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Sep 7, 2022

The State of Data Woes in 2022

When I started analyzing donor databases in the 1990s, the state of donor databases was challenging:

  • Poor data hygiene
  • duplicate records
  • non-standard gift coding
  • undertrained IT staff
  • simple inflexible software

Let’s fast forward 25-years. Since the 1990s, nearly every nonprofit organization has upgraded their donor database. So, let’s compare the current state of donor databases:

  • Poor data hygiene
  • duplicate records
  • non-standard gift coding
  • undertrained IT staff
  • complex inflexible software

Yeah, the set of challenges back in the 1990s are the same ones we face today – other than donor database software has become more complex.

As I look back at this year, our experience of acquiring and validating client data is that data woes are actually getting worse.

New, expensive, complex donor software “solutions” aren’t helpful unless you can afford to have the people on your staff who can navigate those systems efficiently. Too often, nonprofit organizations manage to budget for upgrading to expensive software solutions, but they don’t budget to adequately train or hire staff to fully leverage those expensive software solutions.

The result is that organizations often lose data functionality when they upgrade to a more complex software solution.

And that’s a shame.

So, if you are considering a donor database change, please (please please) build staff training and/or the hiring of professionals to your on-going budgets so you can fully take advantage of your new donor database.

Otherwise, you are only going to make your data woes worse.

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Our company has had a very busy summer analyzing donor databases, making mail plans, and executing selects. And if you are like us, sometimes during the busyness of all that needs to get done in the world of fundraising, we can lose sight of why we do want we do....

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Mentors: Phil Stolberg

As we finish one year and head into the next, I thought it would be appropriate to recognize some of the key mentors I have had that have shaped my career. So, this 4-part series focuses on those who have helped me along. A big thank you to each and every one of them....

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Mentors: Steven Screen

As we finish one year and head into the next, I thought it would be appropriate to recognize some of the key mentors I have had that have shaped my career. So, this 4-part series focuses on those who have helped me along. A big thank you to each and every one of them....

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