Who 'Owns' the Data in Your Organization?
Data hygiene and accuracy
The answer to who is accountable is really split into two areas: 1) management of hygiene and 2) ensuring quality.
- Management is about doing the things within the database that are necessary such as National Change of Address (NCOA) through the USPS; phone verification; and append, deduplication and merging of accounts/records, etc.
- Ensuring the quality of the data is a whole other ballgame. In fact, I would argue very strongly that data quality sits in the hands of the gatherers — the people who are creating forms for constituents to fill out, the people who are walking the tracks with event participants, the people who are sitting with donors in conversations, the people who are checking in volunteers for service, etc. These individuals (and sometimes the processes they create) are 100 percent responsible for making sure the "best" data is collected. And "best" can be defined by it being the right data to collect and whether it is complete data. And if you are asking yourself again how do you know what is the right data to collect, go back to the earlier points. The right data is data that serves a purpose and is usable to do other things — most importantly, drive more value to the mission.
I bet everyone thinks this is the most obvious one, right? Of course, the IT department is responsible for tracking the data. IT staffers are the ones who should know how many constituents are on file, how many records have specific data (i.e., e-mail, birth date, etc.), right? Well, I don't disagree that they should be aware of the overall health of the database, but the marketers and the fundraisers should be aware of the overall health of the constituent file.
Sound like I'm splitting hairs? I'm not.
Vice President, Strategy & Development
Eleventy Marketing Group
Angie is ridiculously passionate about EVERYTHING she’s involved in — including the future and success of our nonprofit industry.
Angie is a senior exec with 25 years of experience in direct and relationship marketing. She is a C-suite consultant with experience over the years at both nonprofits and agencies. She currently leads strategy and development for marketing intelligence agency Eleventy Marketing Group. Previously she has worked at the innovative startup DonorVoice and as general manager of Merkle’s Nonprofit Group, as well as serving as that firm’s CRM officer charged with driving change within the industry. She also spent more 14 years leading the marketing, fundraising and CRM areas for two nationwide charities, The Arthritis Foundation and the American Cancer Society. Angie is a thought leader in the industry and is frequent speaker at events, and author of articles and whitepapers on the nonprofit industry. She also has received recognition for innovation and influence over the years.