Why Should Augusta’s Green Napkins Matter to You and Your Fundraising Work?

Did you know that Augusta National, home of the famous Master’s Golf Tournament, provides emerald green napkins, plates, and cups with any food purchase while at the course? Why, you might ask? They spend lots of effort making sure the course is as perfectly green as possible, including using green sand to fill golfer’s divots. And – just in case someone’s trash is blown onto the course – they want to be sure the television cameras only find an unsullied green ocean of fairways and greens at Augusta.

So…why should you care about the Masters Tournament and their OCD focus on perfection?

This laser-focus on the details helps them attain their goal of appearing like the perfect image of a golf course to their television audience.

What about your organization’s fundraising and donor relations goals? It is absolutely critical to show your donors that you care and that they are an important partner in your mission. What little things – like stray napkins on a golf course – could derail these plans?

For many organizations, it is their data. An incorrectly spelled name on a letter or a pledge reminder mailed to someone who already sent in their check could jeopardize a great relationship. In many cases it is data management errors that cause problems like these.

So how do you turn your data into your “green napkins?”

What Are Your Data Management Green Napkins?

In other words, what are the “green napkins” your organization should focus on to ensure effective data management that can help you develop strong donor relationships and effective fundraising?

Here is a (non-exhaustive) list to start:
  • Are your donors’ names spelled correctly in your database…and therefore on your communications with them? Are you using the correct salutation?
  • Do you track the communications preferences of your donors and make sure you follow them?
  • Does your team take the time to track personal information about your donors (likes and dislikes; family members; history with your organization; etc.) in your database so that thank you phone calls are warm and authentic?
  • Do you segment your data effectively to ensure the right donors get the right asks and other communications throughout the year?
  • Do you run your data through NCOA regularly to ensure addresses are up to date? Do you spend time tracking returned envelopes to update records in the database?
  • Does your organization have documented data standards to ensure data is entered consistently by everyone who uses your database?
  • Does your camp prioritize the database sufficiently to ensure the data is maintained effectively to support your fundraising and donor relations efforts?
The most important thing? Get rid of those stray napkins that could harm your donor relationships. And make good data practices a priority to ensure it supports your fundraising and donor relations work.

Written by Kevin Martone. Kevin is the Technology Program Manager with JCamp 180. His focus area is in applying technology (database management, communications) to support fundraising and outreach efforts. Kevin leads JTEC (JCamp 180 Training in Effective Communications) and co-leads Data2Donors, a program to help camps prioritize their database for improved Alumni outreach and fundraising.

Who we are: JCamp 180 is a program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation (HGF). Our goal is to significantly enhance the long-term effectiveness of nonprofit Jewish camps in North America. To meet this goal, we provide affiliated Jewish camps with consulting services, annual conferences, shared resources, professional development, and matching grant opportunities. Find more at