How Clean Up Your Database

by Jason Dick · 5 comments

Sometimes we don’t clean up our database because we do not know how it works. It is important to have one person in your organization that is your database person. This person is often the individual that inputs your checks and cash into the system. Start your clean up by asking this individual to train you and others in the office about how to input information and keep things up-to-date.

Everyone at your organization should be trained to know how to use your database, because everyone is hearing different information about your donors all of the time. Your receptionist might hear about a donor being sick (great opportunity to grow the relationship with a get well card). Or another employee might see a donor arrive in an expensive new car or hear about a summer cabin (great information to have regarding their net worth). You might learn from a conversation with them that they have a strong interest in giving to a specific program (allows you to focus & segment your appeals).

Create a culture that values data. If you do not use the database or are not a champion for accurate data then your staff and co-workers will not be either. It does not take a lot of work to properly use your database in fact sometimes it just feels easier to use a spreadsheet because you do not know how to put it in your database. Feel free to ask your database person questions they will be thrilled that you are trying to keep donor information accurate.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Janice Chan April 8, 2009 at 10:48 am

Amen. But any advice for how the database person can create a culture that values data? Everyone is eager to ask when they need to know something or are running off to a meeting and need numbers, but no one wants to be bothered with adding notes about meetings with donors/prospects or other information that may help other staff talking to them in the future!

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Fund raising companies October 26, 2010 at 3:29 am

Hiring a dedicated person or a team to manage data bases is a good idea. This will not only keep all the data base in organized form but it can also be re used whenever required.

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Larry Brown February 26, 2012 at 6:57 pm

I agree completely — creating a culture that values your firm’s data (and, accordingly, understands the issues that come along with having BAD data) is critical. But sometimes, no matter how good your data inputs are, much of your data (especially contact-level data) will eventually expire. My firm, Bridgemark Solutions (www.BridgemarkSolutions.com), has a developed and now offers a technology that can very quickly identify which email addresses in your database are active and which are inactive. Obviously, knowing which of your prospects are still around — and especially knowing which ones are NOT — can be incredibly helpful.

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