September 15, 2022 | Categories DonorPerfect Fundraising Software, Featured, Nonprofit Technology

How to prepare your database for year-end fundraising

At DonorPerfect, we believe that luck comes to the well-prepared. When your database is prepped and ready for the busiest fundraising season of the year, you’ll be able to spend your time creating dynamite appeals and effective stewardship touches instead of worrying about whether you have the right addresses for your donors.

Not sure about the status of your data? Here are some pointers that help resolve common issues faced by CRM users.

Step 1: Preventative Measures to Protect Your Data

Having staff and volunteers help with data entry can be a real relief. But sometimes not everyone is on the same page, which can lead to honest, but problematic, mistakes that take a lot of time to undo. Luckily, there are preventative measures you can take to minimize errors in your donor database.

Standardize data entry procedures

  • Create a document for staff and volunteers to reference when entering data. You can use this handout for inspiration
  • Educate your staff and volunteers on your data entry process, when to create new codes and donors, and how to check for existing codes and donors.
  • Use the DonorPerfect Knowledgebase as a shared, singular source of truth when you run into questions and challenges.

Only allow trained individuals to enter data

  • Ensure that only the right people have access to add or edit codes and other data. DonorPerfect includes user settings that you can configure to give each user the right amount of access.
  • Consider hosting regular training sessions for new and current users to keep everyone’s skills fresh and up-to-date. You can also encourage users to check out our on-demand training videos that cover commonly requested topics, like mail merges, adding gifts, sending receipts, and more.

Schedule a weekly report of any data that’s been added in the last week

  • Catch mistakes as they happen by regularly reviewing your data.
  • Schedule the Daily Log Report in DonorPerfect to be delivered to your inbox automatically, as often as you like.

Step 2: Get Your Coding System Ready

Properly coding your gifts is crucial for measuring the success of your campaigns and solicitations. Here are some tips for cleaning up your codes and getting them ready for year-end.

Create a consistent naming system for your codes

Follow a basic coding formula so that your codes make sense to all of your database users. This also helps prevent duplicates or other errors.

  • Ex. YEAR_SOLICITATION OR EVENT NAME_DONOR SEGMENT, works well as a coding system, and looks like 22_YEAR END APPEAL_LYBUNT in practice. This way, you’ll know who gave through each of your fundraising efforts, and how well your solicitations perform with different groups.

Create a code for miscellaneous gifts

  • Create a “catch all” code so you can track and report on gifts that don’t fit with a specific appeal or fundraising effort. Sometimes a donor feels spontaneously generous and stops by your office with a check in hand!
  • Pull a gifts and pledges report to obtain a list of uncoded gifts. We recommend assigning specific codes whenever possible, but for the rest, this catch-all code will help make sure they don’t fall through the cracks.

Merge duplicate codes

  • Find duplicate codes by exporting all of your codes into an Excel spreadsheet. You can add a column for the code purpose to find duplicates with greater ease. For example, your 2021 Giving Tuesday campaign might have codes like “GT21” and “21GT.”
  • Use a global update to move all gifts to a fresh, new code, then delete the duplicates.

Step 3: Merge duplicate donor records

Have you ever mistakenly sent an appeal letter to a donor twice just because they’re recorded in your database twice? This often occurs when donors have one record with their legal name, and another with a nickname or their preferred first name.

DonorPerfect has three options for cleaning up duplicate records:

  • Simple combine: pick which record to keep, and delete the duplicates
  • Advanced combine: merge data from one record to another
  • Auto dedupe: if you don’t want to review records manually, DonorPerfect will generate a report of duplicate records and you can select which you’d like to combine

We know how stressful the year-end season can get, and DonorPerfect is here to help. We’re creating helpful year-end and Giving Tuesday resources to help you through the busiest giving season of the year. You can always contact our top-notch support team for questions and walkthroughs.

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Meet the author: Emily Zacek

Emily Zacek joined the DonorPerfect team as a copywriter in January, 2022. She graduated from the University of Michigan in 2014 with degrees in flute performance and organizational studies, and her undergraduate thesis focused on labor activity trends in American arts nonprofits. She brings a...

Learn more about Emily Zacek
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