The Power of a Clean Database

Everyone struggles to keep their donor database up to date. Databases become disorganized for a multitude of reasons – time constraints, lack of understanding, inconsistent data entry, staff turnover; the list goes on and on.  Whatever your reason, a clean, accurate database is essential to meeting your fundraising goals.

How is your database?

If your data is overrun with duplicates, bad addresses and old contacts, it’s time to clean-up.  Not only will you increase your revenue, you’ll save time and money in the long run.  To start, evaluate your objectives.  What do you want to do with your data?  What are your annual fund goals?

Once you have your objectives in place, assess your data.  Take a look at your donors – are they segmented into lists?  Not even the most enthusiastic of followers wants to see everything that comes out of your organization – each donor and prospect is an individual and has individual interests and passions.  What types of campaigns work best with which donors?  Some of the people in your database are hot prospects.  Has someone in your organization spoken to them recently or heard them speak at a conference – these details need to be included in each donor’s notes.  What better way to touch someone directly then to reference something they said.  Ask yourself: where does our database lack information, what are our data strengths and weaknesses?

Optimistically, you have specific types of donors associated within specialized lists and detailed notes about each donor’s interests.  And you’re scrubbing your data yearly.  If this isn’t your case – that’s okay – there are resources to help.  The first step in cleaning your data is purely to make the commitment to clean your data. But in order to successfully meet your goals, you do need to get down to business. Check out our Five Tips for Maintaining Your Data.

More on Getting the Most From Your Data

For more information on taking your annual fund to the next level, including conducting a data audit, data hygiene and segmentation, and developing an annual fund plan, download The Data-Driven Annual Fund Part 1: The Building Blocks. It focuses on building a strong base for the annual fund and setting the protocols that will drive the entire process.

For ideas on how to forecast annual giving goals, develop meaningful metrics, and develop strategies to enhance giving, check out WealthEngine’s workbook Growing Individual Gifts: An Analytical Approach to Data-Driven Success.

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