LisaCaitlin Perri gives database advice

By LisaCaitlin Perri.

Database clean-up will help retain your nonprofit’s donors by equipping you with the tools to get those second- and third-time donations through the door.
1. Identify the top 25-50-100 individual donors and prospects, and make sure you have accurate email addresses and phone numbers on their records.
2. Generate the following lists for your development staff, executive director, and board to review. Then, make notes in the database about who is connected to whom so you can improve solicitation assignments for large gifts and maximize stewardship actions like appeal follow-up and thank yous.
a.      New donors above a certain giving amount
b.     Top donors from the previous year (LYBUNT, or Last Year But Unfortunately Not This Year)
c.      Top, lapsed donors going back no further than 3-5 years, considering that the average “recapture” rate of lapsed donors is now 4%.
Nerd Note: Most donor databases have standard queries/filters/reports to help you generate lists of new, returning, and lapsed donors. Be sure to understand how soft credits, matching gifts, and donor connections are represented in your data. For example, a donor may have given through a family foundation in 2020 which has its own organization record in your database, but their individual record may show no cash giving in 2020.
3. You might be overlooking email-only records as prospects. Run your queries and reports so they include records with an active mailing address and records with active email addresses even if there is no mailing address. “Reverse-email” data appends are available to help you complete a donor or prospect’s database record.
4. Consider a wealth and philanthropy screening to better understand your individual supporters’ interests and capacity. Having a mailing address paired with a donor name dramatically improves the breadth of data returned from a wealth and philanthropy screening.
5. Prior to any direct mail appeals, validate mailing addresses in your database by running queries to catch missing parts like zip codes or cities, or by running a check against the National Change of Address (NCOA) dataset. Focus your efforts on donors who have given in the past 3-5 years.
6. Request preferred contact info and salutations and preferred contact methods from your donors when they first make a gift. Make sure this information gets into the database! This saves everybody’s time for future interactions, and you’ll be contacting donors in the way they want to be reached.
By cleaning up your donor database and committing to regular upkeep, you will be making a long-term impact on the fundraising effectiveness of your nonprofit – saving time and dollars while also raising more dollars! moss+ross provides an array of research and data services – let us know if we can help!