The Deep Clean
2. All information is standardized: To avoid doubt and ensure reachability, phone numbers should all have area codes, ZIP codes should have +4s and e-mail addresses should conform to format standards. Databases also have an easier time counting, searching and correctly associating standardized data.
3. Contact information is validated: 555-555-5555 and email@example.com may be correctly standardized yet still unusable. A good cleaning service runs checks just prior to delivering updated information to increase the odds that information it provides is currently usable and is correct for the contact in question.
4. Price and quality claims are transparent: Be suspicious of any service that requires a commitment to pay before it gives a price estimate. Some give wide ranges instead of analyzing the database up front. Expect to get a free analysis and some form of guarantee about what happens if any bad data is provided.
The savings in time, materials and stress, combined with the increase in the number of people that will respond to a campaign, can greatly outweigh the price of data-cleansing services. To test its customer service, ask the provider to help you calculate the return on investment from better data for your next campaign.
Stage 2. Add data types to enable donor analysis
Who donated how much and to which campaigns? That’s basic bookkeeping. What you don’t know about your constituents can inhibit charitable contributions. The deep dive to understand the characteristics of who gives and why requires more information about each individual. Collecting this information takes a lot of effort on both the part of the organization and the individual if traditional methods like questionnaires are utilized.
Retailers from your local grocer to Amazon have long faced the same challenges. The same solution they use is available to the nonprofit world: Utilize data services to append estimated demographic, psychographic, income, debt, interest and more to each donor in your database.