Spring Into Action And Clean Up Your Mailing List

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If you run a charitable organization, don’t limit spring cleaning to your desk and drawers.

clean up your mailing list
The early months of the new year are a good time to clean up your mailing list, grow your list and then put it to work for a fundraising appeal.

Mailing lists are like ladies’ shoes. They get outdated.

People move. People pass away. Chances are good that your mailing list contains records that fall into both categories.The Direct Marketing Association estimates that every year, 22 million pieces of mail are sent to the wrong address. When your organization takes the time to have a professional mail service clean up your mailing list, 10 to 20 percent of names are removed because addresses are out of date, names appear more than once, ZIP codes are wrong or other problems. A third party will run your mail list through several software programs that will look for issues, including NCOA (National Change of Address). They will also run a merge/purge, which rids the list of duplicates, based on parameters you set.

Grow prospects by growing your list.

Spring is a great time to start growing things, including your prospects. A logical way to do that is to expand your mailing list. A third-party mail service can help you find a list or lists of people who are most likely to support your organization, based on their support of similar causes. Your mailing service will also compare these lists to one another and to your existing list to ensure you are not sending mail to someone more than once, because often, people who have interests in particular causes will appear on several mailing lists. Your mail professional can also tell you who these duplicates are. (People who appear on multiple mailing lists tied to a cause are very good prospects.) Use the new mailing list that combines your original list with those you have bought or rented to send several fundraising appeals. Getting new donors on board now will mean that you have more people to turn to for financial support when you make your biggest fundraising appeal at year’s end.

The upsides of an up-to-date list

Having a list that is up-to-date with duplicates and undeliverable mail removed saves hundreds, thousands, even millions, in postage and publication waste. And, the USPS offers substantial discounts to organizations that take the time to make sure their mailing lists are current and correct. You will be mailing less and spending less, but in the end, getting better results for the investment you make.


Julie Thomas

Business Development

April 4, 2016

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