Show Your Database Some Love…Before EOY!

Rob Winters Blog

We’ve spoken on the topic of data several times, and it’s worth raising the concept as end of year campaigns have kicked off and data is key to driving results. What do we mean by this? Segmentation! In order to properly segment your constituent records, be it for SMS, Email or Direct Mail engagement, you need to know where they exist within your organization.

Are they a one-time lapsed donor? Did they participate in your last three events? Are they a name on your list that appears to have never truly interacted with the organization?

The importance of understanding your connection matters for how you plan to communicate. You should never be sending every email or SMS messages to all of your database records. Yes, there is a time and place for this, but if that’s your standard it’s very likely your opt out list is growing quickly.

So, here are some simple things you can do to clean up your data today, to get closer to that perfect database we all want.

1. Mass De-Dup

Most CRM tools, including Engaged Donor, have an easy way for you to run a mass de-dup. This should be happening frequently. I suggest for a database of 250,000+ records, it be happening weekly. Smaller organizations can get away with doing this monthly, but it needs to be a priority. Set a calendar reminder!

2. Check Bounced/Suppressed Email Files

You may not look at the bounce and suppression files produced by your emails – but you should! There can be a treasure trove of records just waiting to be reconnected. Look for these common typos and correct them in your contact records to reactivate a bounced email. Psst…this is a great task for an intern or volunteer.

  • ymail.com and gmail.com – ymail and gmail may be spelled wrong or missing a letter
  • .com spelled as .cm, or another incorrect variation
    • Be careful when editing .co emails, as this is likely correct
  • .com as ,com
  • ‘@’ is missing from the email address

Fun Fact: Withing Engaged Donor, your emails all have a report to show Bounced addresses. Filter the Reason column to view ‘invalid’ emails. This can speed up the process.

3. Email Append and NCOA Updates

If your database is a little on the older side, there is a strong possibility your contacts have changed their email address or moved to a new address. There are a number of reputable services that can run your list to provide current data. If you’re interested, let us know and we can point you in the right direction.

4. Segmentation 101

Engaged Donor creates a large number of list attributes to refine your emails. If you haven’t spent time creating segments, here are some quickies to create to get you moving in the right direction.

  • 2019 Donors / 2019 Event Participants
  • 2018 Donors / 2018 Event Participants
  • 2017 Donors / 2017 Event Participants
  • 2016 and Prior Donors / 2016 and Prior Event Participants

Segmentation is the key to creating better, more personalized, communications. Segmentation requires clean data. By implementing a plan to begin data clean up today, you can reduce the amount of work required to maintain your data in the long-term, as well as ensuring new data is properly stored. In the end, you can ensure your constituents are receiving the messages they crave and driving the results you desire.


Chief Marketing Officer at Adcieo; a software and services company that provides professional marketing services and a suite of constituent management and fundraising tools.