Since I have the good fortune of working with and traveling to see thousands of fundraisers every year, I often get asked the question:

“What’s the best thing we can do to improve our fundraising results this year?”

The answer I give is usually received with surprise.

Perhaps they are expecting me to say “call more donors” or “get board members to ask for money” or “be more active on social media” – none of which are bad ideas, but aren’t my favorite.

Have I aroused your curiosity enough yet? Just what is my magical answer?

Running a National Change of Address (NCOA) Update Service is the answer!

Why an NCOA?

Whether your database of donors and perspective donors has only 50 names, 500 names or 5,000 names, an NCOA is the single-easiest, fastest and arguably best thing you can do all year to enhance your fundraising efforts.


An NCOA update will standardizing your address formats based on recommendations from the US Postal Service and compare the addresses of your constituents to the information in their database to see if any of them moved.

Consider this: 17% of the U.S. population moves every year.

That means if you have not run an NCOA update in the last three years, up to half of your direct mail could go undelivered.

Think of all your appeals, newsletters, invitations and acknowledgements that might never reach their intended destination.

Given the effectiveness and pervasiveness of direct mail, running an (at least) annual NCOA should be a no-brainer. Even if you did it every three years, you have the chance of doubling your direct mail fundraising results, which is usually the most relied upon source of fundraising dollars.

Finally, think about the postage expense that can be saved as your list is truly cleansed. The postage savings alone should more than make up for the cost of the service!

Like so many key bits of advice in life, most of the very best ones are timeless in nature. This is truly the case with NCOAs.

Give it a try and let us know what impact it has upon your results this year. Perhaps this is the game changer you and your organization has been searching for!

Stay Together - How to Encourage a Lifetime of Donor Loyalty

Jay Love

Jay Love

Co-Founder & Chief Relationship Officer at Bloomerang
A 30+ veteran of the nonprofit software industry, Jay Love co-founded Bloomerang in 2012. Prior to Bloomerang, he was the CEO and Co-Founder of eTapestry for 11 years, which at the time was the leading SaaS technology company serving the charity sector. Jay and his team grew the company to more than 10,000 nonprofit clients, charting a decade of record growth. Prior to starting eTapestry, Jay served 14 years as President and CEO of Master Software Corporation. MSC provided a widely used family of database products for the non-profit sector called Fund-Master. He currently serves on the board of the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University and is the past AFP Ethics Committee Chairman. Jay is also the author of Stay Together: How to Encourage a Lifetime of Donor Loyalty.