Can you believe another year has gone by? January is always the month to implement those New Year’s Resolutions, clean out your closet and refrigerator, and finally clean out and update your database.

It’s very likely that some of your records are no longer active, relevant or useful anymore to your organization’s goals, mission, and current priorities. If they’re not, then it’s time to either get rid of them, or update them to make them work for you.

What was your main goal for last year – Was it to raise more money, build a larger membership base, increase event participation, or further your mission using Social Media?

Whatever the goal was, and whatever it will be for this year, dedicate some time in the coming month to cleaning out and updating your data.

4 Tips for Cleaning Out and Updating Your Data

1. Run Reports. Your database should have a multitude of reports to help you evaluate all kinds of activity – or lack thereof – and show you what data may be missing. Run communication reports, Action Alert results, event participation status and Fundraising reports like LYBNT and SYBNT.

2. Do Searches. Run the basics; find out which records are lacking emails, phone numbers, address components and district information.

3. Delete, Download or Append. You and your staff must determine uniform criteria for deleting and standardizing records – that decision will be different for every organization. Some things to consider:

Is a contact worth keeping if none of the emails you sent last year were opened? Is an activist on your list really helping your cause if they never opened or Took Action on your Action Alerts? Is a donor worth keeping if they have not made a contribution in over 5 years? Delete the inactive records, or download them and keep them on a spread sheet.

For active contacts, have complete and up-to-date information by running some necessary Data Services such as National Change of Address, email append, phone append and append political district information.

4. Add-On and Upgrade. If your organization didn’t reach its goals last year, why not? It may simply come down to not having the right tools. Years ago when your database was built, your goals and database needs were ABC, and that’s how your database was set up. Today, and looking into 2013 and beyond, your goals now include XYZ and it’s clear that you’ll need new tools to accomplish that. Talk with your staff and discuss how your database reflects your goals today.

If you’re a Databank customer, talk with your Account Representative and review your Databank structure with your new goals in mind. Find out if modifications, add-ons or upgrades would give you the tools to accomplish your goals.

What are some of your database goals for this year? Share them in the comments below!