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Welcome to the Third Sector Labs blog. We cover a variety of data-related and fundraising issues for nonprofits, hoping to provide unique insights and share best practices. Data is overwhelming every industry … you aren’t alone … we can help! Subscribe to the Third Sector Labs blog by email today!

Donor data enrichment, what is it?

Donor data enrichment, what is it?

A lot of data jargon gets thrown around these days. Data hygiene. Data appending. Data brokers. Donor data enrichment. And the one that gets everyone’s attention – big data. These terms came up in a recent webinar that we co-sponsored about how to avoid letting bad data ruin your annual fundraising appeal. So what is donor data enrichment? Donor data enrichment Data enrichment – or donor data enrichment – is the practice of enhancing or refining the value of information assets, such as databases. It is important to any data […]

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The most common fundraising mistake

The most common fundraising mistake

In doing research for a webinar about how to improve your annual fundraising appeal through better data management, we kept stumbling upon an interesting problem. The most common advice for avoiding the most common fundraising mistakes was, in fact, mistaken. The most common fundraising mistake is an absence of good data management. Successful businesses – and that includes nonprofits – depend upon technology, and technology depends upon good data. Our approach We Googled, Binged and Yahoo’d to find the most commonly consumed advice about fundraising appeals – and the most […]

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Don’t let bad data be the Grinch to your holiday appeal

Don’t let bad data be the Grinch to your holiday appeal

Your work is done for your 2013 year-end holiday fundraising appeal. Time to relax, focus on your December events, and track the returns. Whatever mistakes you may have made with the appeal can be fixed next time, right? Wrong. There’s a Grinch lurking about, causing problems that you can’t even see yet. Fixing your fundraising appeal starts now, before the first donation comes in. Like the Grinch in the Christmas story, we’ve got to turn bad into good … data, that is. The holiday appeal Let’s take a step a […]

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Data brokers under fire: What does that mean for nonprofits?

Data brokers under fire: What does that mean for nonprofits?

The buying and selling of consumer data – data brokerage – is a multibillion-dollar industry that is getting a lot of attention on Capitol Hill.  Nonprofits need to pay attention to this issue because the quality of your data may be impacted. In October, Senator John D. Rockefeller IV, chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, expanded his committee’s investigation into the industry, an investigation that has been going on for more than a year.  So far, lots of questions are being asked in order to better […]

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More or better: Which donor strategy is preferred?

More or better: Which donor strategy is preferred?

Looking at the charity sector at the macro level, statistics are reassuring.  Giving has been recovering since the financial crisis of 2008. This past summer, sources reported that year-over-year growth in charitable giving for 2012 continued at a steady pace of 3.5%.  The largest sectors receiving donations continue to be religious institutions (32%), education (13%) and social services (12%).  Online giving remains a relatively small part of the total at $316B, yet it also continues to outpace all giving (up anywhere from 11% to 17%, depending on the source and […]

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Bad Data – Don’t let this happen to you!

Bad Data – Don’t let this happen to you!

Tesla is a really cool car. Electric. Expensive. Cool. I want one … that’s a different post. Did you hear about this story? Earlier this month, a Tesla car near Seattle was in an accident and caught on fire. No one was hurt. Enter a passerby, a camera phone and YouTube. Next fact – Tesla stock price dropped $12 or 6% that day. Initial speculation from analysts is that the stock price fell due to the video going viral. Bad data is expensive. Bad data? We are talking about a […]

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Does your data tell you how to communicate with donors?

Does your data tell you how to communicate with donors?

A local food bank has been using a custom contact management database built in Microsoft Access. It supports 15,000 or so contacts, and it suits their purposes just fine. Reviewing their data structure recently, we noted that they were tracking the following communication data about their donors: home address, work address, one or more email addresses, phone, mobile phone, work phone. Mapping data to business, we asked about their communications plan. It looked something like this: • Two direct mail appeals annually • Quarterly e-newsletters via Constant Contact • Ad […]

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Donor data hygiene: Can we keep it clean?

Donor data hygiene: Can we keep it clean?

In the opening interview scene of the Pixar movie The Incredibles, Mr. Incredible expresses the frustration of being a super hero.  “No matter how many times you save the world, it always manages to get in jeopardy again.  Sometimes I just want it to STAY SAVED, you know, for a little bit.  I feel like the maid … I just cleaned up this mess … can we keep it clean for TEN MINUTES?” With that closing rhetorical question, Mr. Incredible could have been talking about your donor data.  And in case you […]

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