If your organization is large and well-established, you probably already have relationship management software (such as Raiser’s Edge or Salesforce) to track donor information and gifts. For smaller organizations, this “database” may simply be an excel file… or many, many excel files! Gathering this information may seem like a daunting task, but it’s absolutely necessary to ensure that your donor data is accurate and secure.
Over the years, an unknown number of donor/volunteer/general contact lists may have been created, used, and shared by employees and volunteers. There are several things you may not know, such as: 1) how many lists exist; 2) whether the information on these lists is accurate/current; 3) whether personal information is secure and protected.
What Needs to be Done
Step 1: Call for return of lists to your organization from volunteers and ask volunteers to delete their local copies.
Step 2: Consolidate lists into one master list.
Step 3: Verify and update list information.
Step 4: Establish procedures for updates and sharing of list.
Step 5: Convert Excel list to donor database once one has been selected.
Why Does This Need to Be Done?
1. Enhance ease of use to aid fundraising and communication efforts. Verified information contained in one master list will make mailings much easier to produce and will make fundraising more effective.
2. Privacy concerns. Though past volunteers had good reason for using donor/contact lists and it is reasonable to trust that they only used the information for purposes specified by your organization, you cannot guarantee protection of data once it is copied. Your organization should to ask that local copies be returned and deleted as well as establish policies for information-sharing in the future.
3. Compliance with Canada’s Anti-Spam Law. While non-profits are generally exempt from CASL it is a best practice to ensure that those you contact have consented to receiving emails/mailings from us. With a master list/database, you can track whether an individual consents to receive communication.
4. Track anonymous donors and other information about donors. A master list/database will allow you to track donors who wish to remain anonymous as well as other useful donor information.
Does It Need to Be Done Immediately?
Yes. Your Fundraising Committee’s activities should require up-to-date donor/contact lists as well as donor segmentation. If the lists are not consolidated and cleaned up, the Committee’s efforts will not be as effective as they should be. Equally important are the privacy concerns. While nothing may have happened yet and you believe that all your volunteers have good intentions, you cannot protect our donor information if a volunteer’s computer gets a virus or is sold without data being deleted.
What Fields Should the New Consolidated Spreadsheet Contain?
Spouse First name
Has No Valid Address?