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Managing Member or Donor Address Lists

Anyone who has maintained an organization’s mailing list knows it can be a daunting job. One never ending task is discovering and combining duplicates. The duplicates may have different name spellings; may include different household members at the same address; or may show two addresses for the same person. With smaller lists a manual scan will usually suffice, but once the list exceeds a few hundred names an automated scan makes it easier to find entries with similar names, addresses, emails or phone numbers.

Another challenge is people who have multiple addresses – they may have a second home that is used part of the year. Both addresses must be tracked along with effective dates for each. Ideally this should be automated so that a mailing uses the correct seasonal address.

An address list can contain several categories: prospective, current, or lapsed members/donors. Different mailings may target one or more of these groups so it is important to distinguish between them.


Many smaller membership or donor based organizations use QuickBooks for their accounting. It is an inexpensive and easy to use package. While QuickBooks can track an address for donors, it does not support the functions mentioned here. However, when combined with the DonorsFix add-on, QuickBooks gains sophisticated member/donor tracking with seasonal addresses and assisted duplicate removal. DonorsFix also helps you distinguish among prospective, current, and lapsed members.

Maintaining an accurate mailing list is crucial for membership or donor based organizations to keep in touch with their constituents and to avoid the extra cost and disorganized appearance of duplicate entries.