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Dubious Duplicates – 3 Reasons to Clean Up your Database

Once upon a time, a fundraiser was hired to raise some money. She was given information about the donors in the database, how many there were, and how much the charity had raised in the past. She made a strategy and presented it to the board – promising growth and setting bold targets.

Then, on her first week, she made a shocking discovery. Even though she was promised thousands of donors – the database was filled with hundreds and hundreds of duplicates, and she realized all her numbers meant nothing! 

This fairy tale isn’t something that happened a long time ago, in a faraway land. It’s a real life problem that has happened to me. Bad data can really hurt your fundraising efforts. If you want to raise lots of money, and have happy donors – you need to keep your database clean.

Here are three big reasons why getting rid of donor duplicates matters:

1. Great Strategy Needs Great Data
When you are making plans, strategies and goals – it is incredibly important that you have good data to base your plans on. Get rid of donor duplicates so you can make smart decisions about how to set goals and objectives.

2. Metrics & Measurement

KPIs, metrics, measurements – they aren’t just things we do to keep our boards off our backs. Our metrics help us find our strengths, and areas for improvement, and help us make smart decisions about where to invest time and resources. Donor retention, for example, is an incredibly important thing to measure, to make sure you are doing the right things and making good fundraising decisions. Duplicates in your database make these metrics less meaningful – you know the saying fundraisers: “Garbage in. Garbage out”.

3. Avoid Complaints
I don’t know about you – but I’ve noticed that few things rile donors up more than the perceived cost of fundraising. If they think you are wasting money, they will be grumpier than grumpy cat. You know what makes it look like you are wasting money? Sending the SAME PERSON multiple versions of the same mailing. Avoid this blunder by cleaning up your database!

For these reasons and more it’s never been more important to clean up the duplicates in your database. The great news is that there’s a cool new software – MergeOmatic from Omatic Software – that makes removing duplicates a breeze. Check it out, you’ll be glad you did.

The Raiser’s Edge® is a registered trademark of Blackbaud, Inc.

 

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