Don’t Turn Cash into Ash: Invest in Good Data

Whether or not you have money to burn, no one likes to waste money. And anyway, the government frowns upon burning their paper.

So why are so many nonprofits squandering their resources on mailings to bad addresses?

Undeliverable mail is a waste of your money. You’re incurring costs in printing, production and postage, not to mention in lost donations. And sadly, it’s an accepted waste of money.

But that doesn’t have to be the case. Really! There are ways to improve the deliverability of your mail and reengage with donors who, for whatever reason, have been deemed “undeliverable” in your database.

I’m not talking about spending tens of thousands of dollars for some super fancy solution with more bells and whistles than you would ever know what to do with. I’m talking about spending a few hundred or maybe a couple thousand dollars per mailing — or even per quarter — on address enhancement services.

Yes, yes, I know…nonprofits already run their file through the National Change of Address (NCOA) database at least once a quarter, and each mail file is Coding Accuracy Support System (CASS) certified. But there is a better way to process your mail file that further improves deliverability — a service that still provides NCOA certification, but also leverages other data sources to find better addresses for those who did not submit a change of address to the post office.

Merkle RMG and its partners have developed a solution that goes beyond the traditional NCOA updates and dives deeper into the world of data, finding a better address for the unreported moves.

I can’t tell you our secret sauce, but we have tested this solution with a handful of our clients and have seen this address enhancement service match an additional 8-12 percent above and beyond NCOA (and in some instances, it has improved the reported NCOA address by adding a unit or apartment number.)

Over the course of a year, that’s a decent number of donors who will remain on the active mail file continuing to be mailed instead of being marked as “undeliverable” — which can translate into a nice bit of revenue.

So potentially, that’s more revenue to your organization and more donors remaining on your active mailing list, for just a small investment (which will, more than likely, pay for itself.) That sounds like a win-win to me.

Not only is this address enhancement service great for renewal or house mailings, it should also be considered as a solution for lapsed files, and as a one-time solution for “undeliverable” records.

It’s a bummer that I can’t share all of the juicy data details with you in this blog, but if this is a service you’re interested in learning more about, please reach out to me. We can schedule a time to discuss a customized solution that fits the needs of your organization.

I’ve never accepted things simply because that’s the way they have always been done. Innovation is the key to success and what will continue to propel our industry forward, which is why here at Merkle RMG we are always pushing the envelope.

Happy summer, y’all!