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How Clean Data Increases the Value of Your CRM

Customer relationship management software (CRM) can be a significant investment, so you’ll want to make sure you get the best bang for your buck. With the right CRM, you can identify trends among your donors that will drive your giving campaigns. But here’s a secret: no matter how highly rated your CRM is, it won’t deliver results if your data is dirty. So, whether this is your first CRM or you’re migrating to a new one, good data hygiene is essential and can extend the life of your CRM and sometimes even provide more value.

Practicing good data hygiene means ensuring your data is formatted consistently and meets your organization’s business rules. In contrast, poor data hygiene results in dirty data — information is entered into the wrong fields, details are missing, values are inconsistent (CEO vs Chief Executive Officer), or the data is out of date.

As a result, your staff spends more time pulling reports that aren’t even reliable. In short, if your data is dirty, it may as well not even exist.

Performing a deep data cleanse before you migrate to a CRM will ensure your data can generate meaningful and actionable insights to help you meet your fundraising goals. And because data migration is an extremely stressful time for your IT or data team, outsourcing the cleanse to a partner like GivingDNA (GDNA) will be well worth the investment.


Why You Should Outsource Your Data Cleanse

You may think your data is okay, but a migration will show you otherwise. As you plan your CRM migration strategy, you’ll be faced with several questions:

  • What do we do with non-donors?
  • Do we really want to pull this messy data in?
  • Should we just wait until we’re in the new system to start cleaning?

Every nonprofit goes through this. The best time to address dirty data is before the migration. Think about moving into a new home — you don’t bring unwanted items with you; you clean out as you pack up. Plus, CRMs charge by record count, so dirty data like duplicate records can end up costing you money.

GivingDNA automatically cleans data when it’s merged with our database. It does this in three simple ways through in-depth dashboards and reports:

  1. GivingDNA separates incomplete, inaccurate, and outdated records into a new file that can be appended and fixed.

  2. It identifies donors to keep, re-engage, or delete from the database based on affinity and capacity. These donors are then segmented into actionable groups before ever going into the new CRM.

How do you know who to delete? If a donor hasn’t given in over five years and doesn’t have the capacity or affinity to do so, remove them from your database.

  1. It removes duplicates from your system by importing multiple data sources, lists, and spreadsheets into GDNA. Users are left with a clean CSV file that they can export and upload into their CRM.

Again, these three steps are part of GivingDNA’s standard practices with its clients, but a data cleanse is also available as a standalone service. Our data team can also standardize your data beyond what artificial intelligence (AI) can achieve. For instance, if you’re migrating an Excel spreadsheet to a CRM, we can write rules to make sure your data lands in the proper fields.

In addition, our team works with most CRMs and various data sets, so we can perform a cleanse quickly and more efficiently. We also have the right tools on hand to process large amounts of data, so you can direct money and staff time elsewhere.


What Clean Data Can Do for You

After the initial large-scale data cleanse, continue practicing good data hygiene by putting effective data governance in place. Be thoughtful when developing data definitions or rules to guide your CRM users as they add new donor details. Also, consider a system that will spot-check the data to ensure it’s entered correctly.

All organizations want to make data-driven decisions. But to get value from your data, you must keep it clean. That’s what makes it usable.

With clean data, GivingDNA can analyze your donors to identify trends and preferences that direct your giving campaigns. For instance, we can show you who’s more likely to give more and who’s about to lapse, how each donor prefers to be contacted, and which prospects you should target.

In addition, you’ll have more confidence in your donor reports, and your staff won’t waste time manually checking the reports. And, while the rest of the data migration process might be a hassle, you’ll appreciate how easy it is to let someone else handle the data cleanse. With GivingDNA, you’ll only have to submit your constituent file.   

A CRM is only as good as the information in it, so don’t waste time and money on one stocked with dirty data. Let GivingDNA clean your data so you can generate actionable insights that will exceed your fundraising goals. Book a quick demo  or contact us at support@givingdna.com to discuss our data cleanse services.


Mateo Molina is the GivingDNA Director of Platform Deployment and Analytics.