Five Tips to Beat the Donor Data Blues

If planning for your year-end campaign triggers feelings of anxiety, confusion, stress or the overwhelming temptation to hide under your desk – you might have a case of the Donor Data Blues. These feelings are serious warning signs that something with your data just isn’t right. And this is one funk you can’t brush off or tough-out because it can cost you fundraising dollars, time, and retention of your donors.

Data not only provides valuable insight into your supporters, but it also helps your organization make better decisions, increase fundraising revenues, grow relationships, and guide your marketing strategy. On the flip side, incomplete or inaccurate data can bring all your efforts to a screeching halt. Or worse, it can damage relationships with donors.

While it may be tempting to find a hiding spot and avoid cleaning messy data, you know it’s critical to your fundraising success. Below are five easy tips to help you keep your mood and motivation steady and your database healthy. It’s time to face your year-end fundraising efforts with more enjoyment.

Tip #1. Accept that data cleanup is boring.

It’s true. Data cleanup is boring. And, you probably aren’t going to find this activity on anyone’s bucket list. Before your data gets any worse, accept that it’s boring so you can move on with taking care of your messy data. Super simple step!

Tip #2. Understand what got you here.

Take a moment and understand what landed you here with inaccurate, incomplete, or inconsistent data. If you can understand what put you in this donor data funk, the better your chances are of correcting mistakes and improving data collection processes. One of the biggest challenges most companies face is that data is all over the place. Your internal systems aren’t “talking” to one another – ultimately making it extremely difficult to find errors and notice inaccuracies. Take note of data entry points, where data errors occur, and who and what systems are accessing donor data.

Tip #3. Know when to consult an outside expert.

There is no shame admitting that you don’t have the bandwidth, technology, or resources (or enthusiasm) to get your data in tip-top shape.

(Shameless plug) We know that fundraising is most successful when you can make an authentic connection with your donors. Without fresh, clean, and complete data you are left flying in the dark and unable to build longer lasting relationships that ultimately help you have a greater social impact! Omatic can help.

Tip #4. Avoid awkward moments.

Many years ago and way before working at Omatic, I sent out an email campaign using personalization. Little did I know, there were two records for Bob Customer. One had his first name as “Bob,” and the other had his first name as “Boo.” Guess which email he received. Addressing his email with “Hey Boo” wasn’t my intention but a fat finger error occurred somewhere along the way. Thankfully, Bob had a great sense of humor because it could have been WAY worse!

Could you imagine making this same type of mistake with a major donor? What may seem like minor typos and errors could end up hurting your relationship with supporters. To avoid awkward moments with your donors, you need to get started on data cleansing.

Tip #5. Download The Ultimate Guide to Data Cleansing for Nonprofits

Learn more about the importance of data cleansing and find out what happens when you don’t manage your data properly. Download our e-book today. Another simple step!



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Data Management Best Practices