Address & Database Cleansing

It can be hard to maintain up-to-date details for the contacts on your database. As much as 10% of the UK public move house each year, equating to over 4 million households changing their address annually. With all the stress that moving house can entail, the vast majority of your prospects and contacts won’t think to let you know that they have moved.

It can sometimes be difficult to know if the information you hold on prospects was in-putted correctly onto the database in the first place. With many organisations relying on volunteer help or inputting data from handwritten forms, contact data often enters a database from more than three different channels and without proper verification. Misspelling of address info and incorrectly inputted fields are commonplace.

So, when the time comes for your organisation to carry out a Database Screening or a large mailing to your contacts, how can you be sure you have the most up-to-date, correct address for each person? How can you be sure that your contacts and prospects are still alive? How do you know if they have signed up to a mail preference service and have requested not to receive unsolicited mail? QAS/Experian research shows that over £18 million per year is wasted by organisations mailing to out-dated addresses, where individuals are either deceased or have moved.

Factary can help you to clean and update the contact details for all UK prospects on your database.

Address & Database Cleansing

Factary uses the most up-to-date address and deceased listings from multiple reliable and established data sources such as the Royal Mail PAF© and National Change of Address file (NCOA©).

Our address and database cleansing service will help you to:

  • Automatically correct badly entered or formatted addresses in your database
  • Keep in contact with your most valuable supporters.
  • Highlight households of recently deceased prospects.
  • Flag individuals who are registered with TPS (Telephone Preference Service) or MPS (Mailing Preference Service).
  • Provide the most up-to-date address for an individual.

So you can:

  • Achieve a higher hit rate in a Database Screening.
  • Control expenditure by preventing unnecessary postage expenses on costly returned mailings.
  • Minimise negative PR through reducing mailings to the recently deceased or those registered with the Mail Preference Service.
  • Have confidence that you can keep in touch with your supporters.
  • Achieve a greater ROI by ensuring that important campaign mailings are delivered to the correct supporters at the correct addresses.
  • Comply with Data Protection Regulations by ensuring you hold the most accurate and up to date information on your database for all your contacts (Data Protection Act 1998).

Next section: The Data Cleansing Process

The Data Cleansing Process

Stage 1: The Cleanse

At this stage we focus on the state of the addresses in your database. The addresses (not the names of the individuals) are analysed and corrections automatically applied to the address elements.

This stage references Royal Mail’s latest PAF© file of over 29 million residential and business addresses with the process fixing badly entered address data, including:

  • Incorrectly spelt street or house names are automatically corrected for you.
  • Spelling mistakes or placement errors (such as the ‘Town’ where the ‘Postcode’ is expected to be) are corrected.
  • Incomplete or partially entered addresses in you database are rectified.
  • Missing elements of your address are added such as County or Postcode.
  • Out-of-date data such as Postcodes are automatically updated.

Stage 2: The Updates

At this stage we look at the addresses as they relate to the specific prospects. Our analysis provides the following information:

  1. The latest address for each prospect
  2. Flags for any deceased records
  3. Flags for any records with mail preferences

This whole process draws on a number of address and suppression file data sources, such as the Royal Mail NCOA© (National Change of Address File), Bereavement Register (for deceased flags) and Experian’s Absolute Contacts.

A report is created detailing how many movers, gone-aways or deceased records you have on the database. You can then choose to update all or just a segment of your incorrect records, depending on budget and requirements – we are happy to discuss tailoring this process to your needs.

Once changes and flags have been chosen and appended, an output CSV (comma separated values) file is generated from the system which you can use to import the changes back into your database.

Final Report

After analysing your data, we can provide a free, clear and informed Data Healthcheck report.

This report will allow you to assess the quality of your data both before and after the cleansing process.

Next section: The Benefits

The Benefits of a Factary Address and Database Cleansing

These are the main benefits of choosing Factary for a Database Cleansing exercise:

  • Security: If you choose to also have a Database Screening with us after the cleansing process, then your data remains in one safe place, held securely on our in-house encrypted server throughout the whole of the research project.
  • Quality of Data: We invest in the most up to date data in order that you get the most from our data cleansing service.
  • Accuracy and Attention to Detail: With over 20 years in the non-profit sector, we understand your data; we also understand your needs.
  • Full Support: We can guide you through the process and advise you on all aspects, including the exporting and re-importing of your data.

Your Security & Peace of Mind

As in all our research, this work is carried out confidentially, and making responsible use of public domain information. Factary adheres with the codes of conduct of the Association of Professional Researchers for Advancement and the Institute of Fundraising and, of course, we are fully registered under the UK’s Data Protection legislation. We are happy to discuss any concerns you may have in this area.

You can read our standard Terms of Business here.

Next section: Address & Database Cleansing