NCOA Service (National Change of Address)

Clean up your mailing addresses by checking them against the National Change of Address database. The NCOA service will standardize and correct the addresses in your database. DonorSnap is integrated with the NCOA database and automates the process for you. This service includes:

  • Correcting spelling and capitalization
  • Update addresses with the proper USPS mailing address
  • Add the zip +4 to your zip code
  • Alert you of all invalid addresses
  • Provide the new address for contacts who have moved

Each DonorSnap client receives one free screening annually. New clients will be eligible after the first 30 days of service. Only the preferred address of active contacts will be cleaned.

How to Get Started

  1. Contact DonorSnap support at to request your free NCOA cleaning.
  2. DonorSnap support will initiate the screening and will update your database with the results.
  3. Review the results and fix the records that need your attention.

Review the Results of the Screening

The NCOA screening will update all of your active contact’s preferred addresses and populate the NCOAScreening and NCOAScreeningDate fields. It will also add a note record to each contact explaining what the results were for each address.

Step 1: Add the new fields to your grid and page display

Update your site’s screen layouts so that you can see the new NCOA fields that explain what cleaning took place or still needs your manual review. Add the following fields to your grid so that you can easily find the contacts that need manual review. Add them to the page display/edit settings so that you can note any changes that you make

NCOAScreening: The current status of the preferred address
NCOAScreeningDate: The date of the last time this contact was screened

Step 2: Look up the records that need manual review

Use the NCOAScreening column on your grid to search for the contacts that need manual review. Here’s an explanation of each of the options for that field:

  • Missing Minimum Address: The address is not complete enough to check against the NCOA database
  • Not Sent: This contact was missing an address, so it was not checked
  • Need Review: There is an error in the address that needs to be corrected manually
  • Move: This contact has moved to a new address and the new address has replaced the old one in DonorSnap
  • Standardized: This address was valid, but it has been updated with the proper formatting and zip+4.
  • Verified: This address is valid and no changes have been made.

The “Need Review” records are what you will use in the filter. These records might be delivered to the recipient, but that will be based on the discretion of the mail carrier. Usually there is a slight error such as wrong street number, missing apartment number, or a typo in the street name.

Select the first “Need Review” contact and jump over to the Notes tab. You will see a new note record with a Note Type of “Address Cleanup” along with the address that was screened and the results of that screening. The results will include the official USPS result code along with a brief explanation of what that code means.

Step 3: Find the correct address

Try looking up your contact using,, or some other address lookup tool. If you can’t find your contact’s address there, try searching for the address that you do have. A simple Internet search might find a close enough match to the address. If that doesn’t work, then try searching in a mapping tool like Google Maps. If you still can’t find the problem, contact the donor and ask!

Step 4: Update the bad address in DonorSnap

Now that you have the correct address, update your records. Click the Edit button in the Listing tab and then make the changes to the contact record. Make sure to also change the NCOAScreening field to “Cleaned by Organization” so that you know you have already fixed it. The NCOAScreeningDate will keep the date that the actual screening took place.

If you weren’t able to find the correct address, you might decide to remove the address entirely or just keep sending to them. If you aren’t receiving returned mail, then there is a good chance the mail is still being delivered even with the error.

Tips for NCOA Cleaning

To quickly review the results, use the templates available in DataMiner Platinum. When you add a new batch, use the Template dropdown to select one of the three templates: NCOA Updated, NCOA Not Sent, and NCOA Need Review. These templates will find all of the notes records that were created during your NCOA screenings. Keep in mind that if you add a new contact after your screening, they will not show up in these template reports.

Request your free annual cleaning a few weeks before a major mailing. This could save a lot of money in returned mail and wasted postage. This will also give you plenty of time to review the results and fix the errors needing your attention.

Be consistent in cleaning your addresses. The NCOA database keeps moves/changes of addresses on file for 48 months. If your contact’s address is more than 48 months old, then the new address may not be found.

Why is this service free? It’s true that running an NCOA cleaning can get pricey, but we think it’s really important. The integration makes the whole process extremely painless. There are no manual exports or imports at all. Because DonorSnap offers this service for all clients, we were able to negotiate a great price as a volume discount. Rather than making a couple hundred dollars for each cleaning like other donor management systems do, we decided to give it away to our users for free!

Address Tab

Community > Contacts > Address Tab

One address is visible on the Contact screen. However, contacts can have multiple addresses listed on the Address Tab.

Preferred Address

One and only one address can be the Preferred Address.

