When you've made the decision to move to Virtuous that is going to come with some work. One bit of that work is going to be cleaning up your existing data. Processes for maintaining data health often depend on your resources and the capabilities of your tools, and if these are limited, the health of your data overall may have become compromised. Now that you’re migrating to Virtuous, issues around data health may become more prominent if they’re not addressed beforehand. This article is to provide a little guidance around why it's so important to protect your data health as well as the different ways you can address it.
Why Clean Up My Data At All?
When we're talking data health and cleaning up data what are we even talking about? Well, it's not getting a duster and dusting off the computer! No, what we're talking about is inconsistent data, wrong information, or duplicates. This might look like keeping track of communication preferences in multiple places or wrong email addresses. This might also look like having 3 of the same person in the database because they have a relationship with 3 different organizations.
So why clean this up? There are quite a few reasons to do this but really it's going to all boil down to accuracy and saving money/time. When you're trying to figure out how many of your database are donors, that number is not going to be accurate. Or, you're trying to see your ROI on a direct mailer you sent out- you're going to spend more money because you sent multiple of the same communication to the same person AND even if they do make a donation, they're not likely going to give multiple times from the same communication. There are also further implications within Virtuous of enrolling someone into automation workflows that they shouldn't be in- for example, Bob may have given just last month but if you have him in your database twice, he may get enrolled in a lapsed donor workflow because he's only having his gift tracked to one record!
What Cleanup Should I Do Prior To Migration?
Certain things are best if you clean them up before you bring them over to Virtuous. Some of those things include:
- Misspelled Names
- Duplicate records that are similar but not exactly the same. A lot of times this is a case where an email address was spelled wrong initially and instead of correcting it, a new record was created.
- Bulk deletion-before you start deleting anything, be sure to talk with your migration team about what is best to delete prior to migration and what can be cleaned up afterwards. Anything that would need to be deleted in bulk post migration, would have to be done by the Virtuous team for a fee.
In some cases, your data clean-up pre-migration may be a little more complex. In those cases, we have partners that can work with you to get your data to a good place. If you find that you would like the assistance of one of our partners, reach out to your onboarding coach. Some examples of things partners can help with are:
- Merging individuals
- Deduplication- while Virtuous has tools to help merge contacts, if you have a lot of Contacts to merge or you're consolidating multiple CRMs a partner can help manage this
- Restructuring Data
- Data inconsistently in the wrong fields- Email in phone fields for example
What Cleanup Is Best Left For Post Migration?
Seems like there isn't much left after we listed all the things you should be cleaning up prior to migration right? Most likely, even if you spend time cleaning up data prior to migration, there will be a few things to check in on in your live database. Additionally, as you add new contacts to your database, these are things that should be checked on regularly so that you know your data is in good shape.
Using the Data Health Tool you should check on:
- Duplicates- Here you can compare and merge duplicate contacts (Here is an article on merging contacts)
- Addresses- The address tab will identify an address as potentially bad if it cannot be found via geolocation (Here is an article on this feature)
- Phone Numbers- If a phone number is not in a valid format (US Format) it will be flagged in Data Health to address
- Email Address-This is where you can find emails that have bounced 3 or more times
How Do I Bulk Update Information In Virtuous?
There are two main ways that you'll update data in bulk in Virtuous.
- Queries- In many queries, if you have bulk edit permissions, you can update items in bulk (like adding new segments or projects to a gift). Here is an article that dives more into using queries to bulk update.
- Bulk Data Tool- The bulk data import tool is a powerful import tool that allows you to bring in large amounts of data at one time. When using this tool we do urge caution as it does not have many of the safeguards we have in other places in the CRM. Here is an article about bulk updating using this tool.
Now that you know the different options you have, it's time to get cleaning! Be sure to talk with your team internally as well as your migration team to make sure everyone is on the same page. Happy Cleaning!