Mailing to deceased – there’s no excuse

FundraisingForce recently conducted an acquisition mailing for an Australian charity. The charity rented lists via a list broker. The day after the appeal dropped, dozens of next of kin placed telephone calls informing the charity their loved one had died. In some cases, their loved one had died years prior. The impact of the deceased mail continued for the next two weeks as more calls were received by the nonproit organisation.

It is typical for some deceased and bad addresses to be included in a charity’s acquisition appeal. It happens whenever charities rent mailing lists and depends greatly on the quality of the data received.

In regards to deceased, these calls are, at best, uncomfortable for the next of kin to make and for the charity to receive. In some cases, these calls are embarrassing to the charity despite the fact the charity has simply rented the names via a reputable list broker. Finally, in most cases, these calls are not necessary and would not occur if charities banded together to manage their data lists. Here’s how:Snip20160606_2

  • Ensure your charitable organisation has systems in place to properly mark deceased constituent records.
  • Make certain all staff in the organisation understand the internal process to implement the established procedures.
  • Ensure deceased are not passed to list brokers when your charitable organisation rents or exchanges data with other charitable organisations – whether via a list broker or on your own.
  • Use one of the services available in Australia to pass data to remove any known deceased from the list to be mailed.
  • Add the deceased names to your database, along with their last known address, and code them “deceased”.
    • The above will allow for a procedure to remove any known deceased from rental lists in the future.
    • Track the source of the deceased knowledge.
  • Track and report all deceased back to your list broker.
    • This will ensure removal for future mailings and also gain credit for deceased names rented to your charity in the first place.
    • Too many charities do not report deceased rented to them back to the list broker.
    • Non-reporting simply continues the cycle for the next of kin and for other charities.

This is not merely a charity responsibility. Next of kin also have a responsibility to report deceased to the various Australian services to ensure their loved ones do not receive mail. Service include:

If each of us, charitable organisations and next of kin alike, do our fare share and create processes and procedures such as those mentioned above, we can greatly diminish the number of deceased who are mailed and the painful impact on the next of kin.