9 Nonprofit CRM Cleanup Projects to Tackle This Summer

Gang, I think it’s safe to say: this is not your typical summer.

Coronavirus continues to run rampant in the country (if you’re in the US). We’re still somewhat in a lockdown, and things are a little chaotic!

Still, I’ve always found summer to be the best time to slow down and get organized. That’s especially true when it comes to the database: this is when I begin wrapping my head around all the projects I keep putting off!

For those in need of inspiration (or a distraction) – here are 9 database cleanup project ideas you can start working on asap.

9 Nonprofit CRM Cleanup Projects to Tackle This Summer

1. Get rid of those duplicates.

We all know this story. Despite your best efforts, duplicates are still making their way into your system. It’s time you figure out why and create a de-dupe action plan.

De-duping saves on storage, improves the user experience and helps secure your data integrity. Don’t put this off any longer!

Tip: If you’re dreading the thought of a spreadsheet de-dupe, here are 2 Excel / Google Sheets tips to help you out. And if your org happens to use Salesforce, here’s the easy & free way to start managing duplicates today.

2. Archive & delete older data.

Some orgs tend to hold onto data longer than they should. That’s because there’s usually someone who is convinced that the org will need to access it one day!

An unnecessarily large database = a slow database. You can retain older data without bogging down your system! Weed through those old records and figure out which ones can be safely archived in a separate storage system (or deleted entirely).

3. Clean up record names & implement a naming convention.

Are certain database records – like events and campaigns – getting harder to organize? Maybe staff aren’t entering that info in a consistent-enough way.

Naming conventions can bring order to this chaos. Here’s a starting point for why (and how) to set one up.

4. Create (or update) your system documentation.

System documentation contains all the nitty gritty details explaining how your database actually works. It’s the doc you’d hand off to the next admin if/when you part ways with your org.

Now, this may not feel super pressing. But remember, documenting our work is a key part of the job. We can only put this responsibility off for so long.

p.s. Not sure where to start? I have a checklist of all the important elements for a tech documentation. Sign up to grab the PDF here.

5. Create (or update) your end user documentation.

User docs — like manuals and guides — are a ton of work. It’s not easy to make materials that are comprehensive, instructive and succinct!

But if you’re willing to put in the time up front, they can be a big timesaver. (For those who don’t have a database manual for their orgs yet, here’s a guide to help get started.)

6. Revisit your staff user permissions.

Some admins put this off and secretly hope no one breaks the system. They are playing a dangerous game. (Okay I confess! This was me not too long ago.)

Don’t wait for a user error disaster to strike. Get ahead of any catastrophes by making sure staff have only the access they need to do their jobs well.

7. Set up notification preferences for your constituents.

If someone has tried unsubscribing from the newsletter for 2 years, or keeps trying to get off your mail list, we’ve got a problem.

In all fairness, I know firsthand this stuff can be complex. Orgs are unique, and there’s both a tech and process component that needs careful consideration for this to work. But trust me! As data privacy increasingly takes center stage, you want to be on the right side of that conversation. And that starts with honoring constituents’ preferences.

p.s.This is so important that I plan to write a post devoted solely to this topic. If you want to know when that goes live, I encourage you to follow me on Twitter or subscribe for next month’s newsletter.

8. Perform an automation/integrations audit.

Automations are a pain to figure out. So once we get them going, it can be tempting to let them run until the end of time. Why fix what isn’t broken?

But automations can outgrow their usefulness! And unless they’re useful, they’re a silent lag to your system. Spend time reviewing what’s currently active, to see if anything should be changed or deactivated entirely. Tips for that here.

9. Organize your team’s folders.

Now I know what you’re thinking: this isn’t a database project. But whether your org is on the cloud or using servers, I’m betting you still use files & folders. And I know they can get real messy, real fast.

So let’s dive into this onerous task! And let’s do a really good job. That way, we never have to do it again. 😬

p.s. How-toGeek has a really, really long but thorough guide on how to do this. Check it out when you’re ready to devote a day to this process.

And that’s it. Happy organizing, data fam!

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