Is Your Data a Mess? Data Standards Could Help

Is your team unable to easily prepare reports and mailing lists you need for effective fundraising? For example, can you access a current list of all alumni email addresses? How about a list of current Board members and their giving history? Is it a struggle to get a preferred name in the salutation of all of your letters?
If you are frustrated with the ability of your donor database to support your work, you might have a data problem. If data isn’t being entered into your system consistently, simple database functions can be a hassle or even impossible.
So…how do you fix this problem? Data standards are a good start.
Documented data standards show everyone how to enter data into your database consistently. It defines what information to put into which fields, so there is no confusion.
Does your camp have documented data standards currently? If not, we’ve created a sample set of data standards that you can refine to meet the needs of your camp. And don’t forget to make sure EVERY person who enters data into the system both sees these standards and is trained on how to use them.
If your camp has documented data standards, please send them along. We’d love to share other examples with your peers.

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