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Best Practices for Managing Contact Records in Donor Management
Best Practices for Managing Contact Records in Donor Management
Updated over a week ago

In this section, we’ll cover some of the best practices that we recommend when it comes to managing your contact records efficiently.

Managing Unsubscribe Requests

All contact records are listed as being able to “receive emails” by default, when created. However, there are instances in which you may be asked by a contact to place them on a “do not email” list and stop sending any further communications.

You can adjust this manually on an individual contact directly from their individual contact record.

When editing a contact record, you should see a small toggle option below each “email address” field that’s labeled “Does this email address receive emails?” By default, you should see the option toggled on, with a blue and white checkmark displayed.

If you click on that toggle option, it should change to a small gray “X”, indicating that the email can no longer receive emails.

It should also be mentioned that toggling that option to the gray “X” also means that this email address may not receive ANY emails – including important information, such as year-end giving statements.

We recommend making sure that any contacts who wish to unsubscribe are aware of this prior, to make sure they’re aware that they may not be receiving all the relevant information that they need for their own records.

Additionally, each email address is unsubscribed independently from any other email addresses on a contact’s profile – meaning that a primary email address can be unsubscribed and the secondary email will still receive messages, or vice versa.

Updating Email Addresses

How can I update my donor's email address on their behalf?

If a donor mis-types their email address when making an online donation, it will result in

inaccurate records for you and no tax receipt for your donor - so sad!

Luckily, you can easily correct this mistake right from your Fundraising Pages admin account.

  • Go to People > Donors/Fundraisers.

  • Look up the donor by name or email address and click their name when it appears in the suggestions.

  • Click Edit.

  • Update the email address or any other donor information.

Managing Bounced Emails

Bounced emails most often occur for three reasons – either the email address listed in a contact’s record is misspelled; the email address no longer exists; or the email provider has rejected or quarantined the email because it believes that it may be spam.

With any of those reasons, when an email returns to Donor Management as “bounced,” the email will automatically have that “Does this email address receive emails?” toggle be set to “no,” and will display that gray “X.”

You might be wondering why an email address would automatically be set to not receive emails after bouncing. Your system does this automatically because email providers sometimes are more likely to reject an email if there are already “invalid” (or bounced) emails that are listed as recipients.

In other words, if you’re trying to send an email to 100 contacts and 10 reflect as “bounced”, the likelihood that more emails will bounce (that didn’t bounce previously) is higher if you try to re-send the email to those bounced contacts.

If the email address bounced due to a misspelling, or you have an updated email address to replace an invalid one, you can easily toggle back to that blue and white checkmark from the contact record. This should then allow that email to receive messages from Donor Management once more.

Each email address reflects as “bounced” independently from any other email addresses on a contact’s profile. This means that even though one email address on a contact record might have bounced, if there’s a secondary email address listed, it may still have received the message without an issue.

Marking Contact Records as Deceased

Unfortunately, there are sometimes situations where a contact has passed away. It’s important in these instances to ensure that you aren’t continuing to send communications to them moving forward. You have a few options as to how to manage these types of contacts:

  • You can remove the ability to send them both email and physical mail communications.

    You should be able to unsubscribe these contacts in the same way you’d complete an unsubscribe request; you can toggle the “Does this email address receive emails?” question to the gray “X” option.

    You can also remove the contact record’s mailing address from the corresponding address fields to make sure no physical mail is sent to their address. (If you want to keep that physical address for your records, you can copy and paste the information into the contact record’s “Notes” field instead.)

  • You can track and manage deceased contacts through filters, custom fields, or groups.

    You do have the option to track deceased contacts by modifying some of their contact records; this will make it easier for you to run a filter later on and exclude those contacts from your communications.

    First, you can change a deceased contact’s first name to “deceased,” and place their full name in the “last name” field. This will make it easier for you to run a filter for anyone whose first name is now listed as “deceased”.

    You can also create a “custom field” to indicate if a contact record is deceased and/or if they no longer wish to be contacted. (We’ll cover custom fields in a later module.)

  • You can remove deceased contacts from Donor Management entirely.

    The final option you have is to delete a deceased contact entirely. We don’t recommend this option over the other two, because deleting a contact record requires you to delete any other information related to that record.

    You’d need to delete their donation records, communication records, pledges, etc. before you’d be able to delete the contact record; additionally, removing that donation history can impact the overall integrity of your data within Donor Management, and may impact other aspects of your reporting.

Removing Contact Records in Bulk

We understand that there may be times that you want to bulk remove a series of contact records from Donor Management. However, if you want to remove a bunch of contact records at once, you will need to contact our Support Team to aid in that process.

While you can’t remove a group of contact records on your own, there are a few steps you can take to make that process go quickly and smoothly.

  • Determine who to keep and who to remove.

    It may seem like a simple question, but sometimes the best way to determine what contacts to keep isn’t as simple as asking “who has never given us any money?”

    You may want to consider not only who has not given, but also who has never attended an event. Because Donor Management doesn’t consider tickets or sponsorships as donations, reviewing those contacts who haven’t attended an event can also help streamline which contacts you may want to keep.

    Additionally, you should think about which of your contacts do – or don’t - engage with your organization. Reviewing who hasn’t made donations or attended events is a good start – but some of those folks who fall within that category still might engage with your nonprofit by volunteering, or sharing your communications on their social media.

  • Create a filter and group to isolate the contacts you are removing.

    While we haven’t covered filters quite yet, we do want to point out that creating a filter may be the easiest way to segment out those contacts you’re looking to remove.

    We recommend creating a custom filter under the “Contacts” tab that looks similar to the one below:

This filter includes the following conditions:

  • Total donation amount (lifetime) > equals > 0 : this condition will pull any contacts in that have no donation records associated to their profile

  • Number of tickets purchased > equals > 0 : this condition will pull any contacts that have never bought tickets for an event

  • Opened email blast (custom date range = 1 year) > is false : this condition will pull any contacts that have not opened any emails that you’ve sent through Donor Management.

These three conditions used together in a singular filter should help you better review which contacts aren’t donating, attending, or engaging with your organization.

Once you’ve created the filter, you can add all of the resulting contact records to a new group, which you’ll want to title “TO BE DELETED.”

Once that group has been created, you can contact our Support Team and they’ll be able to remove all of the contacts in that new group from Donor Management permanently!

One additional note: we recommend exporting a copy of the contact records you’re planning on deleting and saving it within your own records as a backup.


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