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Information Hygiene: Protecting Your Donor Database Clear


Think about a month-to-month donor contributes to your group’s newest marketing campaign. After they signed up in your month-to-month giving program, they listed their deal with as “123 Smith Road.” Nevertheless, once they gave their extra contribution, they listed their deal with as “123 Smith St.” 

At first, this may occasionally not look like a really massive deal. Each addresses are technically right, so what’s the hurt? The problem is that when this info is entered into your CRM, your system could create a brand new profile. In case your CRM doesn’t warn you to duplicates, this may occasionally go unnoticed.

The end result? You possibly can neglect to thank the supporter or unintentionally solicit one other donation at an inappropriate time. This could result in upset or insulted donors, hurting your group’s donor retention and status. 

Unclean knowledge is unusable knowledge. Preserve your donor database clear and arranged to make sure you’re reaching out to the suitable individuals on the proper time to construct stronger relationships. 

This implies you’ll have to re-examine your knowledge at common intervals. On this information, we’ve laid out the actions it’s best to full to make sure your knowledge is updated and the timelines on which it’s best to full these actions. All of those insights are taken from Bloomerang’s donor administration e book and are designed to assist nonprofits do extra with the knowledge they acquire. 

Keep the knowledge you acquire on a every day or weekly foundation.

On a every day or weekly foundation, your nonprofit wants to keep up the knowledge you acquire and save in your donor database. We suggest setting a devoted time in your calendar both every day or weekly to conduct the updates that have to be completed regularly. 

A few of these common upkeep actions embrace: 

  • Coming into new knowledge. It’s best to report new info gained from interactions with donors, notes from conferences, and knowledge from surveys and different engagement metrics in your CRM as quickly as doable. 
  • Updating present knowledge. Your donors’ lives change regularly. In the event you encounter these adjustments, go forward and replace your database to mirror them! For instance, your donors may get married, change their names, transfer properties, get new jobs, and so on. Updating information which are pulled by your billing software program for recurring funds is especially necessary to maintain transactions operating easily.
  • Backing up your database. Some donor database software program mechanically updates your group’s knowledge to the cloud or a tough drive. Nevertheless, they don’t all accomplish that! To keep away from shedding necessary details about your supporters and fundraising efforts within the occasion of a crash, make certain you again up this info as ceaselessly as doable.

When you have built-in techniques, a few of these enter and data updates will happen mechanically. For instance, in case your donation varieties combine together with your donor database, the knowledge collected as individuals contribute to your trigger shall be mechanically uploaded into your database. If not, you’ll have to manually pull recordsdata out of your donation system and add them to your CRM. 

Carry out month-to-month upkeep actions. 

Chances are you’ll not carry out different upkeep actions on a every day or weekly foundation, however it’s best to sustain with them ceaselessly to maintain the information in your database clear. Performing month-to-month knowledge hygiene actions not solely helps maintain your info clear, however it additionally retains your employees members up to date with the most recent details about your group and its campaigns. 

Full the next actions on a month-to-month foundation: 

  • Determine and merge duplicate information. Bear in mind the instance we cited earlier on a couple of donor writing “St” as a substitute of “Road” of their deal with? Merely formatting info another way or having a typo in a kind can result in an unintentional duplication of a report in your CRM system. Recurrently establish and merge these duplicate information to make certain all supporter info is stored in a single location, permitting you to achieve out to them and construct relationships based mostly on probably the most correct knowledge. 
  • Run experiences to replace your workforce members. You retain greater than donor knowledge in your nonprofit CRM. Think about which metrics are most necessary to your group, your supporters, and your workforce members. Typically, these are the metrics most straight tied to your group’s targets. Pull experiences concerning your progress and share them together with your workforce members so that they know in the event that they’re attaining their targets.
  • Overview fundraising marketing campaign exercise. A few of your extra particular targets in your group could contain your varied fundraising campaigns and actions. Whether or not you’re internet hosting a capital marketing campaign, month-to-month recurring present marketing campaign, peer-to-peer fundraising marketing campaign, or a one-time occasion, maintain your employees members knowledgeable in regards to the progress of your varied initiatives by reviewing your exercise. This retains them motivated and decided to achieve these particular targets. 
  • Overview your LYBUNT and SYBUNT lists. LYBUNT and SYBUNT stand for “final yr however sadly not this” and “some yr however sadly not this,” referring to when donors contributed to your group. These are the supporters you’re making an attempt to re-engage now as a substitute of later. As a result of the recapture fee for lapsed donors rests round 4%, these lists needs to be stored updated to stop shedding supporters to start with. 

