Monday, May 17, 2010

Managing Donor Relationships

I recently heard from a development professional about her discovery on taking a new position - the administrative professional responsible for maintaining donor files had taken it upon herself to shred the information in each file and discard the file folders. Why? She wanted more drawer space in her filing cabinet for other, presumably more important, files.

She also discovered that there were no fewer than four separate databases with donor information. Clearly, there is a need in this organization for records management!

Records management is key to maintaining crucial relationships with all your stakeholders. Having central donor files and a comprehensive database will ensure that anyone that has to have contact with the donor will have all the necessary information. Nothing is worse than being embarrassed because you didn't know something that was in someone else's file (or even head!).

The example above could have been avoided by having a comprehensive policy on what to do with your records. If you are unable to handle the volume of records on site, consider outsourcing your records management. Outside firms will catalog and store your records for as long as you require, and can retrieve records in a timely fashion. They can also provide backup to your database and securely store the information off site. All of this can be done cost-effectively.

Remember - you are the stewards of your donors' information and securing it is of utmost importance.

Laura Mikuska
Mikuska Group
Fund Development & Event Specialists

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