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Data Quality Challenges in the Charity Sector

The work of charities is all about making a difference, but in today's changing world, it can be more challenging than ever to engage with supporters.

The best place to start is with your existing database, but ensuring that your database contains accurate information in terms of addresses, email and telephone data can be a minefield, and ensuring that you are not contacting supporters that may have moved or passed away can avoid damage to brand reputation and potential wasted budget through poor data quality and duplicates.

At Data8 we work with several charities and have resolved many of the common issues they face around data quality, below are some of the challenges faced by many charities and how we have helped them on their data quality journey, so I thought I'd cover some of these issues below:

Address Data

When engaging with supporters via traditional mail, it's extremely important to ensure that your address data is accurate, key considerations include:

  • Accurate First Name and Last Name
  • Correctly formatted address details
  • Ensuring supporters are still at the address on file and have not moved or deceased

The implications of inaccurate mailing information can be huge, including:

  • The loss of personalisation in mailing campaigns due to inaccuracies
  • Returned mail due to incorrect mailing addresses
  • Returned mail due to the supporter having moved or passed away, and possible damage to brand reputation

Resolving Issues with Address Data Quality

Resolve with Cleansing 

Our online self-service portal is a great place to start on your journey to improving data quality. By registering on our portal you can identify and resolve:

  • Incomplete Address Data, which can be corrected to meet the Royal Mail's PAF file Duplicate Supporter Records
  • Gone-aways, which can be corrected by cross-checking against the National Change of Address File
  • Deceased Records






Prevent with Validate

Maintaining the integrity of your supporter database addresses is key. To help with this we have two services, Postcode Lookup and PredictiveAddress, which can offer the following features and benefits:

  • Real-time address validation and correction
  • Auto-formatting of addresses to the PAF Standard
  • Multi-residence for accurate address information for supporters living in flats
  • Advanced Fuzzy Logic to ensure the address is always correct, even if there is a character missed or an incorrect address is entered
  • Simple no-code integration into websites and CRM systems, including Dynamics 365, Salesforce and Sage

All of these features can help you to not only ensure Data Quality is maintained to a high standard, but also eliminates the need to commit resource to correct information not just for marketing purposes but other areas such as Gift Aid claims.

Phone & Email Data

In addition to accurate mailing information, many charities also use phone and email data to either supplement mail campaigns to maximise effectiveness or as an alternative to post to minimise costs. However, there are many challenges to this, including:

  • GDPR compliance
  • TPS and CTPS suppression
  • Accuracy of phone numbers and valid email addresses.

Invalid mobile and landline numbers can lead to wasted time and effort in attempting to contact donors and invalid emails can lead to bounces which in turn can effect the deliverability of email campaigns on an ongoing basis

Resolving Issues with Phone & Email Data Quality

Resolve with cleansing

As is the case with resolving issues with address data, a good place to start with improving the accuracy of phone numbers and email addresses is via cleansing. Again, our online portal can help with this in terms of:

  • Checking phone numbers (both mobile and landline) are live
  • Checking against the TPS and CTPS suppression list to ensure compliance
  • Correcting numbers to ensure they are in the right format
  • Checking an email address is live, and whether or not the address is grey listed or blacklisted

Prevent with Email Validation

  • Validate email addresses in real-time
  • Check for grey listed and blacklisted email addresses
  • Suggests corrections to mis-typed email addresses
  • No-code integration with websites and CRM Systems

Prevent with Phone Validation

  • Ensure telephone numbers (both mobile and landline) are valid and live
  • Automatically format numbers for consistency across your entire supporter database
  • Real time TPS and CTPS Check options

Ensuring Supporter Bank Details are Accurate

Finally, there is the challenge of capturing accurate bank account information for direct debit setup or ensuring card details are valid for one-off donations minimises the impact of having to contact the supporter to correct bank details - the information can be verified in real time on your website or whilst on the phone.

Prevent with Validate

The Data8 Bank Validation service allows you to capture accurate sort code and account number bank details in real-time to avoid costly failed payments at a later date. It can also be used to enrich your bank data by adding data such as the IBAN and the BIC Code, as well as checking if an account can accept direct debits and send/receive faster payments. Credit and debit cards can also be checked in real time so that you can always ensure you have the correct details for donations to the charity. As with all validate services, there are native integrations available for both Microsoft Dynamics and Salesforce, as well as Sage.

Next Steps

Find out more about how Data8 can help you

About the author

Karl Stapleton

Marketing Manager at Data8