Data Management in CiviCRM: Ensuring Quality and Compliance

Submitted by admin on Tue, 02/05/2023 - 11:04

Managing data in CiviCRM can be complex, especially when it comes to ensuring the accuracy and quality of your email communications. One common issue users encounter is a discrepancy between the total number of contacts and the actual email counts. Understanding the reasons behind these discrepancies and the risks associated with unvalidated data is crucial for maintaining a healthy and effective CRM system. This article will also touch on AWS bounce rate policies and how Audienceware can assist in managing and improving your data quality.

Why Email Counts Are Often Less Than the Number of Contacts

In CiviCRM, you might notice that your email counts are often lower than the total number of contacts. This discrepancy is usually due to several factors:

  1. Opt-Outs and Unsubscribes: Contacts who have opted out of receiving emails or have unsubscribed are still part of your CRM, but their email addresses are excluded from email counts.

  2. Invalid Email Addresses: Email addresses that are found to be invalid or incorrectly formatted are automatically excluded from email counts.

  3. Bounced Emails: Emails that have bounced in the past due to various reasons (such as the recipient's inbox being full or the email address no longer being valid) are marked accordingly, and future emails to these addresses are suppressed.

These lower counts are a reflection of CiviCRM's built-in mechanisms to maintain high deliverability and protect your sender reputation. For more detailed information, refer to the CiviCRM documentation on email deliverability.

Risks of Uploading Unvalidated Data

Uploading unvalidated data into your CiviCRM can pose significant risks:

  1. Increased Bounce Rates: Unvalidated email addresses are more likely to result in bounces, which can harm your sender reputation and lead to blacklisting by email service providers.

  2. Compliance Issues: Sending emails to unvalidated or unsolicited contacts can lead to violations of regulations such as GDPR and CAN-SPAM, resulting in legal repercussions and fines.

  3. Reduced Engagement: Poor data quality can lead to lower engagement rates, as invalid or incorrect contact information prevents effective communication with your audience.

To avoid these issues, it is crucial to validate and clean your data before uploading it to CiviCRM. More guidance can be found in the CiviCRM data import documentation.

AWS Bounce Rate Policy

Amazon Web Services (AWS) enforces strict policies regarding bounce rates to protect their infrastructure and maintain high deliverability standards. If your bounce rate exceeds a certain threshold, AWS may temporarily or permanently suspend your email sending capabilities. This policy ensures that all users adhere to best practices for email marketing and data management.

Understanding and complying with AWS's bounce rate policy is essential for maintaining uninterrupted email services. For more details, refer to the AWS SES Sending Quotas documentation.

Addressing Lower Counts and Higher Bounce Rates

Experiencing lower email counts or higher bounce rates might seem like a system fault, but it is usually related to data quality issues or historical bounces and opt-outs. Ensuring that your data is accurate and up-to-date is key to maintaining a healthy CRM system.

How Audienceware Can Help

Audienceware offers a range of services to help you manage and improve your data quality in CiviCRM:

  1. Data Understanding and Segmentation: We help you analyze your data to understand your audience better and create effective segmentation strategies.

  2. Data Quality Improvement: Our services include data validation, enrichment, and cleaning to ensure your contact information is accurate and up-to-date.*

  3. Advising Appropriate Action: Based on our analysis, we provide actionable recommendations to improve your data management practices, reduce bounce rates, and enhance email deliverability.

By leveraging Audienceware's expertise, you can ensure that your CiviCRM data is reliable and your email campaigns are effective. Contact us today to learn more about how we can support your data management needs.

For further reading, please refer to the CiviCRM documentation for comprehensive guides and best practices on managing your CRM data effectively.


Ensuring data quality and compliance in CiviCRM is essential for the success of your email marketing efforts. By understanding the reasons behind email count discrepancies, the risks of unvalidated data, and AWS bounce rate policies, you can take proactive steps to maintain a healthy CRM system. With Audienceware's support, you can enhance your data management practices and achieve better results from your marketing campaigns.

* Audienceware engages 3rd party service providers for specialist data operations, additional charges apply.