The “Preferred” address will be the address that is used for all labels, reports, document generation, mail merges and DataMiner queries. If you have Address fields on your Contact screen, the preferred address will be the address displayed there as well.  Change the preferred address by checking the “Preferred Address” box on the desired address. Checking this box in one address will automatically uncheck that box in any other address record.

Delete an address by clicking on the Trash Can icon.  This will completely remove the address from your database.  If you wish to keep a history of past addresses, you can simply inactivate the old address by clicking on the inactivate box when in Edit mode.

*Be cautious not to delete your Preferred Address. If you do, ensure that another address is selected as Preferred; otherwise, when printing reports or doing queries, no address will be included for that contact record.

Address Type

Use the Address Type field to denote what type of address is listed.

Update your Address Type drop-down under Maintenance > Site Setup > Field and Screen Customization > DonorSnap Site Lookups

Seasonal Addresses

DonorSnap has an automated system that handles seasonal addresses. It is managed using the “Seasonal Start Date” and “Seasonal End Date” fields.

Best Practice: Add a Start/End Date to every address for a contact when they are using seasonal addresses. Do not leave the primary address Start Date blank. If you leave blanks, the system may not select the address you intend.

Each morning the system will scan all your non-preferred addresses looking for a Seasonal Start Date that matches today’s date. If found, the system will automatically mark that address as the “Preferred Address” record. If two addresses have the same start date, the most recently created one will be selected as Preferred.

The second process that runs each morning searches all preferred addresses for a Seasonal End Date that matches yesterday’s date. If found, the system will automatically mark the address record with a start date of today as the “Preferred Address” record. If no other address has a start date matching today, the other address record that was most recently updated will be marked as the “Preferred Address” record.

If you do not add start/end dates for every address for a contact using seasonal addresses, the examples below will demonstrate how the system will function:

Example 1: Two addresses, one with start and end date

Summer Address – Seasonal Start Date: 7/1, Seasonal End Date: 8/31
Home Address – Seasonal Start Date: blank, Seasonal End Date: blank

On 7/1 each year, the summer address will be marked as “Preferred,” and on 9/1 the home address will be marked as “Preferred.”

Example 2: Three addresses, two with start dates

Winter Address – Seasonal Start Date: 12/1, Seasonal End Date: 4/15
Home Address – Seasonal Start Date: 4/1, Seasonal End Date: blank
Business Address – Seasonal Start Date: blank, Seasonal End Date: blank

On 12/1 each year, the winter address will be marked as “Preferred,” and on 4/1 the home address will be marked as “Preferred.” The 4/15 end date will be ignored because the system will have already switched on 4/1. The business address will be ignored by the seasonal address system entirely.

Example 3: Three addresses, one with start and end

Lake Address – Seasonal Start Date: 8/1, Seasonal End Date: 8/31
Home Address – Seasonal Start Date: blank, Seasonal End Date: blank, Last Updated: 1/1/2018
Business Address – Seasonal Start Date: blank, Seasonal End Date: blank, Last Updated: 1/2/2018

On 8/1 each year, the lake address will be marked as “Preferred,” and on 9/1 the most recently updated of the other address records will be marked as “Preferred.” In this case, the business address was the most recently updated, so the system will mark it as “Preferred” on 9/1.

Example 4: New  permanent address with a known start date
(Two addresses, one start date and no end dates)

New Permanent Home Address – Seasonal Start Date: 11/15, Seasonal End Date: blank
Old Home Address – Seasonal Start Date: blank, Seasonal End Date: blank

On 11/15 each year, the New Permanent Home Address will be marked as “Preferred.” Since there are no other start or end dates, the system will not mark any other addresses as “Preferred.” The Old Home Address will never be selected again, and can be deleted from the record whenever you get around to it.

Example 5: Addresses with the same start dates

Summer Address 1 – Seasonal Start Date: 7/1, Seasonal End Date: 8/31, Created Date 1/1/2018, Last Updated Date: 1/1/2018
Summer Address 2 – Seasonal Start Date: 7/1, Seasonal End Date: 8/31, Created Date 1/1/2019
Home Address – Seasonal Start Date: blank, Seasonal End Date: blank, Last Updated Date: 1/1/2015

On 7/1 each year, the “Summer Address 2” will be marked as “Preferred” since the two summer addresses share the same start date and was created more recently.

On 9/1 each year, since the Home Address does not have a start date, the system will choose the one with the most recent Last Updated Date. In this case the Summer Address 1 will be chosen because it was more recently updated.