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4 Data Services That Can Enhance Your Donor Database

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Most sports fans cringe when they hear the words “performance enhancing substance.” Our minds immediately jump to individuals and teams which we consider to be “cheaters.” We condemn those who have even been suspected of gaining an unfair advantage.

Luckily, taking steps to enhance the performance of your donor database is totally on the up and up. In fact, it might be exactly what you need in order to maximize your nonprofit organization’s potential.

Enhancing the performance of your donor database has nothing to do with upgrading your computer or adding modules to your software. It is about improving your data. Here are a few easy and inexpensive ways to do that:


The most-recommended enhancement is a National Change of Address (NCOA). Roughly 40 million Americans change their place of residence or place of business during a given year. Rather than lose the opportunity to connect through direct mail, use an NCOA to keep your database’s addresses up to date. Even if you do not do mass mailings this service can still be important. For example, wealth screening and other services use address information to help verify donor identity.

Return on investment: if the cost of the NCOA is saved by reducing the amount of undelivered mail sent

2. Deceased Suppression

You can imagine the pain of receiving mail directed to a deceased spouse or relative. This is not how you want to exemplify the relationship your organization has been cultivating with a loyal donor, or any donor for that matter. Use a deceased suppression service to properly mark donor records and avoid this embarrassing mistake, while creating an opportunity for stewardship. This enhancement can be incredibly important if your donor population is elderly.

Return on investment: if the cost of the Deceased Supression is saved by reducing the amount of undelivered mail sent

3. Cell Phone Append

How many of us continue to use a landline phone? If you are like me, you have not had a landline in years. However, they are still the most common phone type in databases. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to use the information you have and gather cell phone numbers? That is exactly what a Cell Phone Append does. It uses the information you have such as name and address to collect cell phone numbers.

Return on investment: if the cost of the Cell Phone Append is offset by received donations solicited over the phone or as a result of telephone stewardship (thank you calls, etc.)

4. Email Append

Email addresses often contain typos when entered into online forms or written down on paper. Inputting them manually into your donor database can also lead to accidental typos. An email append can help correct an email address, while confirming its deliverability. If you send out newsletters or electronic appeals frequently, or add email addresses at a high rate, an (at least) annual email append is a no-brainer.

Return on investment: if the cost of the Email Append is offset by received donations solicited by email

These powerful yet underutilized methods of improving the data in your database can often generate a positive return on investment. The best part? No one will talk about putting an asterisk next to your name in the history books.

Have you invested in any of these data services? What were the results? Let me know in the comments below!


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