nicknames. Unless they prefer to have their nicknames used, in which case we can manipulate the data to meet their wishes. Have you ever had your name misspelled on a letter from an organization you support? Has something been addressed to your spouse when it was meant for you? Has a mailing ever been — I hate to even consider it – mailed to you in the name of your spouse who has passed away?

My job will be to make sure none of those things happens in your dealings with the Community Foundation.

My qualification for the job is that I am trained and have professional level certification in the Raiser’s Edge, the database management software that the Foundation uses, and is sold by a company named Blackbaud. You may not have heard of it, but it is well known among foundations, hospitals and universities. Prior to joining the Foundation staff in November, I worked with RE databases at the ThedaCare Family of Foundations and the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center.

Before learning about databases, I worked in the welding industry, handling sales and ordering for customers needing to replace parts or supplies for their welders. I’m all about pieces and parts. I also learned about bringing order to potential chaos by spending seven years as a single mom.

Maybe I’ll see you at an annual Celebration of Giving or some other Foundation event. Until then, I’ll be at my desk – the one with the pencils organized by size – cleaning our data and keeping it clean.

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