Data Hygiene: Keeping your Contacts Clean and Healthy!

Your CiviCRM database is the central hub of your nonprofit's fundraising efforts, membership and contact management, event organization and other important ongoing initiatives. Because of its integral role in your organization, your database requires ongoing maintenance to ensure optimum performance. With nonprofit constituent mobility and employee turnover at an all-time high, data can quickly become messy and stale when data entry procedures for the organization are not properly regulated. 

In "Data Hygiene: How to Keep Data Clean and Healthy!", we spoke in general terms of the basic steps you need to take to keep your data clean and healthy. In this blog post, we outline 5 simple steps that will keep your contact data squeaky clean!

  1. Standardize contact data at the point of entry by developing/maintaining a clear, concise Data Entry Standard (DES) document and making sure that your users know of its existence! 
  2. Ensure adherence to your DES with a K.I.S.S. (Keep ISuper Simple) strategy: create online forms to ensure all of the necessary data is collected, avoid the use of free text fields where possible, and put the Cividesk Normalize extension to use according to your needs
  3. Take things one step further and create smart groups that will collect contacts that have partial data or are missing critical information (e.g. no email address, no first name and/or last name, street address listed, but no city, state or postal code, etc.) - periodically review the contacts in these groups and update any missing data or to delete the contact altogether
  4. Be sure to avoid group "overload", groups used for short-term projects should be "purged" when they're no longer needed
  5. Periodically review and merge duplicate contacts (this is especially critical before and after you expect heavy traffic on your website)

If you are a Cividesk customer, your Customer Success Manager would be happy to help - we can assist you with the creation of a clean-up plan as well as the execution of it!