Tax-Time Tips for Data-Savvy Fundraisers

Many EOFY fundraising campaigns are warming up for deployment in a time of financial uncertainty for Australians, and that’s a challenging landscape for fundraisers. Luckily, the DCA team is here to help the data savvy fundraiser knock their tax-time goals out of the park.

Data problems and their solutions

Problems in donor data are incredibly common. People sign up repeatedly to the same programs, or they move house, or they change numbers, or, regrettably but inevitably, they pass away. The result of those events, when it comes to your donor data, is that your campaign materials go awry and the message you’re trying to send isn’t received. Calls don’t go through to the correct people. Direct mail is returned to sender. Emails bounce (and take your sender reputation down with them).

But data problems have data solutions — and we’re not in the business of withholding them. We’ve put together a list of five of the most common problems our data specialists see in donor data.

High proportion of duplicate records

Problem: When you have a lot of duplicates in your donor data, you run the risk of sending the same messaging multiple times, which annoys recipients and wastes money. You can even end up sending the same donors conflicting messaging — this is most common if multiple duplicate records are segmented differently, resulting in different messages.

Solution: Deduplication can be done manually or in varying degrees of automation. High-frequency automated solutions can flag potential duplicates for manual review, or deduplicate data more autonomously, with manual intervention only recommended for duplicates with low confidence ratings.

Dud phone numbers

Problem: Calling constituents isn’t cheap. A single call put through to a line that isn’t connected is usually measured in dollars, not cents. It’s easy to waste a huge amount of money on telephone campaigns if you’re not confident in your telephone records.

Solution: Validation tools can be used to ensure that telephone numbers conform to standard formatting for Australian phone lines, and phone verification can check to make sure the line is a genuine, connected phone number before you pick up the phone.

Incorrect or abandoned email addresses

Problem: When you try to send to email addresses that are old, bad, or just incorrect, you fail to communicate with the right people even though you spend money per send, and you also risk your sender reputation, which affects the deliverability of all of the future emails you may wish to send.

Solution: Verify your email addresses before you send an email. This is just a process of checking that there is a real inbox attached to the email address to which you plan to send. It cuts down on wasteful sending and protects your sender reputation.

Deceased contacts

Problem: It’s wasteful to try to communicate with those who have passed away, but, more importantly, these are usually conversations non-profit organisations want to handle with authentic sensitivity — sometimes, a condolences card for a person’s family might be more appropriate than a request for further donations.

Solution: The Australian Death Check is a national database of the deceased that sources information from state and territory governments. Authorised brokers like DCA can flag deceased constituents in your donor data.

Incorrect addresses

Problem: Direct mail marketing is a high impact avenue for fundraisers. But it’s also one of the higher-cost channels, needing not just design and copy but also printing, packaging and postage. Incorrect addresses in your database can therefore become disproportionately wasteful.

Solution: Verify addresses using Australia Post’s National Change of Address (NCOA) database. Usually, when people move, they have their mail forwarded by Australia Post. From those redirections, a high-trust and reliable data set of address changes is drawn — and you can use it to mail your direct marketing campaign with confidence.

Specific data problems need targeted data solutions, but quality data is the backbone of every smart fundraising campaign. If you’ve got a data problem (or problem data) and you’d like to have a chat about possible solutions, our data experts are always willing to help — and they’re just a contact form away!

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