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Best practices for maintaining fundraising data

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Metafile Information Systems

To keep your fundraising data performing at its optimum, follow some basic processes that are easy and effective:

At the top of your list, implement business rules at your organization for adding and editing records.

This may mean that you set data requirements for all data entry in the future.

You can also enforce data standardization rules to keep your data as clean as possible.

Next, identify and remove/merge duplicate records from your database. This will reduce the opportunities for duplicate mailings from your organization and additional postage fees.

It is a good idea to perform this function at the end of each month so that the project doesn’t become unmanageable.

Finally, identify and remove or deactivate the “deadwood” in your database.

If donors are no longer active, change their status to inactive to reduce the costs of your mailings as well as the costs of any validation services. By deactivating them rather than removing them, you will have the option to focus on cultivating them in the future.

You can also choose to delete these records from your database if they have never responded to your efforts.

This function should be performed annually on records that have had no activity for a set amount of time.

In addition to the above processes, your organization can benefit from these outside vendor services:

  • Address and area code validation – will ensure addresses and area codes are current and deliverable.
  • NCOA (National Change of Address) Update – will identify address changes.

These services will keep your fundraising data current, resulting in better deliverability of your mailings and a significant reduction inyour organization’s mailing costs and time spent maintaining your data.


Metafile Information Systems in Rochester, Minn., provides fundraising software for nonprofits, including resultsplus!, that tracks, processes and manages constituent data.

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