They Say it’s Your Birthday! (Do-do-do-do-do-do-do)

Do you send (or want to send) birthday greetings to your donors and prospects? If you know the day or even just the month of your donors’ birthdays, you can send a nice birthday note easily and inexpensively using ResultsPlus. If you wish, you can send a card in the mail. If you prefer email, you can do that instead.

I’ll start by showing a query to qualify people with birthdays during a given month. After that, I’ll write about a few additional tweaks you may want to make, and I’ll mention a few things you may want to think about as you work out how you can implement a sustainable “birthday greeting” process for your donors.

So, if what you really want to do is find all the people in your database who have a birthday in March, for example, your query criterion would look like this:

Month([Folder].[BirthDate]) = 3

For those of you who write a lot of queries, you’ll probably notice this isn’t something you’ve seen before. When writing queries in the designer, the default is to qualify the entire date, not just a part of it. However, with a bit of manual work when initially writing the query, you can adjust the query to focus on one component of the date instead of the entire thing.

The steps would be to:

  1. Select the Folder Table
  2. Select the BirthDate field
  3. Select the Equals (=) operator
  4. Enter the value of 3
  5. Manually enclose the [Folder].[BirthDate] field in Month() like so: Month([Folder].[BirthDate])
  6. Remove the hash symbols (#) from around the number 3.
Month Query

The above query would qualify every record in your database for which the month of March is a part of the BirthDate field. This includes your records marked as deceased and inactive. You will probably want to exclude those people from your query. To exclude them, you would do what you normally do to exclude those people. If it happens automatically in your default query, you’re all set. If you exclude them with stored criteria, be sure to select those options on Step 5 of the Query Design Wizard (shown below).

Query Options

And there you have it: a query you can run to qualify people based on their birth month. You can use this query to send birthday greetings via snail mail or email. You can pick up the phone and call them. You can go to lunch with them. It’s up to you!

Many databases have upwards of 40,000 records in them. This could result in a large number of birthday greetings per month. This is perfectly OK, and you can send greetings to whomever you wish. However, if the number of people coming back each month is unmanageable, you may want to further narrow the result-set. Perhaps you want to limit the results to only donors and volunteers. Maybe you want to send your major donors and major donor prospects a card in the mail vs. an email (or maybe you want to call them), so you qualify them separately. These are a few things to think about when designing your query or queries for this purpose.

Do any of you send birthday greetings to your donors? Do you have additional criteria you use to qualify or disqualify people to whom you send greetings? If so, please let us know in the comments section so that we may all benefit from your best practices! …Oh, and if you now have the Beatles’ birthday song in your head, here’s a YouTube video to help you sing it out loud.