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Apr 22, 2024

Top 5 Mistakes: #4 Legacy “No-Mail” Flags

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 five errors. Your organization probably won’t thank you. But you and I will both know that you are secretly saving your organization.

Number 4: Legacy “No-Mail” Flags

The root of the misapplication of no-mail flags is the mindset that fundraising appeals are “junk mail” that insults donors. This misinformed mindset then motivates organizations – or oftentimes one rogue individual – to start applying no-mail flags in a willy-nilly fashion without any documentation of why or when the flag was applied.

As time passes . . . and staff turns over . . . these flags become permanent legacies on the database. And these legacies destroy the organizations’ ability to maintain a relationship with its donors and literally rob it of revenue.

If your database has a bunch of legacy no-mail flags, this is what I suggest:

  1. If a no-mail flag’s origin date is not known, remove the flag.
  2. If there is no documentation on why the no-mail flag was applied in the first place, remove the flag.
  3. From this point forward, apply dates and motivations to each no-mail flag added to your database.
  4. Put expiration dates on your no-mail flags. After 18-months, reevaluate each flag. If a donor continues to remain active, then the donor is keeping their end of the bargain, and the flag can be retained. However, if the donor has not given since the flag date, then remove the flag and try to reactivate the donor.

We all know that it’s getting harder and harder to acquire new donors to your cause. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance to be able to cultivate every name on your donor database. Don’t let legacy no-mail flags hamper your organization’s ability to deliver on its mission.

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