Raise and Engage

Untapped Potential: The Case for Data Health

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Untapped Potential: The Case for Data Health 5 blackbaudinstitute.com DATA HEALTH Addresses In a time of social media, online purchases, smart phones, and payment apps, chasing physical addresses may not seem like the most forward-thinking thing to do, but it is by far the most important. According to the Blackbaud Institute's 2017 Charitable Giving Report, overall charitable giving in the United States increased 4.1% since 2016. Although online charitable giving increased by 12.1% during this time frame, suggesting an important surge in giving through online channels, overall online giving only represented 7.6% of overall fundraising. What does this mean? Simply stated: The lion's share of giving in the United States is still occurring through traditional mail channels. And, if the majority of donations are made through direct mail, then the consistent maintenance of your physical addresses is by far the most important factor in maintaining your fundraising efforts. On average, 15% of households 1 move each year. Of course, for the average nonprofit, this can be higher or lower based on the average age of the constituents in a database and the organization type. For an average database of 50,000 constituents, this equates to the potential need to update 7,500 addresses each calendar year. Trying to manage these updates through a manual record-keeping process is a daunting task. Yet, ignoring these necessary updates will undoubtedly lead to costly mismanagement of your direct mail program.In fact, using an average mailing cost of $0.40 per piece, the same organization with 50,000 records could be faced with $3,000 in costs associated with undeliverable mail per mailing, resulting in a likelihood of raising $0 from this spend. Additionally, there is the unquantifiable double whammy that a critical percentage of an organization's constituent database may not be receiving any solicitations, resulting in the loss of retained donors and associated dollars. Fundraisers are familiar with the phrase "retention is easier than acquisition." They know it's cheaper, too. Why should an organization put itself in a position of needing to acquire new donors to replace those who lapsed, simply because the lapsed donors were lost due to incorrect addresses? The same organization with 50,000 records could be faced with $3,000 in costs associated with undeliverable mail per mailing. 1 Target Analytics

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