Learn more about analytics and research best practices, as well as real world examples and solutions for nonprofits.


Oct 26, 2020

A Few Mail Flag Best Practices

Over the years, there are a couple of reoccurring mistakes that nonprofit organizations tend to make. One of the mostly costly are legacy “no mail” or “restricted mail” flags.

One day, no one usually knows when or why, a donor gets flagged as “no mail.” And then, it seems, for all eternity, these donors are considered untouchable.

That is a big mistake.

I’m not saying that an organization should not flag donors for not receiving communications, but here are some best practices to build into your mail flag protocols:

  1. Put the date when the no mail file was applied in the database.

    If your database doesn’t accommodate a date field for flags, add it to the notes. And if that’s not possible, keep a separate Excel file to record your mail flags (not best practice, but still a good idea).

  2. Record the reason for the no mail flag was made.
  3. Record the person applying the no mail flag.
  4. Reevaluate your no mail flags every 12-months.

We also recommend that if the donor has not donated since the no mail flag has been applied, the flag should be removed. And if your organization is against that idea, it should consider including 24+ month lapsed donors who have a mail flag in acquisition (with the intent of removing their flag should they respond).

Remember, mail flags should be considered a dynamic designation, not a static one.

By using these best practices, you will make sure your donors stay engaged and active.

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