As you approach the summer months, traditionally a season of reduced giving, get ahead of the curve and make sure your data is performing the way it should be.
Taking the time to examine your data now, before summer hits, will position you well for the crucial months ahead. Doing this could be the catalyst that not only yields better summer results, but positions you for successful fall fundraising.
Here are three key things you should be focusing on:
- Duplicate Records
- Incorrect Information
- Mailing Preferences
A strong indicator of a poorly performing database is duplicate records. If you’ve added new donors to your file in the past year, be it through direct mail, an event, or digital acquisition, it is crucial to cross check and remove any duplicate records.
You should also take time to update any records that may have changed. Look especially for deceased records, name change due to marriage, change of address, etc.
Note: Make sure you only purge records that are duplicated or otherwise unusable. Data from donors who haven’t given in a while can be very valuable in reactivation efforts!
Do you have any missing fields for portions of your file? Depending on where the original data sources came from, it’s a good idea to check. Be thorough, because everything from a missing salutation for a gift-in-kind donor to incomplete contact information for a volunteer will cause your database to misbehave.
It may sound simple, but your summer campaigns can be improved by simply ensuring that your donor’s communication preferences are clearly documented. Keep an eye out for credit card expiration dates and incorrect solicitation fields.
A well-functioning database will not only save you money on postage, but will allow you to better personalize your communications and treat your donors as real partners. This leads to better retention rates, as your direct response will benefit from updated addresses, more accurate gift arrays, and giving profiles, and ultimately a greater understanding of your relationship with donors and their preferences for communication, both in channel and frequency.
Fundraising is a team sport and whether you realize it or not, you are in a three-legged race with all the other functions in your organization.
Data is the thing that ties your team together, so if you have any questions or if you’d like our support to tidy up your database and prepare it for summer and beyond, we would be happy to help you.
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