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  When should you purge records within your database? Frequently Asked Questions

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If you have records in your database, when should you purge them if they have no giving history?

With the space of disk drives becoming less expensive all the time, and the processing speed of servers increasing, both of these at a percentage typically greater than the rate at which most databases are expanding, it isn't really necessary to purge them.

You can give them a special code and make them "inactive", do not solicit and restrict them in other ways.

If you do decide to purge them, you'll need to remove them and all of the associated codes.

It may be somewhat useful to keep them in an archive file, and also record the counts of the purged records since your monthly records statistics will change as a result of the records being deleted. Make sure you can add the purged records back if the circumstances change, i.e. a new contact with the individual, an inactive individual that makes a new gift.

On the other hand, it makes sense to purge items such as old solicitation records since these can typically be added to the database many thousands at a time and eventually may cause space and performance problems. In this case an archive strategy is usually better than a purge strategy. You'll also need to consider how you include/exclude these records when you do annual fund solicitations and donor profiles since these areas usually use a more complete history for a better picture of donor activity and motivation.

Conceptually, it's good to establish the idea that the database is a repository for advancement data and not just to serve as an archive of everything. Fundraisers typically want to have larger pools for solicitation purposes, but if the pools are not being utilized and solicitations won't be effective for certain populations then they should be archived.

It also depends what the advancement database is required to store for the institution. If advancement is the database of record for all parents for example, you may end up storing more records as a result of the policy.
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