Best Practice for Donor Record Retention in CRM Software

BethNuttallBethNuttall Posts: 50 ✭✭✭
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edited December 2022 in Finance & Operations

I am wondering if anyone has best practices for how long you keep an inactive donor's record in a database? We keep all donation history in our accounting system but our CRM (DonorPerfect) charges based on number of profiles, so we have been culling some small batches of donor records to stay within the current bracket for the cost, but we don't really have a good sense of a larger plan to follow for staying on top of this. Any suggestions/thoughts would be appreciated!


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    HeidiFindlayHeidiFindlay Posts: 65 ✭✭✭
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    I come from the world of the nonprofit charity, and I cannot imagine ditching donor records, even if inactive. I've worked in places where the accounting system also has record (but didn't like it), and that helps accounting, but what happens when that donor becomes active again? You'll be creating something new and you won't have their history. I don't know what we ever paid to have to keep all those donors, but we always paid it.

    Take a hard look at your data and see where you have duplicates.

    Check how you are recording data (or how it was done in the past). Sometimes, when organizations get checks from ohh Amazon, they enter the gifts (hard credit) to an individual, instead of to Amazon (the legal donor to YOU). Soft credit should only be given if you have full info on the donor - name, address, contact info (whatever you established as your required data points).

    Sometimes companies are entered in all their different locations. If your system allows for tiers (HQ at the top with sub listings) then you could combine corporate records in some cases.

    In the day of one-off giving, where you get #givetocharity and such, you end up with a lot of small donations from people who will probably only give the one time. Yes, it's nice to have those gifts, but notice what it costs you. If these records have little to no data points (only an email or phone number?) then those might be the ones I could be convinced to leave in Accounting and clean from my database. But please do look to see if any of them match your current donor base.

    Hope this helps.


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    TereseWalshTereseWalsh Posts: 2
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    Hi all. Do any of you have criteria for when to consider a profile "Inactive"? This is something we are trying to create at the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation. Thank you!

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