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  Database standards and goals. Frequently Asked Questions

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This somewhat depends on how you intend to contact those on your database.

For example, if you have a good home address, or a good business address or a good email address, then at least 80% of the time you would want to have at least one of these.

85% or higher for addresses is typically the norm for institutions with a good tracing and updating program. Phone numbers change more often so the average for phone numbers may be from 60% to 80%. Email addresses 46% to 60%.

Other standards that should be measured are the number of entities on the database with a current employment record, number with board memberships.

These statistics will typically vary depending on a number of factors:
  • How often you mail or phone your constituents.
  • Age of your database. A database with more retired people will have a lower percentage of employment records.
  • The age of your institution. You may have a younger graduate pool so email address percentages could be higher.
  • How much you invest in electronic services that help to cleanse your data and find lost contact information.
  • How much you invest in managing your data and ensuring that every means possible is in place to secure information updates from your constituents.

More important than absolute percentages looked at in a snapshot fashion, are tracking the trends and ensuring that the trends remain favorable. For example, if your addressable rate was 80% last year, has it improved? Monitoring these trends will help you to spot inconsistencies and improve your contactable rate over time.

It is also important to monitor opt out statistics such as do not mail in the same manner as your contactable rates and ensure that they are not growing too fast, and if they are, what the reasons are. If the number of opt outs are significant, then the regular methods of contact percentages should be net of opt outs.

See also, data integrity, shadow databases, finding lost alumni.

 
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