mailing lists are generated using various Development
Information System address listing reports.
The Education report pulls based on Education criteria, such as
degree, faculty, college etc.
The Auxiliary selection report uses auxiliary codes and is
helpful for extracting donors from the Development Information
System based on event attendance or affiliations within the
The types of mail vary greatly also from magazines and
newsletters to event invitations.
Regardless of the type of mailing or the report used to prepare
the mailing list, it is important to remember a few things when
sending out a mailing.
Always Use a Fresh Extract from Development Information
Although the temptation to use a list that was prepared for
another mailing in the past can be great, there are many reasons
why it is important to always use a fresh list.
When lists are created, restriction and other codes codes are
taken in consideration and are unique to the type of mailing
being sent out. If the mailing is for a solicitation then the
list does not contain people who do not wish to be solicited. It
may however contain people who do not wish to receive any
magazines or newsletters.
If the list is reused a few weeks or even a month or two later
for a magazine mailing, then people who have requested not to be
sent magazines will be delivered one and be confused as to why
their request was not honoured by the University.
In the space of a month or two addresses can become inactive
(due to death, the person moves etc…)
Often mail comes back to the university indicating the recipient
has passed away or moved. If we are provided with the new
address it is immediately put into the person’s record. If no
address is provided, the record is marked as having mail
returned and will not appear on any lists until a new address is
found and mail can again be sent to the graduate or donor.
Using a fresh list ensures that you are not mailing to people
who don’t want the type of mail you are sending, that you are
mailing to the right address or are not sending mail to someone
who is deceased.
Always Include the Development Information System ID on the
The Development Information System id is a unique number that
everyone on the database has. When mail is returned it allows
the records department to quickly access the correct record to
make sure that it is coded promptly or that the address can be
changed. This ensures that mail is not sent out to people with
inactive addresses and those who are recently deceased.
If the Development Information System id is not included on the
mailing label certain records (those with common names or
companies with many subsidiaries on the database) can be hard to
locate and the new information is in danger of not being put
into the correct record.
The Costs Involved
You can clearly see that sending out mail to addresses that are
not valid costs your department money in wasted postage.
The records department at the Division of University Advancement
works very hard to ensure that data quality is high so that your
mailings reach more people and that you get less mail returns.
In fact the postal service charges the University for sending
back mail with bad addresses on it. So by using fresh lists you
can save the University quite a bit of money in postage.
Money is not the only cost involved. The time that records staff
spend on looking up records that have already been coded or have
had a new address appended to them can be better spent on other
projects that enhance the data quality of Development
If mailing lists are reused, then the changes that have been
made to the records due to returned mail, or notification from
the donors and alumni themselves, in other words the endeavours
of the records staff, are wasted.
In addition, when Development Information System numbers are
missing from labels it costs the records department valuable
time in tracking down the correct record where they could be
better spending their time on other projects.
The last and perhaps best reason to use fresh mailing lists is
the donors and alumni themselves.
Many people can become frustrated by having to inform the
university more than once that their address has changed or that
a relative is deceased.
High data quality and quick response to requests are vital in
maintaining a good relationship with the institution’s donors