Keep It Clean
Considering that many programs incur higher per-piece costs, the numbers can be even more staggering, not to mention the lost opportunity to use those budgeted dollars on mailable records that could become newly acquired donors — all of which could have been avoided with an investment of what usually amounts to a few dollars per thousand on list hygiene.
You might not know …
Many nonprofits are familiar with NCOA but are unaware of some of the specifics of the most updated NCOA database, as well as some of the ancillary postal processing that currently is available. In fall 2004, the USPS modified and updated its NCOA database to offer information on people who’ve moved in the last 48 months. Certainly this is a valuable tool to consider when renting prospect lists from numerous sources where standards of hygiene could vary greatly among each list owner/manager. Additionally, the four-year window allows an organization the opportunity to reach some of those older, lapsed donor segments that would have a greater occurrence of outdated information and to renew their value by targeting them with a more current program.
Other available and sometimes overlooked services include the Locatable Address Conversion System, which could prove invaluable to many mailers, particularly those appealing to potential donors in rural areas. LACS has been established to convert older, rural-style addresses to more updated street-style addresses consisting of a street number and street name. When an address has been changed, the former rural-style address will receive mail for an additional 12 months, but after that period the USPS considers any piece mailed to the old address as undeliverable. There currently are more than 6 million of these addresses on the LACS database, and it’s reported that the number can grow to more than 9 million. This processing is not automatically included in NCOA processing but can be requested as an additional service.