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Knowledge Hygiene: Retaining Your Donor Database Clear


Think about a month-to-month donor contributes to your group’s newest marketing campaign. After they signed up on your month-to-month giving program, they listed their deal with as “123 Smith Avenue.” 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 large deal. Each addresses are technically appropriate, so what’s the hurt? The difficulty is that when this data is entered into your CRM, your system might create a brand new profile. In case your CRM doesn’t warn you to duplicates, this may occasionally go unnoticed.

The consequence? You might neglect to thank the supporter or by chance solicit one other donation at an inappropriate time. This may result in upset or insulted donors, hurting your group’s donor retention and status. 

Unclean information is unusable information. Hold 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 information at common intervals. On this information, we’ve laid out the actions it’s best to full to make sure your information 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 data they gather. 

Preserve the data you gather on a every day or weekly foundation.

On a every day or weekly foundation, your nonprofit wants to keep up the data you gather and save in your donor database. We advocate setting a devoted time in your calendar both every day or weekly to conduct the updates that have to be carried out regularly. 

A few of these common upkeep actions embrace: 

  • Getting into new information. You need to document new data gained from interactions with donors, notes from conferences, and information from surveys and different engagement metrics in your CRM as quickly as doable. 
  • Updating current information. Your donors’ lives change regularly. When you encounter these adjustments, go forward and replace your database to replicate them! For instance, your donors may get married, change their names, transfer houses, get new jobs, and many others. Updating data which are pulled by your billing software program for recurring funds is especially essential to maintain transactions operating easily.
  • Backing up your database. Some donor database software program routinely updates your group’s information to the cloud or a tough drive. Nevertheless, they don’t all achieve this! To keep away from dropping essential details about your supporters and fundraising efforts within the occasion of a crash, make sure you again up this data as often as doable.

When you have built-in techniques, a few of these enter and data updates will happen routinely. For instance, in case your donation kinds combine together with your donor database, the data collected as individuals contribute to your trigger will likely be routinely uploaded into your database. If not, you’ll have to manually pull information 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 often to maintain the info in your database clear. Performing month-to-month information hygiene actions not solely helps hold your data clear, however it additionally retains your workers members up to date with the newest details about your group and its campaigns. 

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

  • Establish and merge duplicate data. Bear in mind the instance we cited earlier on a couple of donor writing “St” as a substitute of “Avenue” of their deal with? Merely formatting data differently or having a typo in a type can result in an unintended duplication of a document in your CRM system. Frequently establish and merge these duplicate data to make sure all supporter data is saved in a single location, permitting you to achieve out to them and construct relationships primarily based on essentially the most correct information. 
  • Run reviews to replace your workforce members. You retain greater than donor information in your nonprofit CRM. Take into account which metrics are most essential to your group, your supporters, and your workforce members. Usually, these are the metrics most instantly tied to your group’s objectives. Pull reviews concerning your progress and share them together with your workforce members so that they know in the event that they’re attaining their objectives.
  • Overview fundraising marketing campaign exercise. A few of your extra particular objectives on your group might contain your numerous fundraising campaigns and actions. Whether or not you’re internet hosting a capital marketing campaign, month-to-month recurring reward marketing campaign, peer-to-peer fundraising marketing campaign, or a one-time occasion, hold your workers members knowledgeable concerning the progress of your numerous initiatives by reviewing your exercise. This retains them motivated and decided to achieve these particular objectives. 
  • 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 attempting to re-engage now as a substitute of later. As a result of the recapture price for lapsed donors rests round 4%, these lists ought to be saved updated to stop dropping supporters to start with. 

Performing month-to-month check-ins isn’t solely essential on your donor information hygiene, however it’s additionally the important thing to preserving your workforce up to date with the newest data concerning your objectives and initiatives. Block off a time in your calendar every month to report on essential metrics and examine in in your donor information. 

Revisit your strategic plan each three to 6 months.

Revisit your strategic plan. Don’t wait till the tip of the yr to find out if you happen to’re hitting your objectives. When you’re not performing to your expectations, you can also make tweaks or adjustments to make sure that your marketing campaign is successful 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 essentially the most correct and descriptive data doable and that this data is being leveraged to its fullest potential to assist your nonprofit obtain its objectives. For instance, donor information may also help inform how a lot your growth director ought to be elevating

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

Based on NPOInfo’s information, there are three primary forms of appending providers that you need to use to get a extra complete image of your supporters: 

  • Ahead providers add new details about your supporters primarily based on what you already know. For instance, from somebody’s full title and deal with, yow will discover data corresponding to their birthday or their telephone quantity. 
  • Reverse providers mean you can fill within the gaps in your present data primarily based on what you may have. For instance, when you’ve got a telephone quantity for a supporter, you’ll be able to reverse append data corresponding to their full title and electronic mail deal with. 
  • Fractional appending permits your nonprofit to type information to seek out the precise data you want and add it to your database. As an example, when you’ve got a supporter’s electronic mail deal with and title, you need to use that to compile numerous information factors about that supporter, and select what that you must add— corresponding to their birthday. 

Gathering data is without doubt one of the most helpful instruments that you need to use to achieve your supporters and present them you care. You may additional personalize communications with them to craft essentially the most relevant messages and have interaction them additional. 

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

Ensure you’re on monitor to hit your nonprofit’s objectives. When you wait till the tip of the yr to take a look at how effectively you saved to your strategic plan, it’s more difficult to establish the place your campaigns and actions might have fallen wanting expectations.

Nevertheless, if you happen to examine in regularly, you’ll have the ability to decide the place your workforce is off monitor and alter your plans accordingly. It will make it easier to be sure you obtain and hopefully exceed your whole objectives by the tip of the yr. 

Replace your database often.

On a frequent foundation, you’ll have to replace your database with among the essential adjustments that happen on a much less frequent foundation. For instance, conduct updates corresponding to: 

  • Run an NCOA replace. On common, 10% of Individuals transfer annually. This implies you’ll have to replace deal with data for a median of 10% of your donor database on an annual foundation. Use the Nationwide Change of Handle database to make sure you may have the newest deal with data on 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%. Due to this fact, as a substitute of utilizing your power to recapture these misplaced donors, deal with 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 individuals who have volunteered or those that are board members. Based on one research, 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 data. Whereas companies don’t typically transfer or change fairly as often as people, it’s best to nonetheless be sure you have the up to date data for every of your for-profit companions. Replace your contact data and revisit their social accountability insurance policies to see if you happen to can strengthen the partnership, offering and deriving extra worth for each events. 

On an annual foundation, you also needs to evaluation and replace your group’s insurance policies for information administration. Standardize the way in which that you simply enter data and abbreviate phrases (Avenue vs. St.), and assign who’s chargeable for making what updates. Then, practice your workers members to allow them to make these updates. This reduces the potential for human error and ensures information is getting used successfully. 


Knowledge is barely precious on 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 sure your group is successfully sorting, organizing, and updating the data you retailer about supporters. 

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