Did you know that on average, charities receive 40% of their annual donations at year-end?  And for many charities, the percentage is much higher – 50%, 60% or even 70%!  So if you are like most charities, you are already thinking about the critical time between Halloween and New Year’s.

There are some things you can do right now to make sure you are ready to make the most of year-end, when both generosity and tax deductions loom large in the minds of donors.

Make sure your list is in tip-top shape

According to direct marketing experts, there are three critical elements to a direct mail or email appeal: the list, the design and the copy.  Or, as some put it, the list, the list and the list.  You see, you cannot over stress the importance of the list. 

Your list is an investment.  Your donors are your bread and butter.  That means the care a feeding of your list is your top priority when it comes to fundraising. 

How do you care for a list?

Good question.  On a regular basis, whether quarterly, annually or more often, audit your database to be sure data is being entered consistently and accurately.  Are salutation fields being populated properly?  Is giving history correct and up-to-date?  Are returned mail and email bounce backs noted and updated where possible?

Additionally, you should periodically compare your database of names against national data bases, such as the National Change of Address database (NCOA).  This ensures your mail will get delivered and that you are in compliance with postal service regulations. You should also regularly update email addresses, which tend to change with some frequency, mobile numbers and land lines with data appends.

For more on the proper care and feeding of your most important asset -- your list -- take our Data Readiness Challenge by downloading this free data hygiene checklist. 

If you want more information on data appends, contact WealthEngine today.  For more free resources and educational materials, join WealthEngine Institute.

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