NCOA service through LGL – Discontinued

In this article:

  • Background
  • Why we decided to discontinue the NCOA screening service
  • What can you do if you want the best and cleanest address data?

  • Background

    Through July 2021, Little Green Light offered a paid NCOA (National Change of Address) service for a per-service fee of $150. The service included: 

    • Downloading all "mailable" ("Can send mail?") constituent records (name + preferred mailing address); 
    • Submitting them to a third party (which in turn used another party for a portion of the service) for automated screening; and 
    • Cleaning up the results and importing the data back into the LGL account

    Typically, customers would experience around 5% of their "mailable" constituents receiving "move" data through the U.S. Postal Service database (this NCOA database is what the third party systems screened against). 

    The NCOA service through LGL has now been discontinued.

    Why we decided to discontinue the NCOA screening service

    We chose to discontinue the NCOA screening service for several reasons, including:

    1. Reliability and accuracy. The NCOA screening process is 100% reliant on the USPS possessing data from people and organizations that accurately and completely file official "change of address" cards/information with the USPS. If Person A moves and does not file an official "change of address" card with the USPS, then Person A's new address will never be part of the NCOA screening data. The only way you’ll know the new address is if Person A tells you directly or you send a first-class letter and it is returned to you. 
    2. Expertise. LGL is focused on building/designing a strong system for organizing and managing donor data. We are not experts in direct mail methods, coding, discounts, etc. Some companies, often referred to as "mail houses," are experts in this field. Mail houses offer expertise in understanding and working with the results of the full NCOA screening data. They’re also better equipped to understand the pros and cons of when to use NCOA for your data and when you may not need to. For these reasons, we believe anyone wanting to use an NCOA service would be best served working with a highly reputable mail house. 
    3. Security. LGL is focused on providing our clients with ever-higher levels of data security. The LGL NCOA process involved submitting data to two third-party providers (each of whom have strong security procedures). Removing the steps of downloading and sending data to third parties is one way LGL can continue to increase the security of our clients’ data.

    What can you do if you want the best and cleanest address data?

    For the best and cleanest address data, here's what we recommend:

    • Activating address verification in your account. This process occurs through SmartyStreets (which discontinued their own NCOA service some time ago) on an address-by-address basis rather than as a whole data set from each account.
    • Sending a large-scale first-class mailing once a year, with the understanding that time will need to be allocated for manual review/processing of returned envelopes.
    • Building a relationship with a mail house who can help you improve your efficiency and effectiveness. Shop around for one with experience working with nonprofits. One example we are aware of, which specializes in assisting nonprofits, is Five Maples in VT.