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Database Basics – Get the Most from your Database

The help sheet What is a Database, provided a definition of a database, as well as its importance to a community group or organisation and why it can have a positive impact on groups' direct mail campaigns and your ability to communicate with your supporter base.

This help sheet covers the types of questions you should be asking when it comes to evaluating the health and current state of your database.

This sort of analysis is best done BEFORE any moves to update or expand your database listings.

"How is our database?" Questions for your IT or Data Manager

To ensure your group or organisation gets the most from its database, you will need answers to the following questions:
  • Does your database contain all the basic information you need about your contacts, including:
    • Personal details (where applicable) like name, age, etc?
    • Contact details like address, phone number and e-mail address?
    • Group-related details like membership or donation history, fundraising history, past responses to your group, etc?
  • Are you missing any important information about your contacts, and is your information correct – including correct spelling of names, addresses, etc?
  • Does your database contain additional relevant personal information that could help you learn more about your contacts – information like age, hobbies and interests or their favourite projects?
  • How old is your data, or, when was the last time you updated the information on your database list?
  • How often is the data updated – weekly, monthly, quarterly, never?
  • Related to that is the question of how your data is maintained.
  • Is there scope to add, delete, expand or manipulate the information you have to make the most of any profiling or segmentation work you wish to do?
  • Is the system you use to store and keep your database easy-to-use, particularly if it is a computer-based database your group is using?
  • Does your database record opt-out information?

The information contained on this site is subject to change. Our Community will not be liable for any loss or damage whatsoever coming from reliance placed on all or part of its contents.

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