Address Correction (SERP) and
National Change of Address (NCOA)
Why is Address Correction important?
In a nutshell: To save money.
- When you are mailing to an address that is not valid anymore, you pay for the mailing cost and are guaranteed a 0% ROI.
- Canada Post requires you to demonstrate that your list is at least 95% valid for delivery by their standards for mailing 5,000 records or more at incentive rates. If you fail to achieve this, you will pay a surcharge when receiving incentive rates.
- For our US clients: in the United States, the process is similar and is called CASS certification
We believe your list is too important to “just quickly” be put through the address correction software, so we work with it and take the address correction process a few steps further than required by Canada Post (we think you will appreciate our level of detail in processing).
In addition to the address correction, we also score your records for deliverability, allowing you to efficiently assess whom you wish to mail to.
How important is your list to you?
Our Systems for Address Correction
Having over 30 years of experience in providing database solutions, we have developed systems that allow us to increases your validation percentage and therefore deliverability over standard systems being used. Here is what sets us apart (the description of this system is quite technical, but we feel it is important to include this information here to allow you to be well informed about the possibilities for your database):
Address Correction is achieved by running data through SERP recognized software. Instead of just 1 pass through the data with approved software, we add the extra step of running it though our custom built merge program.
Our merge program:
- standardizes state and province codes
- formats ill formatted postal codes. ie: VOlIaO becomes V0L 1A0
- standardizes some city names
- performs a preliminary postal code lookup
This is important because the SERP recognized software is only allowed to alter information if there are 2 or less things to change. Therefore, we fix as much as possible prior to the record being scored by the SERP software. It increases your validation percentage.
The next step (before we run your data through the recogized SERP correction engine), is to break the address down into it's components: Unit#, House#, Streetname, Direction, StreetType, etc. We also remove c/o information from your street lines to ensure the correction engine doesn't mess with it. We store it and reinsert it later.
After the correction is complete, we break the address down into its components again.
We then compare the before/after components and flag records where the House# or Unit# has changed as those might be signs of errors.
As a last step we can review these anomalies prior to returning the data to you.
Please contact us with any questions you may have about the address correction process.
In a nutshell: It is updating your database with new addresses where persons and businesses have registered a move with Canada Post in the last 6 years.
While it is not mandatory in Canada, it is highly recommended. In the United States, NCOA is required within 90 days prior to mailing at incentive rates.
If you're a fundraiser, this is a “must do” in order to not be losing your existing donors. You can't afford not to run NCOA on your donor database! When your donors move, it is unlikely that they will inform you of their move... and acquiring a new donor is expensive. The NCOA will allow you to update your database to your donors’ current address information. Also, when you update their address, their donation history can stay with them, giving you valuable marketing information.
If you are a business, it is equally as important to take advantage of the NCOA in order to continue to reach your existing clients.
Prior to running National Change of Address, the database must run through the Address Correction. When we return the data to you, we supply your original fields in addition to new address fields and some coded fields to guide you during your update.
NCOA is important for finding duplicates as well. If you have the same person listed at two addresses, chances are you won't find them as a duplicate. NCOA can fix that by updating one or both of those to the new address, thus allowing you to find the duplicate.
NCOA may not be mandatory by mailing standards in Canada, but your database accuracy depends on it.