The secret weapon behind our Data Service

The secret weapon behind our Data Service

Did you know that 17% of Americans move every year? Are you accounting for movers in your library’s mailing campaigns and notices?

With so many patrons moving per year, if your library isn’t running scrubs on your databases at least once every few years, your patron database could be significantly off. An inaccurate database can mislead decision makers in how many patrons you are reaching and serving, and can also wase money on undeliverable or inaccurate mailing addresses.

Thats where the Nixie feature of the National Change of Address (NCOA) database comes in.

Tools for sending smarter mail

Nixie is a software tool designed to help organizations, including libraries, maintain accurate and up-to-date mailing lists by processing their data through the National Change of Address (NCOA) database. Nixie is a feature of the NCOA database that is maintained by the United States Postal Service (USPS) and contains information about individuals and businesses who have submitted a change of address request within the last four years.

Getting it right

By using Nixie to process their mailing lists and library cards through the NCOA database, libraries can ensure that their mailings are delivered to the correct addresses and reduce the number of undeliverable or returned mail pieces. This can save the library time and money by reducing the cost of printing and mailing materials that are ultimately not delivered. But a subscription to the NCOA is expensive and out of reach for most public libraries. So, how can libraries use the NCOA?

What it means for your library

Unique maintains a subscription to the NCOA, which we use to help libraries make informed mailing decisions.

Harnessing Nixie, client libraries can send smarter mail. By regularly scanning the NCOA with Nixie, Unique can help libraries keep their databases current. This helps save staff time that is wasted on sending mail that is returned or investigating faulty addresses. That is time that could be spent on actively helping patrons, rather than wasting their expertise on paperwork.

Don’t waste time or money

Unique can help libraries maintain good relationships with their patrons by ensuring that they receive important communications, such as overdue notices, program announcements, and other relevant information. No longer will patrons miss key mail notices. By keeping their mailing lists up-to-date, libraries can also avoid sending duplicate or conflicting messages to the same patron, which can be frustrating and waste resources.

How does it work?

The first step standardizes your records for comparison against the NCOA database. It verifies the 5-digit ZIP Code and also prepares your database for automated mailing.

The next “match step” looks for your patron records on the NCOA database. When a match is found, it means that one of your patrons has moved and a new address can be identified. Near-matches can be flagged by the NCOA Nixie process, which supplies codes to describe the differences between your record and the NCOA record.

The output file includes your original address, accompanied by the standardized address (which makes it possible for bulk mailing), plus a new address when a match has been found. The Nixie process also identifies codes for near-matches that further identify the errors in the address, such as transposed numbers, incorrect name suffixes, or no house number.

Did you know? The NCOA also powers Unique’s New Mover Service 

About the NCOA

The NCOA database, or National Change of Address database, is a registry of individuals and businesses in the United States who have recently moved or changed their mailing address. The purpose of the database is to help businesses and organizations keep their mailing lists up-to-date, so that they can maintain contact with their customers and supporters.

Nixie and the NCOA database are just one of many useful tools that Unique arms its libraries with. Our mission is to make libraries the best they can be, and our solutions work for libraries large and small.

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