Donor Database Management
Consolidating Parish databases at the Diocesan level leads to donor duplication.
Replacing the database each year with new parish copies deletes valuable information.
Updating donor information manually is impossibly time consuming.
Donors can be lost temporarily while moving between parishes.
Intelligent Database Management.
Import only records which have changed since last parish level import.
Auto-verify minor differences.
Triage changes that need to be reviewed in order of priority
By now, most of the parishes in your diocese have standardized on a single parish database software provider, or at least have a limited number. But when it comes to starting your annual appeal, how does that parish data get combined into a diocesan database? At best, all parishes upload their data periodically to the chancery. At worst, the parish submits lists of current parishioners. Do you then throw away your existing database and replace it with the newest data, or do you manually look for changes, additions and deletes and update these records into the diocesan level database ?
Inherent in either approach is the introduction and perpetuation of duplicate records. When a given parishioner moves within the diocese, they may or may not notify the old parish of the move. They may also take some time choosing a new parish before registering at that parish. Even if they do alert both parishes of the move, any change in the name spelling - Frank vs Francis, Jim instead of James, etc. can easiy lead to duplication. Combine that with different spellings of a spouse's name and the number of dupes increases again.
CPI has tackled this problem with several steps. First, we keep an independent parish database at the diocesan level. Each parish record is assigned a diocesan ID, independent of the particular ID assigned by the parish. Next, we keep a shadow copy of each parishes' database in a common format. That way, when a parish submits a new database copy, we can immediately determine which parishioners have changes, who is new, and who have stayed the same. Since usually over 85% of the parishioners have no changes year over year, this triage reduces the problem by over 85% immediately.- Is this truly a completely new person or household, or is this a move from one parish to another?
Now that we are dealing with 10-15% of the original data, we can start to determine what the changes are and what data we should harvest. Changes of address or the addition or change of a phone number or eMail address for a single parish record can be harvested immediately. However, additions and deletes from a parishes's records present some issues:
- Why is this record being deleted? Marriage? Death? Move outside of the diocese? Inactivity?
Our software challenges 'new' incoming records by comparing them to the existing database. We can compare on name, address, phone and email, and dates of birth. Frequently we find the new record is not new at all, but is a move from another parish. When this happens, we allow the diocesan user to choose one of the records as the Primary record, then connect the other as what we call an Auxiliary Link. We can then report the data back to the parishes for confirmation. While we wait for confirmation, we still have made the connection between the duplicate records so only the primary is used in any diocesan mailings.
Similarly, we evaluate deletes to determine if the record should acually be deleted or we should wait for a new parish registration. Missing new registrations can be assigned to the 'diocesan' parish, particularly if we have a history of donations from the person or household. After a defined period of time, if there is no new parish record, the donor will be archived out of the active database.
This multi-faceted approach cuts duplicates dramatically. We also have the ability to mark two records as independent, as in the case where we have a two family house where the parents live upstairs from the adult child, both with the same last name and address. Our system also allows us to submit the entire database to post office NCOA scrubbing to further identify moves or deletes.
Our Deliverables: An organized, coded database in spreadsheet form that can be used as a mailing list
Individual Parish Cleanup reports:
Dups within the parish
Possible father-son record pairs with same full name, address & phone.
The parish can then code these records as independent, or remove the duplicate.
Dups to other parishes
The Diocese can choose which parish controls the record, with input from the individual parishes
Diocesan dupes reports
Record pairs where two records are in different parishes but appear to point to the same household
Moved out of Parish list
Moved out of Diocese list
DataBase Enhancement & Data Addition.
The ability to match records depends on the quantity and quality of data points available for each ID. The parishes usually are able to provide phone numbers, email addresses and dates of birth and death. When this information is not available, CPI can submit the donor list to enhancement services which can help supply the missing information. CPI can research and add this data to our shadow database for future reference, and potentially report it back to the parishes. Among the data points that can be obtained are Age, Date of Death, phone #'s, eMail addresses, approximate income. This data enhancement usually costs pennies per donor.