Data quality issues may be as old as the hills, but some organisations still haven’t grasped the issue. Research shows that when people move house charities are amongst the last organisations to find out, meaning they miss out on thousands of dollars of donations.

High up in the pecking order are financial institutions, utility suppliers and pay tv providers. Consumers typically advise them that they are moving because it has some kind of financial implication; in other words they advise those organisations that bill them. Retailers, charities, automotive dealers and travel companies conversely are all on the ‘not imperative list’ and they’ll only advise them if they happen to be in contact about something else. This means that such organisations are losing track of a large proportion on their database given more than three and half million people move house in Australia each year. When combined with the number of people that pass away, the average rate of data decay is 2 to 3 per cent a month, meaning that a third of an organisation’s database can be obsolete within a year. This equates to a substantial amount of money for charities.

The not for profit sector cannot be seen to be profligate with donations, however, the old adage speculate to accumulate is true. By spending a small amount on data hygiene and washing your data against suppression file products, such as The Australian Bereavement Register and the New Address Enhancement file, charities will be able to reap the rewards by removing deceased persons from their mailing campaign files and tracing lapsed donors to their new address.

It is said that charity begins at home; but if the donors aren’t at their home it can’t start at all!