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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.

Fundraising Forward

Postage rates and problematic delivery are making me rethink how fundraising might need to adapt moving forward. In 2024, First Class postage is a whopping 73 cents (who knew when those “forever” stamps don’t put the amount on them?) and nonprofit postage is between...

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Test First Class Postage this Fall

One of the disturbing USPS trends – other than raising the cost of postage every year – is the bulk delivery of appeal letters with nonprofit postage. Over the past year, when I check my mailbox for the appeal letters I’m seeded on, I have noticed that I receive all...

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Top 5 Mistakes: #1 Stopping New Donor Acquisition

I have been analyzing the fundraising business for nearly three decades and over the years I keep seeing nonprofit organizations making the same mistakes. These errors hold organizations back. If you are new to fundraising, please commit yourself to avoiding these...

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