Databases need tending to, just like gardens. What better time to spruce things up than in the spring? We’re going to give you our top nine tactics for keeping your database shipshape. Data integrity and cleaning take time, so we advise that you tackle it in bite-sized pieces. Your sanity is of utmost importance. In that spirit, we’re going to break this blog into two separate posts: constituents and gifts/pledges. Let’s start with constituents:

Constituents are transient.

If your organization utilizes direct mail, phone banking, and/or events as part of its fundraising strategy, then keeping track of constituent addresses and phone numbers is critical. Most databases have easy-to-use appends that you can run to keep up with changing information. It is an inexpensive way to update your data and the process will add the zip+4, which will save money on postage!

Are all your database users current employees?

Unfortunately, the nonprofit sector suffers from tremendous turnover. If you have former employees with active rights in your database, you might spend some time going through and updating those. It will free up licenses and ensure data security.

Board Coding

Volunteers roll on and off your board roster each year. This is a great time to update your board coding, including committees, so you can keep track of current board, emeritus, and former board members.

Duplicate Constituents

It’s so easy for duplicate records to creep into your donor database. A current donor makes a gift online but uses his nickname or a new address when registering. Boom – a new record is created. Keeping dups out of your database is an ongoing fight, so take the time to periodically check for duplicates. It will save your sanity when pulling mailing lists and your budget by saving postage.

Solicitors & Relationships

Fundraisers have the best intentions when wanting to manage as many prospects as possible. A prospect list can easily reach hundreds in length. The reality is that some prospects, after discovery, need to be blessed and released. Ask your fundraisers to go through their lists and update any relationship codes they have. Stay tuned for the final four database tips. Next time we’ll focus on gift records.