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Spring Clean Your Database

Dirty databases can create frustrated staff, cause ineffective decision making, and inevitably slow down your organization. Ultimately, these trickle-down factors can negatively impact supporters and prospective donors – the most important assets of any successful nonprofit.  

It’s no secret that the most useful databases contain fresh, clean, and complete data. Why not take some time this spring to refresh your database to ensure it’s in the best condition possible? 

Deep Dive Into Your Database 

Before you begin to clean your data, assess the information that you have in your database or CRM: 

  • Where did it come from?  
  • Is the data outdated or incomplete?  
  • Is your current data helping you achieve your goals?  
  • Do you have the information you need to make your nonprofit successful?  

Get Scrubbing 

Time to get cleaning! Address the following areas of your database to help achieve the best results: 

  • Duplicate Records: Run a simple de-duping operation to catch duplicate records in your database. Ensure you are taking the time to review and rectify the duplicates in a timely manner. No matter your CRM, it is important for your team to determine what fields are important and what constitutes a duplicate.  
  • Outdated Information: Go through any address change requests or bounced email addresses that your team has come across over time. Double check for misspellings or incorrect names and addresses. Ensure that the updates are being made to both your mail and email lists. Make sure the records you do have are accurate. 
  • Old Contacts: Archive contacts that are 18 to 36 months old to keep your data relevant. Ultimately, after five years of not connecting with a potential donor, they should be marked “inactive” in your database. Don’t waste your marketing budget on a donor who isn’t interested in your programs or mission. 
  • Missing Donor Data: Analyze your supporter profiles to determine what is missing and reach out to your constituents accordingly. Aim to have complete and well-rounded records for each contact in your system. Include contacts with missing information on your email bounce and direct mail lists. 

Keep it Fresh 

Now that your database is clean and complete, it’s time to put your data to work. Discover your ideal donors by identifying who has the propensity to give with these best practices: 

  • Segment: Organize your lists based on behavior. Segment by current, first-time, and long-term donors. Include event attendees, volunteers, and any interested parties. Utilize your lists to communicate with your constituents in a personal manner based on their interests and behavior. 
  • Assign Tags: Creating conversion tags that rank and score people in your database based on their likelihood of giving may help you develop a strategy to increase engagement and giving. 
  • Set Standards: To avoid invalidating your data, set procedures on how everyone should import, export, and handle data within your system. Remember, to maximize your database, your information needs to be relevant, accurate, and organized.  

Let Your Data Shine 

Your database is only as valuable as the connections your organization can make with supporters. Be sure you are collecting and utilizing the data you need to resonate with your audience. The more customized a donor experience, the more loyalty you will gain. With a fully functioning database full of fresh, clean, and complete data, your organization can minimize time expenditures and maximize fundraising efforts.  

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