The foundation to successful fundraising today is data. With a clean data file, you’re able to reach the right donors at the right time—with the most effective message.
But this magic doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a lot of work behind the scenes to get your data in a good spot first.
Before you can deliver a customized message, your fundraising materials first have to get to your audience. In direct mail, that means you must ensure that you have the right addresses for your donors.
Look beyond NCOA appends
NCOA appends are a common way nonprofits sort through their databases to update addresses or remove undeliverable addresses from their mailing lists. And while this is a great practice to keep up with, it only gets you so far. Only people who fill out a change of address form through the Postal Service will be on the NCOA file.
Because of this, there are a few additional appends we run for our clients on a regular basis, including:
- PCOA: A private or proprietary change of address service compiled from credit card magazine and other subscription services
- Apartment append: Useful in areas like NYC or D.C.
- Deceased append: Compiled using SSA and DMA sources
And there are many more. In fact, VP Krissy Niemczura recently hosted a webinar diving into each of these appends and why they’re so useful for direct mailers. Check it out in the video above.
Once you have your addresses in check, it’s time for some personalization.
Use age data for personalization
Different generations respond to fundraising messages in different ways, so having good age data on your donors is key to connection.
But how can you get age data? There are three primary options:
- Marketing agencies: Most agency partners have experience getting this information for their customers and loading it into your donor files.
- Data bureaus: Many data bureaus are able to do a year-of-birth append on your file.
- Data compilers: Think of these like big credit bureaus who can also run an append on your file to provide age data for your donors.
Good age data allows you to think about your campaigns and packages from a generational perspective, reaching audiences with different messages across channels. It also allows you to perform more detailed and granular segmentation for both marketing and reporting.
If you’re interested in learning more about what you can do with age data and how you can get it, check out the webinar above hosted by Data Solutions Architect Trent Johnson. And if you want even more insights into what motivates donors across generations, check out our research study “Don’t You Forget About Me: The Nonprofit Marketers Guide to Generation X.”