I know, I know, Thanksgiving is over and you’re facing these days before Christmas hoping and praying that your end-of-year appeal will bring in the revenue needed to show an increase over last year.
Here’s the thing though: you need to be looking a little more into the future. 2019, after all, is only a month and a handful of days away.
With that thought in mind, I’d like to suggest that right now is a great time to resolve that 2019 will be the year you and your staff commit to data that’s mistake free. In my mind, that means data that’s sparkling clean.
For anyone who doubts the importance of clean data, let me offer up these arguments in its favor:
Prospect Identification – If you analyze your prospects and your data isn’t in good shape—you’re wasting time and money because you’re spending money on data that isn’t reliable—or accurate.
Direct Mail Appeals – The results of your appeals depend on the quality of your mailing list.
Email Marketing – Your open rates are dependent on the accuracy of your email lists.
Donor Retention – The quickest way to lose a donor is to write to Dear Mr. & Mrs. Don D. Donor when Don D. died 3 years ago and Mrs. Don D. has written and called your office asking for you to change your records. Or, if you continue to send to Mr. & Mrs. after they’ve been divorced for the same length of time and you just haven’t gotten around to changing things in your system.
A Waste of Money – When you mail to people who have moved or passed on, your mail is probably getting thrown out without ever being looked at (how much per piece did you spend on your last mailing to bad names or addresses)? If you emailed something, did you have to pay a subscription fee to a service? How many of those names and/or email addresses were inaccurate?
Productivity – I’m willing to bet that if you take the time to look through your database you’ll find potential prospects who no longer qualify as such.
Major Gifts – Accurate giving histories, correct donor information and notes on donor interest are critical to success.
Data analysis, Decision Making and Planning – If your data isn’t in good condition, there’s no way you can make informed decisions about future fundraising efforts. How do you really know what your donor retention rate is, for example?
Don’t take the importance of accurate data for granted.
If you want better donor retention, improved response rates, and success when it comes to major gifts and capital campaigns, invest in the tools you need to properly manage your data, invest in the training you need to successfully manage it, and invest the time and talent you need to manage the data properly.
Resolve to make 2019 the year of making sure your data is sparkling clean.