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.