Why You Can’t Afford Sloppy Donor Data

One of the hardest things we deal with when we bring on new organizations to PatronManager is transferring their historical donor data. The act of moving the data is not the hard part. The hard part is that great donor data often requires painstaking attention to detail – the kind of detail that computers are not very good at. What I am saying is that while a computer can search for duplicate data, only your staff knows that your major donor Jimmy Smith, likes to be credited as Jimmy in the program but addressed as James in letters. This is often information that’s locked up in a “notes” field or in some other random place that’s hard to organize.

Why I’m going into this level of detail is simply to introduce this terrific post from Mary Cahalane’s Hands-On Fundraising Blog, entitled “What sloppy data means to donors.” In this article she outlines all of the ways that sloppy data can mess up your relationship with your donors. Whether you’re moving systems or staying on your current one, keeping your donor data clean and updated will increase your odds of raising money. I suggest you read the full article, which in my opinion contains excellent insights. I can’t promise you that this process will be easy and/or won’t take a lot of time (it will) but in the end, if you want to be a fundraising superstar, it’s really not an option.

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