Performing month-to-month check-ins just isn’t solely necessary in your donor knowledge hygiene, however it’s additionally the important thing to protecting your workforce up to date with the most recent info concerning your targets and initiatives. Block off a time in your calendar every month to report on vital metrics and examine in in your donor knowledge. 

Revisit your strategic plan each three to 6 months.

Revisit your strategic plan. Don’t wait till the top of the yr to find out should you’re hitting your targets. In the event you’re not performing to your expectations, you may make tweaks or adjustments to make sure that your marketing campaign is a hit by yr’s finish.

Each quarter or biannually at your nonprofit, there are a number of large-scale updates that it’s best to make to make sure your fundraising workforce is working with probably the most correct and descriptive info doable and that this info is being leveraged to its fullest potential to assist your nonprofit obtain its targets. For instance, donor knowledge will help inform how a lot your improvement director needs to be elevating

Spend money on superior knowledge providers to construct out the knowledge in your donor database and create extra full footage of your supporters. 

In line with NPOInfo’s information, there are three most important sorts of appending providers that you should utilize to get a extra complete image of your supporters: 

  • Ahead providers add new details about your supporters based mostly on what you already know. For instance, from somebody’s full identify and deal with, you could find info resembling their birthday or their cellphone quantity. 
  • Reverse providers help you fill within the gaps in your present info based mostly on what you have got. For instance, you probably have a cellphone quantity for a supporter, you’ll be able to reverse append info resembling their full identify and e mail deal with. 
  • Fractional appending permits your nonprofit to kind knowledge to seek out the precise info you want and add it to your database. For example, you probably have a supporter’s e mail deal with and identify, you should utilize that to compile plenty of knowledge factors about that supporter, and select what you might want to add— resembling their birthday. 

Gathering info is among the most helpful instruments that you should utilize to achieve your supporters and present them you care. You’ll be able to additional personalize communications with them to craft probably the most relevant messages and interact them additional. 

Subsequent, revisit your strategic plan to make certain you’re on monitor to hit your annual targets.

Ensure you’re on monitor to hit your nonprofit’s targets. In the event you wait till the top of the yr to take a look at how nicely you stored to your strategic plan, it’s tougher to establish the place your campaigns and actions could have fallen wanting expectations.

Nevertheless, should you examine in regularly, you’ll have the ability to decide the place your workforce is off monitor and alter your plans accordingly. This may show you how to be sure you obtain and hopefully exceed your entire targets by the top of the yr. 

Replace your database ceaselessly.

On a frequent foundation, you’ll have to replace your database with a few of the necessary adjustments that happen on a much less frequent foundation. For instance, conduct updates resembling: 

  • Run an NCOA replace. On common, 10% of People transfer every year. This implies you’ll have to replace deal with info for a median of 10% of your donor database on an annual foundation. Use the Nationwide Change of Handle database to make certain you have got the most recent deal with info in your supporters.
    • Run a deceased suppression. If a donor hasn’t given within the final two years, the probabilities that they may return to your group to provide once more is round 2.2%. Subsequently, as a substitute of utilizing your power to recapture these misplaced donors, concentrate on retaining the supporters you continue to have! Purge your donor record of those that haven’t donated to (or engaged with) your trigger in additional than three years, besides for many who have volunteered or those that are board members. In line with one examine, 16% of donors lapsed as a result of they handed away. A deceased suppression will warn you to anybody in your database that has handed away. Eradicating deceased people out of your mailing record can prevent the embarrassment of showing insensitive to a surviving partner or family member who’s receiving mail addressed to their deceased cherished one. 
  • Replace enterprise accomplice info. Whereas companies don’t usually transfer or change fairly as ceaselessly as people, it’s best to nonetheless be sure you have the up to date info for every of your for-profit companions. Replace your contact info and revisit their social duty insurance policies to see should you can strengthen the partnership, offering and deriving extra worth for each events. 

On an annual foundation, you also needs to overview and replace your group’s insurance policies for knowledge administration. Standardize the best way that you just enter info and abbreviate phrases (Road vs. St.), and assign who’s accountable for making what updates. Then, prepare your employees members to allow them to make these updates. This reduces the potential for human error and ensures knowledge is getting used successfully. 


Information is just invaluable in your nonprofit if it’s clear and tidy. Then, you’ll be able to leverage it for segmentation, personalization, and to construct relationships with donors. Use these greatest practices on the instructed timeline above to make certain your group is successfully sorting, organizing, and updating the knowledge you retailer about supporters. 

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