There must be something about turning the calendar page which makes us think of turning over a new leaf. Aside from the obvious change in numeric year, maybe it marks the end of the excesses of the holiday season and a self-promise to be healthier.
In that light, this could be a good time to institute some healthy practices in your fundraising database. Start by looking backward and identifying some of the problems you had, then make your resolutions accordingly. Here are some suggestions based on some of the more common things we hear from our customers:
Resolution #1: I’ve got to get rid of all these duplicate records!
If your database is plagued with numerous duplicates you could be wasting precious resources, including time, financial and natural. If so, plan to run the Merge Constituents Wizard on a regular basis to make this task more manageable. After the first initial effort, it will be a much less daunting task.
Resolution #2: We need to get consistent about how we enter information into our database!
There is a good chance for data to be inconsistent if you work at an organization where more than one person enters or edits data into your database. Resolve to make this year the one where you create a set of policies to define how things are done. (eg. Always spell out ‘and’ when using ‘Mr. and Mrs.’ as a title). Documenting these rules and decisions can make data entry more efficient and accurate and save considerable time in the long run.
Resolution #3: There’s more we can be doing – we just need to know what the program is capable of!
Make this the year that you attend a class on using your database. Then, take things one step further and spin the experience into your own internal training process. Use the training manual provided to help create a procedures manual specifically for your organization. It will help to cement what you learned and pave the way for other users to get up to speed more quickly in the future.
Start the New Year out right by budgeting the resources you need—both human and financial—to make the most of your fundraising database. Care to share your resolutions here with us?