Recently, I got home from work and did what I usually do – go to the mailbox. There was an envelope that was to my address but had the wrong name on it. In other words, both the first and last name were wrong.
This particular direct mail solicitation was from a very large (and well known) nonprofit organization that mails out hundreds of thousands of pieces at a time. There was an ID# above the name and the addressee was the person who had previously lived in our home. This has been my home for 25 years.
To say the least, this was disturbing because with the cost of postage, material and production this nonprofit easily must have paid $3.50 per piece. Imagine, I have lived in my current home for over 25 years, yet I get a direct mail solicitation from a very large nonprofit addressed to the person who has not lived at that address in a quarter of a century.
You would have thought that it might have said “Or Current Resident” but no, it didn’t. As a potential donor, what does this say to me? Among other things, it says they don’t do good record keeping. If they don’t do good record keeping it also means that they might not put my support to good use. I will not donate to this organization.
This issue certainly begs a larger question: how many pieces were mailed out without making an effort to cleans the file to make sure that the addresses and names were all current. So easy to do. So wasteful not to try.
This is a prime example of why List Maintenance and requests for Donor Updates is so vital.
How important is this from the nonprofit’s perspective? It should be very important. Let’s say that out of a 100,000 piece project, if they haven’t cleansed their data in over 25 years there are, conservatively, 500 wrong addresses at $3.50 per piece.
The last time I checked that would come to $1,750 in postage wasted. Then there is the waste of paper, ink, and the list could go on and on.
Have you taken the time to clean up your list so you can continue to have new funds coming into your organizations. Hmm, I wonder, could this organization use that money? You and I both know the answer to that.