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By DonorSearch

We’re living the ‘new normal’ now.  That means we have to keep our physical distance from friends, colleagues–and prospects.  Fundraising success is built on regular engagement with donors and prospects.  We NEED to stay connected–somehow. Simple solution: Make sure you have current contact information for your prospect base.

Effective donor prospect engagement starts with current contact information, along with other key data points that help you tailor messaging and prioritize action.  Now is a perfect time to evaluate the strength of your data and fill in the gaps. Here’s what that project could look like:

1. Do a Data Inventory

Determine how contact-able your constituent base is by counting things like:

  • % of ‘active’ constituents have a mailable address
  • % of board members and/or top prospects have accurate and complete information.*
  • % of ‘active’ constituents have email addresses
  • % of ‘active’ constituents have working phone numbers
  • % of records that are not duplicates

*When you have thousands of names to work with, your priority should be to ensure accurate and complete information on prospects and VIPs.

2. Score the overall health of your data

Here’s a sample scoring sheet and grading scale:

3. Fill in the Gaps

If you scored low on the data elements you care about–like email address, phone number and mailing address–take steps to fill in the gaps.  The easiest route is an ‘append’ of the data points you’re concerned about. We recommend you combine an NCOA (National Change of Address) append with an append of the specific data element you need to update.

  • NCOA will analyze the names and addresses in your list and provide an updated–and appropriately formatted–address where a change of address has been submitted to USPS®.
  • Data Elements to Append–that have the greatest value to engagement–include email and postal address, and phone number.*

*There are many commercially available options for append data–including DonorSearch. Pricing will vary, depending on how many names you run, and the number of data points you’re looking for, of course.

4. Manage Your Expectations

Our nation is on the move. Most data is self-reported.  That means NO append service will be 100% complete or 100% accurate.  But you’ll be better off for having done it.

5. Get ready to engage

The [Valuable thing to do While] Waiting for an ‘OLD’ Normal to Return