Spring Cleaning Your Donor Data

By Shannon Goodwin  
Senior Project Manager, BBS & Associates 


As spring begins, you may find yourself thinking about cleaning your home, your workspace, your overflowing email inbox … but what about your donor data? 

While often neglected, systematically clearing the cobwebs in your lists of donor addresses, phone numbers, and other data are critical to ensuring your partners are receiving the most current updates and requests from your ministry.   

Plus — in addition to minimizing the lost opportunity of donations — a data cleanse can help your organization reduce unnecessary costs! 

  • An estimated 4.5% of outbound mail is undeliverable, which results in $1.3 billion in cost for the USPS to process. 
  • And those who sent the undeliverable mail pay a hefty price too — with US businesses losing an estimated $20 billion in mailing and printing costs, not to mention those lost engagement opportunities. 

And with the price of postage expected to increase twice a year going forward, the value of doing a donor data refresh will become even more critical to your fundraising budget!  

A few key details to keep in mind: 

  1. The USPS requires that address data be run through their National Change of Address (NCOA) database a minimum of every 95 days.  
  2. Since 8-9% of the population moves each year, we at BBS & Associates strongly recommend all ministries update their records even more frequently if possible. 
  3. If your data is being run through NCOA by your mailer and you are being provided the updates, you’ll want to be sure you incorporate those in your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. 
    • NOTE: Although your direct mail lists will be updated each time an NCOA is done, failing to transfer those updates to your CRM will place your other mailings at a higher risk of being undeliverable. This means your most personal communications with donors may not get through to them! 
  4. Your data can also be appended to include more information about your donors so you can engage with them on many levels — phone numbers and emails can easily be added through a service.  

Should you have any questions about running your address data through the NCOA or any other data cleansing processes, we’d love to help! Please feel free to reach out to Jared Matthews at jmatthews@servantheart.com. 

Thank you for the opportunity to serve!