The relationships between your nonprofit organization and its donors are crucial to its success. As a result, how well you manage donor data is critical. Donors are important not only for their financial contributions but also for their promotional value. Word-of-mouth from a person or organization with strong community ties can either shine a bright spotlight on your operations or set a small fire to it. So that you appear professional and make the most of your donor information, consider implementing these five strategies to keep your database information on point.
1. Make Sure You’re Importing the Right Raiser’s Edge Data
Any time you move information between databases, you face the possibility of making transfer errors. Because your donor information is a centerpiece of any successful fundraising campaigns, any unintended changes to it will have adverse consequences. To prevent errors, when performing a Raiser’s Edge import you need to make certain that you continually review your data tables and reports. Create a schedule and stick to it.
2. Utilize the Best Software Made Exclusively for Nonprofits
Your data really is only as good as the software that holds and manipulates it. Clearly, you need to look for the best software for nonprofits. Some may work more appropriately for your nonprofit than others; others may not even be not-for-profit focused. When choosing software, at the very least consider the following:
- Really is nonprofit-centric
- Is right for your size organization
- Offers support during and after integration
- Is cloud-based when that model works for you
- Works seamlessly with other databases
That last point is key; if your fundraising management database and your and data management one do not communicate well, you may find issues when attempting to justify information between the two.
2. Update Your Data Often
Over time your data can become overwhelming and cumbersome. The more you clean your records, the less likely you will find errors when you need to process the data. Imagine, for example, overlooking an important change-of-address update before sending out fundraising requests simply because the information was not updated recently.
4. Prepare Before Importing
Software programs offer built-in data safeguards — some better than others — but these are as only as strong as the measures you take to use them. When performing an import, you need to follow a preparation checklist, much as does a commercial airline crew. Start by backing up your data before performing any other steps — doing so can be relatively easy using cloud integration for nonprofits as the basis for your information; ask all users in the organization to shut down all programs; map your data paths; and perform a test run, which you can then check over for accuracy.
5. Keep Users Updated
Software updates often provide usability improvements. If your teams do not understand these changes, they may overlook how to implement key functions effectively, thereby issuing a query that bears different results from past ones. Keeping up with training will minimize user errors.
Donor data is gold to nonprofits. However, for fundraising and donor relations, you need access to the right information. By choosing the appropriate software and taking steps to create safeguards when using that software, you can be sure the data you mine is accurate.